Chinese Style "Barbecued" Spareribs

Originally seen on America's Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 (6-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 5 - 6 pounds pork spareribs (2 racks, 2 1/2- to 3-pounds each), preferably St. Louis-style, cut into individual ribs
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Instructions

Note: It's not necessary to remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs. These ribs are chewier than American-style ribs; if you prefer them more tender, cook them for an additional 15 minutes in step 1. Adding water to the baking sheet during roasting helps prevent smoking. Serve the ribs alone as an appetizer or with vegetables and rice as a main course. You can serve the first batch immediately or tent them with foil to keep them warm.

1. Pulse ginger and garlic in food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer ginger-garlic mixture to Dutch oven. Add honey; hoisin; soy sauce; ½ cup water; rice wine; five-spice powder; food coloring, if using; and pepper and whisk until combined. Add ribs and stir to coat (ribs will not be fully submerged). Bring to simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using tongs, transfer ribs to large bowl. Strain braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large container, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Let cooking liquid settle for 10 minutes. Using wide, shallow spoon, skim fat from surface and discard.

3. Return braising liquid to pot and add sesame oil. Bring to boil over high heat and cook until syrupy and reduced to 2½ cups, 16 to 20 minutes.

4. Set wire rack in aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet and pour ½ cup water into sheet. Transfer half of ribs to pot with braising liquid and toss to coat. Arrange ribs, bone sides up, on prepared rack, letting excess glaze drip off. Roast until edges of ribs start to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip ribs and continue to roast until second side starts to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Transfer ribs to serving platter; repeat process with remaining ribs. Serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: At end of step 3, refrigerate ribs and glaze separately, covered, for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, bring glaze and half of ribs to simmer in Dutch oven over medium heat, then proceed with step 4. Repeat with remaining ribs.