Reclaiming Adam’s Rib

October 15, 2012

in menus,pork and game,protein

I have my kitchen back! We were finally able to move Z’s sleep area into another room far from the hubub and commotion of our normal lives. Now that he is he no longer inches away from the kitchen, we can resume banging pots and pans in the evening. Even more exciting, we’ll be having our friends over again for more than daytime playdates. Feel the excitement? Yeah, I can barely contain myself.

These ribs will be on the menu for our first adult dinner party in a year. I’ve made them multiple times in the same way in the last eighteen months and that’s saying something because repeat performances are rare in my household. I generally am excited about moving on to the next new thing, but Olive keeps requesting them and I’ve been more than happy to oblige.  The marinade on the ribs creates a slightly sweet glaze and the ginger, garlic and lime cut through that and give the flavor zing.

Hoisin Lime Spare Ribs

4  lbs pork spare ribs (bone in)*

Hoisin Lime Marinade

10 oz. Hoisin Sauce
1 tbs fresh garlic
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp sake*
1 tbsp five spice powder

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and remove 1/3 of the portion into a separate bowl. You’ll be using this reserved sauce to coat the ribs during cooking.

Place the ribs into the large bowl of marinade and coat them all thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours, though I’ve found that letting them sit overnight is even better.

Preheat your oven to 400º and bake the ribs in a roasting pan for 1 hour. Continue to cook the ribs for another 45 minutes, brushing on more of the reserved hoisin sauce and turning them over every 15 minutes. Each side should get coated at least twice during the cooking process. As every oven runs differently, be sure to test a piece for tenderness/doneness before removing the ribs at the instructed cooking time; continue cooking if the meat is still chewy.


I’ve used both pork spare ribs and country spare ribs before with good results. I like to buy them already cut. If that isn’t feasible, separate them yourself before proceeding. I find that marinading each rib individually will embed the flavor more effectively than spreading it across a whole slab. Yes, turning each one is less convenient, but I feel the flavor difference makes this extra prep time worth it.

There are different varieties of hoisin sauce with varying degrees of sugar in them. If yours contains less than 20g in the serving, add in 1 tsp of brown or white sugar to your sauce along with the other ingredients.

If you don’t happen to stock sake in your fridge, you can replace it with 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon or sugar. If you’ve already added the sugar above to your hoisin sauce, just add in the vinegar.

Hoisin sauce is like chinese ketchup. Recipes for it abound and you could certainly make your own if you were ambitious enough to have this ready before starting on the ribs. I found this recipe online and will be trying it out.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirin December 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

Thanks for linking to my blog! Let me know if you try the recipe.

By the way, I once tried a recipe similar to the tea smoked duck you posted (from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything) and had.. much less success than you did. actually, it was just about the least successful thing I ever made, to the point where our kitchen windows were fogged with duck fat in ways I had not imagined possible. I’ll have to try your version!

the naked beet December 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your smoked duck experience! I hope if you do end up trying it, you can get your hands on a cheap wok.

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