Sour-Cherry-and-Five-Spice-Lacquered Ribs

sour-cherry and five spice lacquered ribs garnished with scallions and cilantro
Photo: Mikkel Vang
Prep Time:
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs
6 to 8 Serves

These fall-apart baby-back ribs are rubbed with warm spices and glazed with a gingery soy glaze, sour cherries add a sweet, tangy note. The ribs cook over indirect heat on the grill (or roast in the oven), then are charred over a high flame. Brush on more of the irresistible glaze before serving!



  • 4 scallions, green parts only (whites reserved for glaze, below), finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (4 teaspoons)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)

  • 4 teaspoons five-spice powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 ½ pounds total), membranes removed


  • 2 pounds fresh sour cherries, rinsed, drained, and pitted (5 ½ cups)

  • 1 ½ cups packed dark-brown sugar

  • 6 scallions, white parts only, finely chopped (3 tablespoons), plus 2 whole scallions, chopped, for serving

  • cup thinly sliced fresh ginger (from a 4-inch piece)

  • 8 ounces unseasoned rice vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


  1. Ribs: Stir together scallion greens, garlic, ginger, spices, and 2 tablespoons salt. Rub mixture evenly on both sides of ribs to coat. Cover and let stand at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before cooking.

  2. Glaze: Meanwhile, combine cherries, brown sugar, scallion whites, ginger, and vinegar in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to submerge cherries in bubbling liquid, skimming any impurities from surface. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cherries and scallions are very soft and liquid has reduced slightly, 40 to 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much syrup as possible; reserve solids. Transfer strained syrup to a small saucepan; simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer reserved cherry solids to a blender and purée into a thick sauce; season lightly with salt. Refrigerate glaze and sauce in separate airtight containers.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees, or prepare a grill for indirect-heat cooking. Stir together soy sauce and oil; pour over ribs. Wrap ribs tightly in a double layer of parchment-lined foil, or place in a covered baking dish, and roast or cook over indirect medium-high heat 45 minutes. Uncover and brush liberally with thick sauce, then re-cover and return to oven or grill; continue to cook, brushing every 45 minutes, until meat is tender and can easily be pulled off with a fork, 1 hour, 30 minutes to 2 hours.

  4. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking (or preheat broiler with rack 6 inches from heating element). Brush ribs with glaze and grill over medium-high heat, flipping once, until crisp and very browned at edges, about 5 minutes. Finish with a final brush of glaze and sprinkle with chopped cilantro and scallions. Serve with remaining glaze alongside.

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