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Thai Barbecue Pork Spare Ribs

Entree, Recipes

Rick Malir, president and co-founder of the Cincinnati-based City Barbeque chain, which has 25 locations in four states, likes to play with his food. “We embrace the whole art of barbecue, and the smoking of meats and the craft of what it is,” he says of the collaborative recipe development that goes on behind the scenes at his restaurants. “We’re just constantly playing and inventing.” After work, you can find Malir in his own kitchen offering up unique meals such as coffee-rubbed steak with avocado sauce or Asian-inspired smoked pork spare ribs. But while ribs get an up-to-7-hour smoke at City Barbeque, he says they can be just as good (and a whole lot less labor-intensive) out of the oven.

Thai Barbecue Pork Spare Ribs | Makes 6 servings
Recipe courtesy of City Barbeque

2 tablespoons Thai red pepper paste
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass (use the inside stalk only), minced 
1 tablespoon kaffir lime leaf, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
3 1/2 cups hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fermented black beans, soaked in warm water 1 hour then drained (look for this specialty ingredient in Asian markets)
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sambal Thai chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 pounds pork spare ribs

Saute garlic, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaf in sesame oil until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients except ribs, cilantro and lime juice. Simmer over low heat until thickened. Allow to cool, then add lime juice and cilantro. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top. Lay the ribs on top of the rack (do not overlap). Adjust the oven rack to several inches below the heating element and set the broiler to high. Brush the sauce liberally on both sides of the ribs. Broil, meaty side up, until the sugar is bubbling and brown (about 5 minutes). Set the oven to 300 F and place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Halfway through cooking, baste with sauce then cover with foil. Ribs are done when a sharp knife slides easily into the thickest part of the rib meat. Rest, covered, about 10 minutes. Serve with extra sauce