Seriously Simple: A simple technique creates a juicy result
The tastes of summer are bountiful. Colorful fruits and vegetables abound, and barbecuing is the welcome technique to complement summers’ best produce.
Pork ribs have a permanent place on my summer menu; particularly baby back ribs that are meaty and happily take on the Asian flavors of this zesty marinade. Growing up, summer barbecues at our house always meant a barbecue blazing with big steaks and plenty of baby back ribs. My mom liked the bottled teriyaki sauce for the steaks and for the ribs. She put the ribs on the barbecue to cook and then brushed the sauce on them a few minutes before they were done so the sauce wouldn’t burn the ribs.
The following recipe came about after trying many other barbecue techniques to see what is Seriously Simple. I have found that first marinating the ribs and then baking them enclosed in aluminum foil, essentially steaming them, in a 325-degree oven results in a moist, tender slab of ribs.
I appreciate that this dish can be made a day ahead, cooled and refrigerated. The day of cooking just requires some time on the barbecue to finish heating and glazing the ribs. This technique creates a juicy result.
The marinade combines slightly sweet hoisin sauce with honey and rice wine vinegar for an Asian-style glaze, a fun surprise twist on classic sweet American barbecue sauce. You can do this technique with any glaze or sauce you prefer. You can also use this marinade on pork tenderloin or chicken.
When you are selecting ribs, look for the meaty and less fatty baby back ribs, sometimes called loin ribs. They have a covering of meat over the bones and between them that makes them leaner and meatier than spareribs. They are shorter and smaller than spareribs. It’s also best to purchase fresh ribs that have not been frozen.
My favorite side dish with these ribs is a simple cabbage salad flavored with fresh cilantro, rice wine vinegar and oil. And of course, grilled fresh corn. Serve your favorite Asian beer or a chilled rose. Happy summer eating!
Asian Baby Back Ribs
Serves 4 to 6
- 4 pounds pork loin ribs cut Chinese style or baby-back ribs
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Place the ribs in a jumbo plastic sealable bag. Add the marinade to the ribs and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the ribs on a piece of foil large enough to wrap tightly without any holes. Place the package in a large roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. Or alternately, place the ribs in a roasting pan and cover well.
3. Remove the ribs from the oven. Remove the ribs from the foil, drain and reserve the juice and place in a dish.
4. Prepare the barbecue for medium-heat grilling. Grill the ribs about 3 inches from the flame for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until they reach the desired doneness, basting occasionally with the remaining marinade, making sure they do not burn. Place on a serving platter and serve with the reserved juices, if desired.
Advance preparation: This may be prepared one day ahead through Step 4, covered and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before grilling.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)