Spare Ribs, Asian Style

In our house, “spare ribs” in the summer means succulent meaty bones on the grill with a spicy rub or barbecue sauce. But come fall and winter, when we don’t grill as much, “spare ribs” is something marinated, then slow-roasted in the oven.

Chinese spare ribs are cut across the bone so you can pick up the pieces with chopsticks. You can find this type of spare ribs in a Chinese butcher shop or get your supermarket butcher to cut them for you. Chinese spare ribs always seem to be pork ribs, the better to add some sweet-tart flavors to complement the richness of the pork.

The recipe below was given to me by my sister Judy, who passed away some years ago. She was an excellent cook. She would have been thrilled at what we are doing on Special Fork and would surely have been contributing recipes enthusiastically.

This is a simple recipe but does require marinating and 1 ½ hours in the oven. I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat, eliminating par-boiling and cooking at a lower temperature to slow roast.

The recipe, typed on an age-discolored index card, carries this handwritten encouragement to her sister, who was then a novice cook. “You should try this recipe. It’s so delicious!”

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Apricot Spare Ribs

3 pounds pork spare ribs, cut crosswise across the bone into 2-inch strips
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1-inch piece ginger, cut into four slices, then crushed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup bourbon or white wine
½ cup apricot jam plus 1 tablespoon for glazing

Rub spare ribs with salt and put the ribs in a 1-gallon size heavy duty plastic bag with zipper lock. To make the marinade, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except the 1 tablespoon of jam. Pour the marinade into the bag with the ribs, zip securely and turn a few times to distribute the marinade. Put the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Turn the bag once or twice while marinating.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a rack on it (such as a cookie rack) that is large enough t hold the ribs without crowding. Lay the ribs on the rack. If you don’t have a rack, just lay the ribs on the foil, bone-side down.

Roast ribs for 1 ½ hours, basting two or three times with marinade during cooking. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, brush ribs with the remaining 1 tablespoon apricot jam.

When spare ribs are done, let rest 10 minutes, then cut the meat between ribs and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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Posted: Oct 9th by Sandy_Hu