An easy recipe for sticky Chinese spare ribs. While not an authentic recipe, the Asian-style flavors are wonderful!
While this is by no means an authentic recipe, but rather my own interpretation, the Asian-style flavor of these ribs is amazing, and they are also VERY easy to make.
These Chinese spare ribs are slowly cooked in a slow oven, lovingly basted with an Asian-style marinade, until they reach a tender, caramelized, sticky perfection. They truly are wonderful!
A nice variation on traditional spare ribs recipes
I normally make oven-baked ribs, often with a vinegar-based North Carolina BBQ sauce to keep the carbs in check. But the Asian flavors of these tasty ribs make a very nice change indeed, so I make them quite often for my family.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make these delicious Chinese spare ribs. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Avocado oil spray: This oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it an ideal cooking oil. I use it to spray the ribs before I bake them.
Pork spare ribs: You could also use baby back ribs in this recipe, possibly cooking them a little less, but I really like the meatiness of spare ribs.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular salt.
For the marinade:
-Light soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative): I almost never use traditional soy sauce. I find it too salty.
-Sesame oil: I like to use toasted sesame oil. It’s very flavorful.
-Honey: Despite containing honey, a serving of these ribs only has 6 grams of carbs.
-Garlic powder: You can also use minced fresh garlic.
-Red pepper flakes: They don’t actually make this dish spicy; they just add an interesting layer of flavor.
Sesame seeds: This is purely for garnish. You can toast them if you’d like, but I rarely bother.
How to make Chinese spare ribs
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
I bake the ribs for 6 hours in a very low oven (250°F).
As a first step, I spray them with oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake them for 2 hours.
After the first two hours, I start basting them every hour in a lovely Asian-style marinade.
An important tip: during baking, some of the marinade will accumulate at the bottom of the pan and might become charred. I usually replace the parchment paper with a fresh sheet midway through cooking.
What side dishes go with Chinese spare ribs?
You can serve them with any side dish you like. They really are quite versatile. But I usually serve them with an Asian-style side dish, such as:
- Spaghetti squash sesame noodles
- Sauteed sugar snap peas
- Asian cucumber salad
- Cauliflower fried rice
- Shirataki sesame noodles
What about leftovers?
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days, and they actually taste great. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
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Chinese Spare Ribs
- Avocado oil spray
- 3 lb. rack of pork spare ribs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the ribs on the baking sheet, bone side down. Lightly spray them with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake the ribs, uncovered, for 2 hours. Meanwhile, mix together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the marinade into four parts and rinse the basting brush with warm soapy water between bastings, to avoid mixing raw and cooked meat.
- After the first 2 hours, start basting the top of the ribs with the marinade every hour. Bake the ribs 4 more hours, uncovered, basting them a total of 4 times.
- During baking, some of the marinade will accumulate at the bottom of the pan and might become charred. I usually replace the parchment paper with a fresh sheet midway through baking.
- After 6 hours, the meat will be very tender and will fall off the bones. The top will be sticky and caramelized. Remove the ribs from the oven and place on a cutting board, meat side down. Cut into individual ribs, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.