Buccaneer Ribs by Steven Raichlen

Buccaneer Ribs by Steven Raichlen

Harrr Captain time to set sail to the Carribean sea and get yourself some Buccaneer ribs. Inspired by the flavors of both spanish and Carribean kitchen. Think of oranges, rum, and allspice to name a few ingredients. Another great recipe by BBQ Guru Steven Raichlen. Quality guaranteed

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“Best ribs ever”

Some time ago I told you about the fabulous book I bought as a gift to myself. “Best ribs ever” by Steven Raichlen. The title sounds very confident and brings high expectations. Those who know Steven Raichlen on the other hand will know he’s a trustworthy chef. The “Red Eye Ribs” I made before were that good I followed the recipe as much as possible as it was written in the book.Buccaneer Ribs-5284

Did the Buccaneer Ribs pass the test? Arrrrr Captain they were bloody delicious! I bet you. The surprising taste of orange on these baby back ribs convinced me again: this book is golden treasure for all rib lovers. The problem with this book brings me to a shameful finding that the only two rib recipes on this blog will be by Steven Raichlen… Why? Well simply because I try to variate my meals on the BBQ and when I finally make some ribs I’d like to cook another recipe in this book… I guess there’s too many of those interesting recipes I want to try. The one time I made a recipe of my own I didn’t take pictures (consider it as a holiday meal).

Buccaneer Ribs

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As you might have noticed the Buccaneer ribs are inspired by the history of the Caribbean pirates who were notorious for there attacks on the spaniards after they were driven away from Tortuga. These infamous pirates could be considered as true pitmasters. They even owe their name to their cooking method. Buccan was the word they used for the wooden frame used for slow roasting/smoking their meat. One of the leading captains the Buccaneers “served” was the Welshman “Henry Morgan” who served as an inspiration for the “Captain Morgan Rum Chicken” I made a while ago. AND to give a sneak preview on what’s coming: “I made some delicious Peg Leg Chickens (lollipops) yesterday based on a Captain Morgan glaze.

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Enough about the Captain Morgan. These ribs aren’t marinated in rum nor are they glazed with it. Why are these called Buccaneer ribs? Well simply because they are inspired by flavours that were used a lot in Buccaneer recipes, both using ingredients from their native cuisine and those conquered in their quests against the Spaniards. Think of Oranges, allspice, rum and scotch bonnets…Only thing I changed was reducing the heat since the kids were eating along. That’s why I used chili peppers instead of Scotch Bonnets. Since the Rum was represented in the Rumbullion BBQ sauce I smoked the ribs on Rumbarrel Oakwood. Only thing I had to imagine myself while cooking was the white palmtree beach.

How to smoke ribs?

When smoking ribs you have two options worth mentioning. If you prefer your ribs to “fall of the bone” you might have a look at the “3-2-1-technique”. When you prefer the ribs with some bite and a nice bark you should opt for the Raichlen way. Personally I believe the second way is the best. It takes less time and the ribs are at least as good as when smoked 3-2-1 style. Both styles can be made with your favorite rub and/BBQ sauce.

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3-2-1 style ribs

This method is devided in three parts that take respectively 3, 2 an 1 hour.  This technique is made for spareribs. Therefore you need to shorten the time periods when using the smaller babybacks. I personally opted for 1.5-1-1. This meaning:

  • 3/1.5 hrs. smoking time: Fire up your BBQ for indirect cooking at 110°C/230°F and add the wood you prefer to the coals. Once the smoke turns blue you could put the ribs in the BBQ and smoke them for about an hour and half. It’s important you start with this since the ribs will only take smoke flavor until they get a certain internal temperature (don’t ask me what temperature …).
  • 2/1 hr. steaming time: This stage is a bit controversial since there’s a lot to do about cooking ribs and wheter it’s acceptable or not. Any way to stay cool, wrap your ribs in tinfoil and add some juice (applejuice for instance or what you prefer). Put them back on your BBQ at the same temperature.
  • 1 hr. finishing with BBQ sauce: unwrap your ribs and put them back on your BBQ at a temperature from about 150°C/300°F. Baste your ribs every 15 minutes with your favorite BBQ sauce.

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Raichlen style:

The Raichlen style is a bit easier to explain, yet a little bit more unpredictable and challenging to end with the ribs as you want them. This method has two stages. First stage takes about 1hr 15 a 1hr. 30 minutes where you smoke the ribs at 150°C/300°F. When using a dry rub you could sprinkel some vinegar mixture on the ribs to improve the bark. After this part you add BBQ sauce to the ribs, increase the heat and gril them until the sauce/glaze starts to sizzle.

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What’s your preference? Maybe you’ll have another style you tend to? I’d like to hear all about it in comments below or on social media (links on top of this page). It’s the last recipe I will publish here since I don’t want to copy this book over here. It wouldn’t be respectful to the autor. If these ribs were as good as I promised you they would be (I’m convinced) you might want to buy the book: “Best ribs ever $12.02 (english version)“. It’s very cheap for the quality it brings.

Buccaneer Ribs by Steven Raichlen

Buccaneer Ribs by Steven Raichlen


  • 2 baby back ribs
  • Buccaneer Marinade
  • Juice of a half orange
  • 2 strips of orange peel finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 scotch bonnet chile (or 1 chili pepper for milder heat), seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Rumbullion BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup ketchup


Marinating the ribs (at least 6 hrs.)

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. As you might have noticed I skipped this part because it looked great this way, and they tasted great too.

2. Prepare your ribs by removing the thin membrane from the back of the ribs. It helps to put a knife underneath the membrane and slightly pul it up. Grab the membrane with a piece of paper towel to peel it off.

3. Put the ribs in a large back and add the marinade. If possible use a vacuum bag. This will help the flavors getting into the meat.

4. Put the bag in the fridge for at least 6 hrs. Turn them around about 2 or 3 times.

Smoking time

1. Prepare your grill for indirect grilling at 180°C/350°F. Add some smokewood chunks to the hot coals and wait until the smoke turns blue. Meanwhile you can put a large dripping pan in the center of your grill.

2. Place your ribs above dripping pan. Close the lid of your BBQ and cook the ribs until tender. about an hour and a half. You'll see the ribs are browned and the meat has shrunk back from the end of the bones (+/- 1/4 inch / 0.5cm)

3. While smoking the ribs you can make the BBQ sauce by mixing all ingredients and let them simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced into a sticky thicker BBQ sauce. Let the sauce cool down to room temperature.

4. Remove the ribs from your BBQ and baste them with BBQ sauce.

5. Convert your grill to a set up for direct grilling.

6. Put the ribs back on the grill for about 2 minutes (you'll hear the sauce sizzle and see it get a nice brown colour). Watch out you don't burn the sugary sauce since it can get bitter.

7. Transfer your ribs to a cutting board and let them rest for a minute or 5.

8. Ready to serve! Have a nice meal!

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"This post contains an affiliate link for the book Best ribs ever by Steven Raichlen: This means I'll earn a small commision if you buy the book through the affeliate link above." 

"For this post I used Smokewood I received as a testing sample by smokewood Germany. Besides the product I do not get payed to promote their product."

All opionions shared are my own.