Sometimes a recipe title just doesn’t do the dish behind it justice. Soy sauce marinated ribs doesn’t exactly make you think best ribs ever, does it? I honestly don’t even know what drew me to this recipe. Maybe just that it’s simple, I had everything I needed to make it, and it was from Saveur, so it had to be pretty good. Or, you know, FATE.
You know how when you go to a good Asian restaurant and they have those sticky, salty, sweet, spice-laden spare ribs? And they have that perfectly glazed exterior, all mahogany and perfectly glossy, while the meat remains tender and intensely flavorful? These are kind of like those ribs. Except you don’t have to go out to eat to get them. Jackpot.
The recipe is so simple that it seems like they shouldn’t turn out as amazing as they do. The marinade only has 6 ingredients, for crying out loud. And they’re just baked in the oven, not slow-cooked on a grill that costs more than my house or deep-fried in a vat of 16 gallons of oil. A little too simple if you ask me. Suspiciously simple. And yet… they turn out to be something that tastes like they are so much more work than they are. I can’t wait to try this method with some baby-back ribs, too, and maybe some beef short ribs for mouth-watering appetizers.
So, I totally could have changed this recipe to be called, “Sticky, Sweet, Amazing Spare Ribs” or “Asian-spiced spare ribs”, or something a lot more enticing… but it doesn’t even matter. There’s really not much that can perfectly describe these until you eat them, your fingers covered in the sticky sweet sauce, pulling tender, perfectly spiced meat off the bone, down to the bottom of the platter. Maybe, “No-leftovers Ribs” would have been more appropriate. Because I can’t feasibly see how there would be any. Sorry, guys, you’ll just have to try these for yourself and come up with your own name.
adapted from Saveur
Now, I know some people (ahem, me) like to read a recipe and see a lot of steps as optional. May I humbly suggest that the step of putting foil under the rack on the baking sheet is NOT optional? Unless you'd like to completely destroy your pan? That foil was covered in one charred, sticky mess, and I was very glad that I put foil under there; with it, clean-up was a breeze. Consider yourself warned.
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 2" piece peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 lbs. pork spare ribs
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile flakes, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Add the ribs and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally to coat.
Heat oven to 450°. Remove ribs from marinade and arrange, meaty side up, on a rack set over a rimmed foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
After roasting the ribs for 20 minutes, begin basting the ribs frequently with the reduced marinade, and continue cooking until the ribs are browned, glazed, and tender, another 15–20 minutes. (I basted them with the sauce three times total.) Transfer ribs to a platter and garnish with green onions.