Porkstravaganza – Ribs of Fury

So I’ve told you all about Porkstravaganza, right? It’s our big pork-themed party we’ve done for years. A few years ago, Chef J vetoed my rib recipe because he wanted to make some big Italian meatfest that also included ribs. I was bummed to miss out on making our Ribs of Fury for all of our friends. But he relented a couple of years later and a very messy classic was born.

Sweet, salty, spicy Asian pork ribs cut into little appetizer sized pieces (just ask your butcher to slice them right down the center). This is a two day process so read carefully and plan to start the night before so that your ribs are super tender and flavorful!

It’s totally worth it for a summer barbecue or potluck. But make sure you bring LOTS of napkins or wet-naps as this is one of the messiest (yet tastiest) appetizer type recipes I’ve ever made.

Blend together rub mixture and prep meat for dry brining.
Remove as much of silver skin from back as possible and cut into manageable size for your grill. Rub all over with dry spice mixture and allow to hang out in your refrigerator (overnight if possible).
While your ribs are doing their thing, assemble this super easy barbecue sauce.
2 (2)
Pull ribs out of refrigerator at least an hour before smoking. Set ribs on cool side of grill (with wood chips going over the hot coals if desired). Smoke for about an hour then transfer to a roasting pan. Brush lightly with sauce and roast low and slow for about two hours. Brush with sauce again and blast in a hot oven. Let them rest and then carve them up!
After ribs have rested, brush them with more sauce if desired, then carve up and garnish with some fresh cilantro.

Ribs of Fury

  • 1 or 2 large racks pork spare ribs, cut lengthwise down the middle so you have two very skinny racks (I got to the market too late for the cut so mine are full sized ribs), membrane/silverskin removed
  • Asian Spice Rub (recipe below)
  • Asian Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
  • Cilantro for garnish

Asian Spice Rub (this is enough for 1 rack – double if making two racks)

  • 2 T Chinese Five Spice Powder (available at Asian markets, World Market and many supermarkets)
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 2 T packed brown sugar
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T salt

Asian Barbecue Sauce (this is enough for 1 rack – double if making two racks)

  • 6 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 4 inches fresh ginger, finely grated (or 4-5 T from a tube of ginger)
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 C Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/2 C Sriracha Sauce
  • 1/4 C hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 C honey

Day before: Mix together all spice rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub all sides of ribs evenly with spice rub and store in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator about an hour before smoking.

At least three hours before serving: Preheat one side of gas grill to high or fire up charcoal grill with coals to one side. If you have some wood chips, this would be a good time to break them out and place them in a disposable pan with some water over the heat. Place ribs on cooler side of grill. Cook with meat side up until charcoal burns out (or for about 1 hour). You can turn or rotate a couple of times if you want, but really, this is more about them getting some smoky char on them. They won’t be fully cooked but will have some good color and smokiness when you are done.

While ribs are on the grill, start your sauce. Heat sesame oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook just until fragrant and becoming translucent but not brown. Stir in remaining ingredients, stirring after each addition. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. If you like it sweeter, add more honey. Saltier? More hoisin. Spicier? Sriracha. Tangier? Add some more hot sauce. I don’t always measure but did for you guys and I loved these measurements. Spicy but not overwhelming. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to VERY low and reserve until ribs come off the grill.

Remove ribs from grill and put in a large foil lined baking dish or disposable foil baking pan (trust me, you’ll thank me when you start cleaning later). Lightly brush ribs on all sides with sauce and cover pan tightly with foil. Bake in 275F oven for two hours and check the tenderness. If not tender enough, stick them back in there, checking every 15-20 minutes. 

When the ribs are nice and tender, remove the foil and crank the heat to 400F. Brush top of ribs generously with sauce. You just want to crisp them up for about 5-10 minutes. Careful not to burn them – mine were perfect in about 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Separate ribs with a very sharp boning knife and place on a big serving platter. Drizzle with some of the remaining barbecue sauce, if desired, and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. And napkins, lots of napkins.


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