Chinese-Style Glazed Back Ribs Recipe

Grill to impress at your next barbecue with this sweet and savory rib recipe from meat expert Bruce Aidells
Ribs on platter
Chinese-Style Glazed Back Ribs

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklaseviks

For a Father’s Day barbecue or anytime throughout the grilling season, add some delicious Asian flair to ribs. As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, cookbook author and meat expert Bruce Aidells, who created this recipe for Real Food, often visits Chinatown and says he can never resist the racks of hoisin-glazed ribs hanging in the windows of the food shops that line the streets in the neighborhood. The sweet and savory glaze in this recipe is inspired by these ribs but has many more ingredients than the typical hoisin glaze. Not only is this glaze good on back ribs but it could also be used for chicken, pork chops or even burgers—so have fun with it, suggests Aidells. He likes to serve these ribs with baked sweet potatoes and an old-fashioned mayonnaise-ey coleslaw and thinks they go well with a fruity red wine such as Zinfandel or Pinot Noir.

Chinese-Style Glazed Back Ribs

Makes 4 Servings

Chinese Glaze
1 tablespoon peanut oil
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
juice of 1 fresh lime (about 2 tablespoons)
juice of 1 fresh lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

1 large slab or 2 smaller slabs pork back ribs (also called baby back ribs), about 3 to 4 pounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. To make the glaze, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients except the sesame oil and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy. Stir in the sesame oil and set aside.
  2. Set up a gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling with medium-high heat on the hot side of the grill. Lightly season both sides of the ribs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place ribs, meat side down and grill until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the bone side for another 5 minutes. Move the ribs, meat side up, to the area of the grill where there is no fire under the meat. Generously baste the ribs with the glaze. Cover the grill and try to maintain a temperature of 300°F to 350°F. Baste the ribs with the glaze every 30 minutes. The ribs are done when the meat begins to pull away from the bone, 45 minutes to 1½ hours, depending on the temperature of the grill. Since it is very difficult to manage a consistent low temperature on a grill, begin monitoring the internal temperature at 45 minutes. The internal temperature at the thickest part of the ribs should be 160°F to 170°F.
  3. Brush the glaze over the ribs once more and place them directly over a medium-hot fire and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the glaze is bubbly and just beginning to brown. Turn and brush the other side with glaze and grill for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the glaze is bubbly and beginning to color. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice in between the ribs to separate them. Place on a platter and brush generously with more glaze.
Rib racks on platter and glaze
Glazing Chinese-style ribs

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklaseviks

Nutrition info Chinese-style Glazed Back Ribs (per serving): CALORIES 602 (328 from Fat); FAT 36g (Sat. 12g); CHOL 137mg; SODIUM 1254mg; CARB 28g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 39g



Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.