Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chinese Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

I am enjoying the luxury of peace and quiet this morning. Last night both of my sons had friends spend the night. We had three 10 year old boys and two 20 year "boys" here. There was a lot of video game playing, boisterous chatter, laser tag playing, chest thumping, hysterical laughter, and bouncing off of walls. I knew it was going to be a long night when in the first hour, a flower planter box got knocked off of a railing and proceeded to tumble down our stairs, end over end, spilling 3 pots worth of potting soil.

So, it was a Friday night for finger foods. One of the things I made was one of the boys favorites that I hadn't made in years, Chinese barbecued baby back ribs.

First off, they're not the "traditional" Chinese pork ribs that American Chinese restaurants serve. Second, they're not even barbecued, they are cooked in the oven*. But they are easy to make and are a flavorful appetizer.

Chinese Barbecued Baby Back Ribs (Recipe as found in Meal Master)
2 tb Sugar
1 tb Dry sherry

3 tb Hoisin sauce

1/2 ts Finely chop garlic

1 ds Salt optional

1/2 c Ketchup

3 lb Pork back finger ribs cut 1 inch wide by 3 inch long

Place ribs in nonreactive, plastic, bowl with a lid.
In a separate bowl, combine marinade ingredients; sugar, sherry, hoisin sauce, garlic, salt (if desired) and ketchup. Mix well and spoon over ribs. Place cover on bowl and shake to coat ribs thoroughly with marinade. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 hours or longer. Shake once or twice while marinating to coat again.

To avoid mess, cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Take ribs from refrigerator and shake to coat again. Place ribs on their sides on cookie sheet. Don't crowd, or they won't be crispy. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake additional 20- 30 minutes. Check carefully last 10 minutes of baking to prevent burning.

Our tips:
-Add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fresh ground ginger.
-Add 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
-If you like heat, add 1 teaspoon of sriracha. To me, that makes this dish.
-Cook the ribs on a rack above the foil lined cookie sheet. This way they don't sit in their own grease while cooking. You can use a cooling rack as shown below. If you don't have one, MacGayver it and steal the rack out of your toaster oven.
*For my BBQ readers appalled that I put ribs in an oven, these weren't REAL ribs so relax. Alexis bought some back ribs because they were on sale without realizing they were the brine enhanced ribs, which I refuse to put into my smoker. Like Ernest and Julio Gallo, my smoker motto is "we will serve no swine, that's touched the brine".