Asian-Style Baby Back Ribs


There are hundred of versions of these sweet, sticky ribs. Too often they're preposterously cloying with little pork flavor. This recipe suffers none of that, its nuanced character derived from the melding of ginger, lemongrass, and chile in the braising liquid and the subtly spiced hoisin glaze. Despite the ribs' refined taste, they're properly messy, perfect with beer -- and invariably met with demands for more.


For the Ribs

  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil

  • 1 rack baby back ribs, split in half (about 3 ½ pounds)

  • 5 ounces fresh ginger (about 5 inches), thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

  • ¼ cup finely chopped lemongrass

  • 1 dried Thai chile

  • cup tamari or soy sauce

  • 5 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

For the Glaze

  • ½ cup hoisin sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce

  • ¼ cup honey

  • teaspoon five-spice powder

  • 1 dried Thai chile

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar


  1. Make the ribs: Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ribs, working in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to a plate, leaving drippings in pot.

  2. Reduce heat to medium, and add ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chile. Cook until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add tamari or soy sauce, water, sugar, salt, and ribs. Cover, and gently simmer until ribs are tender, about 1 hour.

  3. Make the glaze: Combine hoisin, garlic, tamari or soy sauce, honey, five-spice powder, chile, orange zest, and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. Preheat broiler. Remove ribs from liquid, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush glaze all over ribs, and broil until glaze starts to bubble, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter, and brush with more glaze before serving.

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