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Father’s Day Chinese Spare Ribs

Hello folks and of  course all of you Big Green Asian Egg-heads – for those of you who celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday…happy, happy to you all!  On this side of the planet the kids (Alex & Kalyna) surprised me with a wonderful little gift that did not include ties or socks (I suppose Christmas will be here soon enough!) No, from the offspring I received a little book called “The Great Ribs Book” by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Nice, even the kids know what dad really wants!

So after reading the very basic introductions and sections on rib types and techniques I had to dive in to the first recipe in the “Show Stopping Asian Ribs” section, “Best Chinese Baby Back Ribs.” If anything I would rate this book purely on the different recipes and sauces contained within – the techniques section is far too basic and very very very generic – my suggestion is go with your intuition when grilling these recipes and don’t be afraid to combine styles and past experience.  Anyway, I wanted to try out the first recipe out of principle (being the first in the book) and because the outcome sounded really good.

I got up early on Father’s Day and took my son Alex down to visit the “pig lady” at West Coast Market.  We managed to secure the last two racks she had available, what luck! We came home and started the 6 hour marinade.  I personally like the dry rub technique but I must admit, the marinade was good though I have a few new ideas based on this experience…more to come on that later.

Instructions are as follows:

Marinade & Sauce:

  1. 1 cup hoisin sauce

  2. 1/2 cup plum sauce

  3. 1/3 cup oyster sauce

  4. 1/4 cup wine vinegar

  5. 1/4 cup honey

  6. 2 tbs dark soy sauce

  7. 2 tbs Chinese rice wine

  8. 1 tbs dark sesame oil

  9. 1 tbs Chili sauce

  10. 1/2 tsp five-spice powder

  11. 1 tbs orange zest

  12. 10 cloves of garlic

  13. 1/4 cup minced old ginger

  14. 1/4 cup minced green onion

Combine all the ingredients and that’s it!  This yields approximately 3 cups when completed. Add the ribs to a glass dish and coat every square inch of the ribs with this yummy sauce! I left the ribs in the fridge for just over 6 hours and then onto the grill.

For the grilling I employed a mixed technique and if anyone can tell me how to improve on it, please do let me know…leave a comment!

I fired up the BGE and stabilized the temperature at 325 F. I used the platesetter with the legs up and then added a drip pan full of water to see if that would provide enough steam for juicier ribs.  I can’t say they were dry but I would like to try steeping them next time in aluminium foil packets like I do for the Fred Flintstone ribs.  Anyway, I placed the ribs onto my trusty rib rack and let the magic begin.  The book suggests a 90 minute cook time for spare ribs and as “pig lady” cuts us some huge ribs, I took the 90 minute route in hopes of cooking all the way through. I always get nervous with timings like 90 minutes for ribs given that my other rib recipe takes 6 hours to complete…anyway, this recipe certainly does not take the low and slow approach!

After all was said and done I removed the ribs and covered them in aluminium foil for another 10 minutes and the result?  Juicy ribs with an incredible sauce.  Heather was right to point out that these ribs were not “fall off the bone” at all and the really thick parts could have been more tender which is why I want to steep them next time around.

The real winner of course was the marinade and sauce (always keep some sauce aside before you cover your raw ribs!!!)

Thanks kids for a memorable Father’s Day and a brand new rib recipe! Love you both…Dad

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