Pro Spotlight | Chefs Milliken & Feniger's Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa

[note title=”Pro Spotlight” align=”right” width=”250″] The Pro Spotlight is a feature that showcases recipes developed by professional chefs. Today’s recipe was created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, both alumni of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” and is one of two recipes recently created…

Pro Spotlight | Chefs Milliken & Feniger's Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa

[note title=”Pro Spotlight” align=”right” width=”250″] The Pro Spotlight is a feature that showcases recipes developed by professional chefs. Today’s recipe was created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, both alumni of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” and is one of two recipes recently created for their partnership with the California Avocado Commission.

Click here for past Pro Spotlights.[/note]

In the last Pro Spotlight, Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger shared their party-ready California Avocado Guacamole Tarts. Today’s recipe is sure to be another crowd pleaser and pairs perfectly with those spicy tarts: Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa.

These are no ordinary ribs and this is no ordinary salsa. I can just see the ancho chile powder in the rub, seeping its sweet heat into the ribs.  I love how Chefs Milliken and Feniger take the time to marinate and grill the pineapple to bring out its juicy sweetness. The grilled pineapple against the creamy avocados are a winning combination. And who can’t resist a few splashes of tequila? I may just want the salsa by itself!


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Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple SalsaPrint Friendly and PDF

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, including marinating time;
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes; Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

California Avocado Pineapple Salsa

  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 ripe pineapple, trimmed+ and cut into 1/2-inch slices lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  1.  In a shallow bowl, combine lime juice, tequila and sugar. Add pineapple and toss to coat thoroughly. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Remove pineapple and set aside.
  2.  Transfer marinade to a saucepan over medium heat. Add vinegar and simmer, stirring often until reduced by half. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat grill to medium high. Wipe grill with an oiled towel and place pineapple on grill at an angle. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently until outside of pineapple is lightly golden and caramelized.
  4. Remove from grill, let cool and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. In a bowl, combine pineapple with reduced vinegar mixture. Gently toss in onion, jalapeño, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper and avocado. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Note: If making salsa in advance, refrigerate overnight and wait to add avocado until 30 minutes before serving.

+ To trim pineapple, cut off top and bottom and stand it upright. Cut off the rind, using a sharp knife in smooth downward motions. Remove any remaining “eyes” with the tip of a paring knife. Cut in quarters lengthwise and cut out woody core.

Cumin Glazed Ribs

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 lbs. pork baby back ribs
    • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
    • 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded if desired
    • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
    • 3 Tbsp. hot sauce
    • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup honey
  • California Avocado Pineapple Salsa (see make-ahead recipe above)
  1. Combine paprika, chile powder, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Pat spice mixture all over ribs and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to 300ºF. Place ribs in a single layer in a baking pan and add 1/4-inch of water to pan. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes on grill with the lid closed.
  3. Cover ribs with foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until very tender.
  4. Meanwhile, for the glaze, purée garlic, jalapeños, cumin, hot sauce, lime juice and salt in a food processor.
  5. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and stir in honey. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring constantly and being careful not to burn.
  6. Increase grill temperature to 450ºF. Remove ribs from baking pan and generously glaze. Grill for 5 minutes per side, frequently brushing with additional glaze.
  7. To serve, cut ribs apart and serve hot with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 1220; Total Fat 68 g (Sat 21 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 6 g, Mono 31 g); Cholesterol 185 mg; Sodium 5130 mg; Total Carbohydrates 104 g; Dietary Fiber 10 g; Protein 41 g

*Large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.


Recipes created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for the California Avocado Commission. Copyright © 2011, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.


Feniger, who competed on last year’s season two of “Top Chef Masters,” and Milliken, who just finished up season three of the show as one of the finalists have been business partners for more than 25 years. Their cooking talents have inspired the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas. They also have contributed to the nation’s gourmet food truck cravings with the Border Grill Truck, which brings their delicious food to businesses and neighborhoods throughout Southern California. Additionally, Feniger owns Susan Feniger’s STREET in Los Angeles, serving street food from around the world.

For more recipes that feature fresh California avocados from chefs Milliken and Feniger, visit the California Avocado Commission website at

Recipe courtesy California Avocado Commission.



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  1. Debi Shawcross

    Back from extended vaca and time to catch up! My first stop was here, and I’m glad I’ve stopped by. These are on my list to make now that I am back in my own kitchen.

  2. PriPriscilla - She's Cookin'

    Wow, I should not be trying to catch up on my blog reading when I’m hungry! These ribs look so delicious – I love the flavors in the rub and the idea of pairing sweet grilled pineapple with creamy avocado!

  3. Peggy

    This looks amazing! I love the idea of this vibrant pineapple salsa paired with those juicy ribs =)

  4. something_good

    Buzzed!!! (I would have done it several times but fb tells me to stop :). They look amazing! As for the salsa, I’ve just had some with avocado & mango so this one sounds as delicious

  5. Ann

    Wow – this looks amazing! I love the spices on the ribs and I suspect the sweetness of the pineapple and the creaminess of the avocado will be perfect!

  6. Baking Serendipity

    I’ve never paired pineapple with avocado before, but am willing to bet that it is delicious! These ribs would make the perfect main dish at a bbq :)

  7. German Mama

    I saw these in Food & Wine magazine. They are on my list of dishes soon to be prepared. The recipe just seems totally awesome.

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