Chef’s Summer Recipes: Don Donley’s Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs

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When you think Tommy Bahama, you may not necessarily think of delicious food. You may think vacation, or most likely really comfy men’s shirts. From now on I want you to think food. Tommy Bahama (yup, the clothing brand) has a great line of restaurants where Chef Don Donley has taken the role of executive chef.

There are currently 15 Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar locations. Don’s current position as executive chef entails all aspects of new store openings including kitchen design, hiring, the development of training programs, budgets, menu development, store visits, evaluations and contract negotiation (no easy job). Don has found his passion and is doing what he loves.

Summer is known for its long, languid days, perfect for a traditional barbecue. Tommy Bahama’s restaurants offer tasty island-inspired dishes, including grilled baby back pork ribs. Chef Donley has shared his Tommy Bahama’s grilled baby back ribs and told us that they are a “tangy and suculent sensation. A special rub and secret sauce with some unusual ingredients – including Coke provide a truly unique flavor.”

Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs and Asian Slaw


To Marinade

  • 2 oz Liquid smoke
  • 12 oz Coke
  • ½ oz Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Cups water
  • Dry Rub
  • 1 ½ oz Brown sugar
  • 3 oz Jerk spice
  • 1 ½ oz Blackening spice

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 Qt. Ketchup
  • 1 Cup Red wine vinegar
  • 6 Fluid oz. Honey
  • 2 Cups Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Sliced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. Minced garlic
  • 8 Oz. Blackberry brandy

Asian Slaw

  • 2 Lbs. Shredded green cabbage
  • 4 Bunches chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Red onions, peeled, and thinly sliced and soak in cold water for 30 minutes
  • 8 Oz, Green papaya cut into strips
  • Lime Vinaigrette-1/2 cup lime juice, 1 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. Salt and Pepper (each)


Cooking Ribs

  1. Take baby back ribs and gently rub both sides with the dry rub and place in a deep cooking pan back to back with the bone side against the side of the pan. Add wet marinade and cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Cook in oven for 3 hours at 350 degrees-you should be able to pull a clean bone out as a check to see if they are done, cook longer if necessary. Chill in refrigerator overnight and then finish on the grill with Blackberry BBQ sauce.

BBQ Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients and reduce by 1/3 then thicken with ¼ cup cold water and 1 oz. Of corn starch mixed well. Bring to a boil, stir in mixture and then turn off heat and let sit. It’s done!
  2. Pair the ribs with Tommy Bahama’s Asian Slaw. This crisp and delicious side dish is light and refreshing. Using lime juice as the acid provieds a distictively different flavor and is a wonderful alternative to traditional mayonaise based slaws.

Asian Slaw

  1. Add all ingredients into large bowl and mix

Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is located at 551 5th Ave, New York, NY 10176, United States

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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