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Waking the Nine Dragons!

Here’s the original recipe that Meathead uses as well as a great story to go behind the recipe – click here. Given that our riblets were very small I simply adjusted the timing and got exactly what I was hoping for….lip smackin’ pork goodness with a fantastic Chinese influence. We of course used the indirect outdoor grilling method but you can also achieve riblet bliss by roasting these ribs in the oven.

Now given that we live in Singapore, we’re lucky to have unrestricted access to traditional Chinese ingredients pretty much anywhere we go. If you can’t get what you need for this recipe in your local shop, you can always order online or wander down to Chinatown if you have one and go nuts!

The magic ingredient in this marinade/basting sauce is Hoisin. If you’ve ever dined on the likes of mu-shu pork, Chinese spring rolls, or Peking duck (peek-a-boo) then you’ve no doubt had this staple sauce.  It’s as widely used across Asia as ketchup would be in North America or brown sauce in the UK. Here’s Wikipedia’s take on Hoisin.

So the preparation for the marinade is simple, messy if wish, and takes only about 10 minutes.  Now, I made plenty of sauce and actually just made 3 times the requisite amount for this weekend. It’s our daughter Kalyna’s 1st birthday and dad’s grillin’ 10 racks in style! (more entries on that later.)

The marinade 1 cup of hoisin sauce 1/4 cup diced onions 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup rice wine or white wine 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 1/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup fresh ginger, grated 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon mustard powder 2 tablespoons chipotle chili sauce (gives a good smokey flavour to the ribs) 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed 1 teaspoon five spice powder

Combine it all and then pulse it in a blender until you’ve pretty much pureed the chunks of onion, garlic and ginger.  This step also lets the spices fuse together and provided for a velvety coating for the ribs. Now, pop your slab of riblets in a jumbo sized zip top bag and cover them with your marinade, leaving about a third for steeping later on in the process.