Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

Sweet, spicy, tangy and succulent ribs with a floral apple slaw.

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

When I think of BBQ, I think of the classic American, southern staple. Steeped in tradition, history, pride and argued over from deep in the heart of Texas to the Carolina hills. But beyond our shores, Thailand holds a delectable and mesmerizing array of spice blends that harmonizes beautifully in our Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw recipe. And beyond the exotic Thai spice blend, we’ll be using a technique I learned from a close friend and chef that I greatly admire and respect, Chef Jason Kieffer.

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

As you might have noticed, there is no “smoking” in this recipe. Braising the ribs will give you that “fall off the bone” effect one might experience in a traditional BBQ recipe. Because of the spice blend used, you won’t miss the traditional smokiness.

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

Tamarind paste, ginger, and shrimp paste all are key ingredients used in this blend and are the cornerstones of Thai flavor profiles.  Using them on this classic American dish is a beautiful way to have East meets West right on your dining room table.

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

Katherine’s Take: I’m usually not a fan of ribs, unless, the meat comes right of the bone and I can eat it with a civilized fork. These didn’t disappoint and I appreciated the spicier BBQ than what I’ve come to know. Not too sweet, the sauce holds the spices and soy sauce really well, and honors the denser flavors for which Thailand is known.

The boys made a enormous mess and I sensed they enjoyed their BBQ mustaches more than anything else.

Suggestions and Alternatives

  • When making the BBQ sauce add a little of the tamarind paste and shrimp paste little bit at a time. Some people find tamarind paste and shrimp paste too strong for there taste. While others need more. Take your time and adjust accordingly.
  • “Grapple Apples” are really hard to find, so please use any type of apple you want. I prefer the aromatics of “Grapple Apples”, ….so I splurge. I order them online. If you have never had a “Grapple Apple” please put that on your list.
  • Lavender is another hard to find item and can be removed from the recipe. The stars of the show are the Ribs, and the sauce.

Checkout our other Thai dishes:

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
Lemongrass Poundcake
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Pickled Cucumber

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Thai BBQ Ribs

Thai BBQ Ribs with Apple Lavender Slaw

Thai stye BBQ ribs accompanied by apple slaw.

Course Main Course
Cuisine thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 492 kcal


Baby Back Ribs

  • 1 rack baby back ribs quality

Braising Liquid

  • 1 1/2 gallons cold water
  • 3 large yellow onions chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic whole
  • 1/2 hand ginger chopped
  • 12 bay leaves whole
  • 1 cinnamon stick whole
  • 2 cups soy sauce kikoman
  • 8 stars anise whole
  • 1 bunch parsley flat leaf
  • 2 bunches cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup galangal chopped
  • 3 tbs. whole black pepper whole
  • 5 red thai chilies chopped
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce quality

BBQ Sauce

  • 3 cups ketchup heinz
  • 2 red thai chilies minced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. tamarind paste quality
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste quality
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce kikoman
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce quality
  • 1/2 tbs. coriander ground
  • 1/2 tbs. cumin ground
  • 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar quality
  • 1/2 cup apple cider quality
  • 2 tbs. ginger minced

Lavander Apple Slaw

  • 1 tbs. lavender flower
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 grapple apples diced
  • 2 teaspoon. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions chopped


Instructions for Braising Liquid

  1. In a large pot add 1  1/2 gallons cold water, onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, parsley, cilantro, soy sauce, anise, galangal, Worcestershire, red Thai chilies, whole black pepper.

  2. Bring to a boil.

  3. reduce heat to slow boil and add rack of baby back ribs.

  4. cook 2 hours or when meat peels back and tender.

  5. gently remove from braising liquid and place on rack. cool for 1 hour.

Instructions for BBQ Sauce

  1. in medium pot add ketchup, apple cider, brown sugar.

  2. simmer for 5 minutes then add soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce.

  3. simmer 2 minutes then add tamarind paste and shrimp paste.

  4. simmer 1 minute then add coriander powder, cumin powder and minced ginger

  5. simmer 2 minutes then remove from heat

Instructions for Lavender Apple Slaw

  1. In a large bowl fine shred green and red cabbage

  2. add honey, mayonnaise, kosher salt, and apple cider vinegar. gently fold all.

    let sit for two minutes

  3. fold in small diced grapples, lavender, chopped cilantro, julienne scallion.