Chinese Spare Ribs


Some people grill year around–I fall into that camp–but come spring my grill really begins to work overtime. In fact, after a long winter of entertaining entirely inside I love nothing more than inviting friends over, firing up the grill and hosting a backyard bar-b-que. This is especially fun to do here in Europe where the tradition of grilling outside is quite different than it is in America. One of the first purchases we made when we moved into our new house last year was a new grill and it quickly became the focal point of most of our get togethers with new friends. To friends whose outdoor cooking experience was mainly over wood or charcoal, our propane fueled contraption was just so novel and well, so American.

For me, the biggest challenge when grilling for a crowd is space and timing. As large as our grill is there is limited surface area for cooking and some foods simply need to be eaten the minute they are removed  from the flames. So what does one cook for a crowd that tastes just as good the minute it is done cooking as well as after sitting awhile? Ribs, that’s what!

This recipe is courtesy of From Away but I’ve taken the liberty of cooking them outside on the grill rather than in the oven. (The ribs are tasty either way but I suspect grilling in Maine in the middle of the winter holds little attraction for these food bloggers). The ribs need to be prepared ahead of time then allowed to sit overnight–or even longer–making them the perfect do ahead dish for entertaining. After your guests have arrived simply fire up the grill, let them all gather around and grill away.


2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 full rack St. Louis-style spareribs
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • Sprinkle five spice powder over ribs, and rub spice into the meat until evenly coated.
  • In two gallon-sized Ziplock bags, combine hoisin sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, honey, and garlic. Squeeze the bag a few times to mix ingredients.
  • Add ribs and mix until evenly coated. Seal bag, transfer to refrigerator, and let ribs marinate overnight, or up to three days.
  • When ready to cook, preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the ribs from the bag and reserve the marinade.
  • Place the two racks of ribs on the grill and cook, turning often until the ribs are cooked through, for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on their meatiness. Baste the ribs with additional marinade with each turn.
  • When the meat is done, remove the ribs from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into individual ribs and serving.

Serves 6-8


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One thought on “Chinese Spare Ribs

  1. Sinead May 5, 2015 at 15:16 Reply

    I love spare ribs – these look so good, I have such a craving for them now!

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