Portuguese Grilled Pork Ribs

A truth about Portuguese cooks: We’re cavalier when it comes to fire. This recipe requires the food to be basted with molho de piri-piri, Portugal’s fiery hot sauce, while grilling. Flare-ups, of course, are inevitable. To avoid charring your food beyond recognition, turn it often, move it to a cooler corner of the grill, or adjust the heat. I even open and close the grill’s cover to control the cooking.–Ana Patuleia Ortins

LC Rainy Day Alternative Note

Need a rainy day alternative to grilling your ribs? You can partially cook them in a 350°F (175°C) oven for about 1 hour and then finish them on the grill.

Portuguese Grilled Pork Ribs Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 35 M
  • 4 to 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup piri-piri sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 pounds meaty pork spare ribs


  • 1. In a small bowl, mix together the piri-piri sauce, garlic, salt, and lemon juice.
  • 2. Place the ribs in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, add the marinade, and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least several hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 3. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Place the ribs on the grill and cook, turning often and basting with the remaining marinade, until the meat is tender and richly brown, about 1 1/4 hours. For an extra kick of heat, brush the ribs with fresh molho de piri-piri just before serving. Slice between the bones and arrange on a platter or plate.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Sofia Reino

May 10, 2000

There’s a little restaurant in Almoçageme, Sintra, that makes the most amazing grilled pork ribs with piri-piri. So when I read this recipe, I was hoping to transport myself back to that place, and I sure did. Grilled pork ribs are a staple in Portuguese cuisine, but only very few reipces really nail it. After making this recipe, I think the secret is adding the lemon juice to the marinade. The marinade is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. One piece of advice for those that do not have piri-piri made in advance: simmer some cayenne pepper with olive oil for about 10 minutes and there you have it. It will certainly not be the same as piri-piri, but it will work as a remedy in a desperate moment. I beg all who are into grilled ribs to try this simple yet tasty recipe. Also, beef ribs would work just as well.

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