Serious Eats: Recipes

Grilling: Chinese-Style Spare Ribs

Each week Joshua Bousel drops by with a recipe for you to grill over the weekend. Fire it up, Joshua!

On the commute to work a couple weeks ago, my co-worker and I were lamenting that for each excellent Chinese restaurant in the city, there had to be at least ten horrible ones--and there's hardly any of those halfway decent standard Americanized Chinese joints that dot the suburbs. Unfortunately, the little Northeastern corner of Queens that we inhabit has no Chinese that we can find that is even passable, leaving me to turn to my kitchen if I ever want to fulfill a Chinese fix at home. Because of this, I've become adept at making lots of types of stir-fries and some noodle dishes, but I decided to take things a little further and try my luck at some grilled Chinese, take-out style spare ribs.

Based on my previous experience with home-cooking Chinese, I found a recipe that sounded like the right mix of ingredients to achieve the flavors I'm used to. So I whipped up the hoisin-based marinade, even adding the red food coloring to get that authentic take-out look, and let the ribs soak up the flavor overnight. On the grill, they cooked for a little over an hour over indirect heat at 350 degrees, then moved over direct heat until they got that caramelized crust that makes them so delicious. Everything with the recipe was spot-on: the flavors, the texture, and even the color. Luckily I made so many that I have a healthy portion still sitting in my fridge for those authentic Chinese leftovers.

Chinese-style Spare Ribs

Adapted from Saveur


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