This is the very first time that I have cooked ribs, or really any meat with the bone in it and I honestly can say that I impressed myself with this! Humble right? These spare ribs ended up with tender meat and a sweet, tangy sauce to smother all over it.
I started cooking this without a recipe or a real idea of what I would end up with, and I ended up with a few roadblocks when making the sauce. Still, I powered through and got to improvise while cooking which is something I love doing. Anyway, try making these sometime, they are very simple and fun to make.
As for the ribs, all you really need to do is sprinkle each side of them with salt and pepper. Be liberal with the salt, since alot of it may come off when cooking. What I did is sear each side of each rib in a skillet and then baked them in the oven to finish them. What this does is it allows you to brown each side for a delicious crust, but not burn them when you cook the meat through. I first saw this technique on the Good Eats show when Alton Brown was teaching about cooking steak. Seriously, if you have any interest in cooking then you should watch this show. It is absolutely hilarious and I’ve learned a ton from it.
In the picture above, you can see some of the browning on the bottom rib. Try to get it browned a bit more than that. Not darker, just more of it browned.
SCIENCE LESSON: Browning is actually a chemical process called a Maillard reaction. It is a chemical process between sugars and amino acids/proteins that occurs when you brown a steak, toast bread, or roast coffee. This intensifies flavors and gives you the tasty looking colors and textures on foods such as the browning on the spare ribs.
Once each side of the ribs is browned, toss it in the oven at 350 degrees until they are cooked through. If you’re using a cast iron skillet like me, you can just toss that right in the oven and save yourself some cleaning at the same time.
I started making these ribs imagining that I would just whip together a teriyaki sauce while baking the ribs. Unfortunately I missed the fact that I had no soy sauce. Well, at least I didn’t have any normal soy sauce. I did have dark soy sauce, which tastes a bit fermented and is much stronger than regular soy sauce. I also had no garlic powder….totally unprepared for cooking. I ended up mixing up a bunch of ingredients in various amounts, but if you want a solid recipe, use this one. It isn’t very traditional, but it is easy and tastes great. Here’s what I used(In similar proportions to the linked recipe):
- Dark soy sauce (If you use this, you’re going to need to cook it down to get the flavor you want)
- Brown sugar
- Ground mustard (Try this out in a regular soy sauce, it adds some great depth and flavor)
- Fish Sauce (I wasn’t sure how much of the umami flavor I would get from just the dark soy sauce, and I love using fish sauce in Thai food so I figured I’d try it out)
- Hoison sauce
- Cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken it
However you make the sauce, make it your own! Add in ingredients you think might taste good! Cooking is about experimentation to find what you like best, so experiment when you cook!
Once you’re finished, the ribs should look like the picture above! At least they will if they turn out as delicious as mine did! I’m normally very conflicted when eating ribs. I love the flavor, but I hate getting my hands dirty. I mean I couldn’t even fingerpaint in kindergarten. With these, I had no reservations. Juicy, tangy, and sweet spare ribs are something I just couldn’t resist.