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Sweet Chili Root Beer Baby Back Ribs

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These Sweet Chili Root Beer Baby Back Ribs have only four ingredients in the sauce and the combination of sweet and hot is delicious…an awesome dish for a summer barbecue.

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Each of the four ingredients are winners. The ever popular Sriracha chile sauce and Thai sweet chile sauce are possibly staples in your fridge already. The root beer is available in cans. The homemade kecap manis is a recipe. In fact I made this recipe for years before it became available in Asian markets. To date I have not found a gluten free version although I have heard someone is making it from sorghum.

A Little Pantry Tip – Kecap Manis

Kecap manis is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce. I agree that making your ingredients requires a bit of effort. For now though, it is still easier than another shopping expedition. The one that has not yet led me to a gluten free version of this product.

I think kecap manis is a worth-the-effort pantry staple. It keeps at room temperature for a year or more. Once you make it you can also use it to make Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and the premiere Indonesian salad called Gado Gado.

Organize for Success – Sweet Chili Root Beer Baby Back Ribs

Ribs can be cooked ahead of time, a day or two before serving them if you are organized. This advance preparation makes it possible for you to spend more time with family and friends outdoors and less time making dinner. But alas I did not follow my own advice on the day we cooked these ribs. However, we did get the ribs in the oven then went for a paddle around the lake in our kayaks. After we took them out there was still time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon before firing up the barbecue and do the final cooking for dinner.

Thanks to Fine Cooking magazine for the recipe inspiration. Making these Sweet Chili Root Beer Baby Back Ribs gluten free wasn’t too hard.


2 racks baby back pork ribs
2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp kecap manis
¼ cup root beer
¼ cup sweet chili sauce (also called Thai chili sauce)
2 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce


In a large glass measuring cup combine kecap manis, root beer and both chili sauces. Set aside ½ cup of sauce for serving. Use the remaining sauce to brush the ribs when on the grill.
Let ribs sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with salt. Place on a lightly oiled baking pan and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 2 hours. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone. Ribs can be prepared to this point a day in advance. Return to room temperature before finishing on the grill.
Brush ribs on both sides with sauce. Finish ribs on the grill, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 15 minutes total. Remove from the grill.
Using a sharp knife cut into individual ribs sections and serve. Serve with the reserved sauce drizzled over the ribs.


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