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Baby back ribs glazed with guava-ginger; served with sweet potato gratin


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Baby back ribs glazed with guava-ginger; served with sweet potato gratin

Chef Lucía Merino

Lucía Patisserie

Lucía Merino was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lucía is a pastry chef with over 15 years of experience in the industry and is the co-founder of Lucía Patisserie in Miramar. She completed her education in Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University and after an inspiring job under Master Pastry Chef Frederic Monet at the Ritz Carlton, her love and passion for classic French pastries blossomed. 

Inspired by her travels and experiences, Lucía returned to Puerto Rico in 2015 with her husband, Johan, to open what they had always dreamed of: a patisserie where they could offer classic French confections while incorporating typical Puerto Rican flavors and ingredients.

Chef Francis Guzmán


After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York, Francis worked in several fine dining restaurants in San Francisco. After 4 years, he moved to New York where he worked at Blue Hill and later as a sous-chef at the two Michelin star-rated restaurant, The Modern.

In 2018, Francis and his wife Amelia opened Vianda in Santurce, where they serve a small and constantly evolving menu, always anchored by local ingredients. They have also recently opened up a new restaurant, La Santurcina, in San Juan.

Baby back ribs glazed with guava-ginger; served with sweet potato gratin


3-4 servings


6 hours in advance (ribs) + 2 hours in advance (sweet potatoes) + 30-45 min. in advance (Guava-Ginger BBQ) 


  • Sharp knife or mandolin
    Baking casserole 8” x 10” (or smaller) 
    Baking sheet
    Aluminum Foil


Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsps Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp coriander, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Guava-Ginger BBQ (included in event box)

Note: We used fresh guava pulp but the following recipe can be done with guava paste, more readily-available

  • 12 ounces canned guava paste 
  • 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Dark Rum
  • 3 tbsps Tomato Paste
  • 3 tbsps Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsps Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsps Minced Ginger
  • 3 ea Garlic Cloves
  • 2 ea Scallions, thinly sliced (white part only)
  • 1/2 cup Water

Sweet Potato Gratin

  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes (around 3 to 4 lbs) 
  • 6 tbsps sage-garlic-brown butter (recipe below) 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Sage-garlic brown butter

  • 6 tbsps Unsalted Butter
  • 6 ea Sage leaves
  • 3 ea Garlic cloves, grated (or minced)

Baby back ribs glazed with guava-ginger; served with sweet potato gratin


Preparation before the event

  • Marinate the ribs 1-2 days before serving. Clean the rack of ribs by rinsing it in cold water and patting it dry.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients for the dry rub and season the ribs liberally. Let marinate overnight. 
  • Season with salt/spice to your preference (you don’t have to use it all).

For the Dry Rub

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Tightly wrap the rack of ribs in aluminum foil and place them in the oven on top of a baking sheet. Cook for about 5-7 hours or until very tender. Be careful because some ovens run hotter than others. You want your ribs to be falling off the bone but not dry. Check them every 30 minutes past the 5-hour mark.

  • Once the ribs are done, let them cool for about three hours at room temperature and then in your fridge for another 2 hours or overnight.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Discard the aluminum foil and place the ribs in a baking tray, glaze them with the BBQ sauce. Every 2 minutes, carefully coat the ribs with an extra layer of BBQ sauce. Roast until the edges of the rack are somewhat charred and caramelized. Garnish with thinly sliced scallion (green part).

For the Sweet Potato Gratin

  • Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Trim the ends of the sweet potato and scrub them clean, do not peel. Cut into 1/16-inch slices.

  • Brush a small, oven-safe casserole with 1/3 of the sage-garlic-brown butter.

  • In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the heavy cream, half of the grated parmesan, salt and black pepper. Line up the sweet potato slices vertically in the casserole, making sure you fill the casserole from end to end with the sweet potatoes.

  • Liberally brush the top of the sweet potatoes with sage-garlic-brown butter.

  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour or until done.

  • Remove from the oven and poke with a sharp knife to determine the doneness. Give it more time if the potatoes are still hard. Depending on your oven, this might take up to 2 hours. If desired, brush the gratin with the sage-garlic-brown butter for a more decadent (buttery) finish.

  • Garnish with the rest of the grated parmesan and the crispy sage leaves.

For the Sage-Garlic Brown Butter

  • Place the butter and the sage in a small pot and cook on medium-low heat until the butter is lightly browned.
  • Turn off the heat and let cool for about 2 minutes, and throw in the grated garlic.
  • Do not discard the cooked sage, save it for garnish.

For the Guava-Ginger BBQ (included in event box)

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil until reduced to desired thickness. 
  • Make sure to stir frequently. 
  • Season with salt.

For over five decades, Para la Naturaleza has worked to preserve natural areas and historic sites that currently serve communities as oases of health. Additionally, we always seek to facilitate and support as much as possible the sustainable recovery of Puerto Rico.

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