Masala Chai Pork Ribs

February 17, 2013


Author Notes: I have a weak spot for Assam tea. My mornings start with three cups of Assam with excessive amounts of milk and sugar. Late afternoons call for a strong Assam with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, and anise -- a Masala Chai experience to replenish, invigorate, and help survive a long day in the office. I love the blend so much that I began thinking how to use it in cooking more often. The sweetness of my mixture, the scent of it, and all the complex aromas seem to be a perfect match for slow cooked pork ribs. The tea blend penetrates the meat as the ribs simmer slowly in the oven, and then, after hours of cooking, culminate in a beautiful black syrupy glaze. I like to serve the ribs with mashed sweet potatoes and Fennel Slaw with Vanilla Vinaigrette. A day that starts with Assam and ends with Assam – it cannot get better than that.

Make sure you are using meaty spare ribs, not the leaner and pricier baby back ribs.
QueenSashy

Food52 Review: I knew the blend of spices and tea would be delicious and was excited for this dish. I swooned at the aroma filling my house while the ribs were in the oven, and the falling-apart meat had a wonderful flavor. I reduced the liquid to more of a syrup than a glaze for fear of having nothing left. I basted four times, every 30 seconds; I was left with just a spoonful of sauce, which I ate right from the spoon. Next time I might add a touch of orange juice for acid; other than that, this dish was magical.savorthis

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the rub

  • 2 tablespoons (or content of 4 tea bags) Assam tea, or any similar strong malty black tea, such as Irish breakfast or Scottish breakfast
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the ribs

  • 2 pounds pork spare ribs
  • 2 tablespoons Assam tea (or 4 tea bags)
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 12 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 to 2 ounces ginger, shaved or cut into small pieces
  • 16 cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Prepare the rub. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. Rub the ribs all over with the spice rub. Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and put them into the fridge to sit overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250F. Steep the tea in 4 cups of boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes, until very dark and strong. Discard the tea leaves (or bags) and stir in the brown sugar. Add all other ingredients. Pour the mixture around the ribs in the pan. Cover with lid and roast until tender, about 4 hours.
  3. Remove the ribs from the oven and preheat the broiler.
  4. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and skim off all the fat. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced to thick syrup.
  5. Arrange the ribs on a rack. Glaze the upper side of the ribs with the syrup, and place under the broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the glaze starts to bubble. (Because of the rub, the ribs will already be almost black, and with the glaze they will become like black lacquer, so keep an eye on them while under the broiler; there will be a fine line between black lacquer and burnt syrup.)
  6. Remove the ribs from the oven, let them rest for a couple of minutes, and then serve.

More Great Recipes:
Indian|Pork|Rib|Grill/Barbecue|Make Ahead|Slow Cook|Summer|Fall|Winter|Christmas|Halloween|Thanksgiving

Reviews (16) Questions (0)

16 Reviews

Kate June 5, 2015
My hockey team has fallen in love with these ribs. And I frequently triple and quadruple this recipe when we cook out. If you are going down that road I would suggest that you don't need to do multiply the mixture in step 2 by quite so many. Yes you will need some more but not four times the amount.
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy June 6, 2015
Kate - I love your hockey team -- let them know that they now have a huge fan in me :) I never quadrupled the recipe, (I mainly do like double or so) but you are very right in observing that one does not really need to multiply the liquid by the same amount...
 
Deb R. April 3, 2013
Can't wait to try these on the smoker!
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy April 4, 2013
I envy you - I so wished I had one... Please let me know how they turned out.
 
Deb R. April 3, 2013
Can't wait to try these on the smoker!
 
NakedBeet March 8, 2013
I am so eager to try this out!!! Congrats on the CP.
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy April 4, 2013
Thanks!
 
savorthis February 22, 2013
I love doing ribs with tea, but I have always used lapsang souchong. I love the mix of spices in your recipe and just happened to buy a huge pack of ribs so I am excited to try this.
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy February 22, 2013
I love your dishes and look forward to the feedback
 
savorthis February 25, 2013
Thank you! Question- it says mix all the rub ingredients- should they be ground up first?
 
savorthis February 25, 2013
Wait- scratch that. I was looking at the first set of ingredients and thinking RUB. Nevermind!
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy February 25, 2013
i know, things got shuffled a bit in the site redesign. but if you are using leaf tea for the rub, you will have to crush it...
 
Madhuja February 18, 2013
This looks really good!
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy February 22, 2013
Thanks!
 
lapadia February 18, 2013
Nice job with the flavors!
 
Author Comment
QueenSashy February 18, 2013
Thank you.