Sticky Asian Ribs

IMG_1641I admit it – I love ribs. I didn’t grow up in a Kosher home and although over the years, I have learned most of the laws for keeping Kashrut, it just is not essential to my Jewish identity. I respect those who do and I will leave it at that.

The apartment we moved to about eight years ago has a lovely large terrace and my husband and I were sure that once we could have a grill we would since we both adore BBQ and grilled meat and veggies. Somehow though each year has passed without our buying one. I have since found ways to make lovely grilled vegetables and meats in a grill pan on my gas stove. So I wondered if I could also make good ribs in the oven. These are wonderful! They don’t have the smoky BBQ flavor of a Texas or Kansas City rib, but they are tender, delicious and REALLY, REALLY satisfying. I call these Asian ribs, but truthfully they are only Asian-inspired. The sauce is also wonderful on chicken so if you don’t eat pork, you can still enjoy the great taste. I used some left-over sauce with a whole chicken and it cooked up incredibly tender and juicy.

The first time I made these I used what are known as St. Louis Ribs. They are flatter and fattier than BabyBack Ribs, which are more curved and usually more expensive. Either one will work in this recipe; the only difference will be in the cooking time. Since Baby Backs are leaner (and what I am using this time around) the cooking time will be about 45 minutes to an hour less than for the St. Louis Ribs. My husband and I decided that while the Babay Back Ribs were meatier than the St. Louis Ribs, there wassoemthing aboutthe extra fat that added flavor and tenderness. It’s personal preference – they both are delicious.

Sticky Asian Ribs

Yield: 2-4 portions depending on the number of sides (I really love the ribs, so for us this is 2 portions!) with extra sauce


One 3 to 3.5 pound rack St. Louis or Baby Back style pork ribs

4 cups of dark brown sugar

3/4 cup of Sake or Vodka

1/4 cup of soy sauce (I always use reduced sodium)

1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1 rounded teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger

4 to 5 star anise

2 Tablespoons Oyster sauce

3/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes OR ground cayenne

1/2 cup orange or blood orange jam/marmalade, with pieces of peel (You could also use apricot jam or Damson Plum preserve imstead.)

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)


  1. Cut your rack in half or quarters, depending on how many people you are serving
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the sauce. It will be a little grainy in texture which is just fine. Separate off about 1/2 to 1/3 of the sauce to save for later. Divide that amount as well to keep some for eating with the ribs or for another use. I kept mine in the fridge in a glass jar for up to a week.
  3. In one or two large heavy-duty plastic bags with a good seal, place your ribs. Pour in one half of the sauce and smoosh around until the ribs are well covered. Seal the bag(s) carefully, place inside an additional bag and refrigerate overnight (or even for 2 nights).
  4. When you are ready to cook the ribs, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with 2-inch sides with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the ribs on the pan.
  5. Cook for 3 to 3.5 hours if using St. Louis ribs and for 2 to 2.5 hours if using Baby Back ribs, basting every 30 minutes with some of the reserved marinade. Do not use leftover marinade from the bag where the ribs were after the first 30 minutes. You don’t want to use sauce from the raw meat on the cooked meat.
  6. Once the ribs look done (you will know when you see them, trust me), turn the oven temperature to broil. Turn the ribs over, basting the bottom well and broil for about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over again and baste one last time. Broil for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. IMG_1637Enjoy! You likely don’t need it, but if you want additional sauce, you have it.

NOTE: I used extra sauce to marinate some chicken breasts that I will cook tomorrow or Wednesday.

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