The Other White Meat Pacu-Tambaqui Fish Ribs

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Pacu Ribs with Chipotle Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful and delicate Pacu or Tambaqui Fish Ribs.

I was fortunate enough to have sampled this little gem of a fish that is relatively unknown. Provided by Gulf Shrimp based in Southington, Connecticut. Gulf Shrimp Co. is an inviting, clean retail market with a bountiful selection of seafood. Gulf Shrimp Co. also has a very popular take-out business, specializing in deliciously prepared foods to take home to the family, as well as daily lunch specials. I was shown the ease of preparation and succumbed to what could almost be called a delicacy after tasting this fish that could almost be in it’s own class. According to Wikipedia, the tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) is a freshwater fish of the subfamily Serrasalminae, family Characidae. It is also known by the names pacu, black pacu, black-finned pacu, giant pacu, cachama and gamitana.

The pacu fish gets big, up to 50-60 pounds. They are native to Brazil, and have teeth that look similar to human teeth. They are often mistaken for Pirahna’s. The largest Pacu may measure up to 50 cm and weigh 15 kg, but it usually weighs up to 8 kg. This fish is very tasty and it can be roasted or broiled; and its head makes for a delicious stew. Charboiled Pacu ribs are a success in restaurants, with its crunchy outside, soft inside and with an irresistible taste.


The other White Meat; Pacu or Tambaqui Fish Ribs

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

The other White Meat; Pacu or Tambaqui Fish Ribs

This firm and sweet fish will have you requesting it from your local seafood store. Destination Cuisine Recipe Recipe Type: Seafood


  • Several racks of Tambaqui or Pacu Ribs
  • Chipotle Sauce (Recipe Follows)


  1. Cut in between the ribs but leave the top intact so it is still joined.
  2. Saute approximately four minutes on each side with skin on. Saute skin side down first to assist in holding the fish together.
  3. Cover with Chipotle Sweet Chili Sauce and finish in a 350 degree oven for approximately six minutes.
  4. Cut the remaining rib and serve. Appetizer serving size is 3-4 ribs per person.
  5. Chipotle Chili Sauce Recipe Follows:
  6. Take 1 cup sweet chili sauce and add two pureed chipotles from the can. Mix in two Tblsp of the adobo sauce. Pour over ribs just prior to finishing it in the oven.


Recipe brought to you exclusively by Destination Cuisine. Eat Well…Live Full.

Recipe brought to you exclusively by Destination Cuisine Recipes.

Eat Well…Live Full

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Written by: Laura Raymond

Editor, Destination Cuisine

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About the author

Laura Raymond

Laura Raymond is a Serial Entrepreneur, avid recipe developer and Modern Marketing Guru carving my niche in the food and travel industries, mobile marketing and online ordering. Specializing in Engagement Marketing and putting business owners back in control. Destination Cuisine is my passion to bring foodie events, culinary tours, cooking classes and cool restaurants/hotels together in an interactive site. Reach me at (941) 809-2012. Join our CULTure so you can... Eat Well and Live Full.



  1. This is THE most popular recipe on this site. As seen on Smithsonian Magazine Online during World Cup 2014

  2. […] other Brazilian recipes like Pacu/Tambaqu Fish Ribs as featured in Smithsonian […]

  3. Laura Raymond admin says:

    This fish recipe is done in less than 12 minutes. It’s a hit everytime.


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