Asian Dry Rub Baby Back Pork Ribs

December 31, 2013
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

My famiglia loves spices of all kinds, and I created this recipe using some of our most flavorful favorites. These ribs are a fast weeknight meal or great appetizer or snack food for entertaining. —cucina di mammina

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Cucina di mammina is a wine lover and spice fiend who learned to cook as soon as she could walk.
WHAT: A rib recipe that’s weeknight-appropriate and satisfyingly spicy.
HOW: Cut the ribs, coat them in a mixture of turmeric, cardamom, garlic powder, ginger, and hot pepper, and let them marinate in the fridge. When you’re ready to roast, put the ribs into a hot oven until they’re golden-brown, crispy, and tender.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We were used to roasting entire racks of ribs, but this recipe introduced us to a new technique: Cutting the ribs before they’re coated in spices and roasted in the oven results in meat that’s crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and uniformly flavorful. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the baby back rack of pork ribs
  • 1 large rack of baby back pork ribs, cut into segments
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 pinch Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • For the dry rub spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper to taste
  1. Cut the ribs into individual ribs and place them on a flat work surface covered with wax paper. Coat with a bit of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and season both sides with sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix all of the remaining spices together in a small bowl and rub the spice blend on all sides of the ribs until evenly covered. Place the ribs in a well-sealed plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours (overnight is best).
  2. Remove the ribs from the fridge about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to roast them, and bring to room temperature. Line a metal baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the ribs on the foil.
  3. Set oven to anywhere between 400 to 425° F and roast the ribs until golden brown and cooked through (the time will vary depending on the heat of your oven and the thickness of the ribs, but start checking around 40 minutes). For crispier ribs, place them under the broiler a minute or two before they're finished. Remove from oven to cool and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jazmine
  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • Ariette Coleman
    Ariette Coleman
  • nancy essig
    nancy essig
  • AntoniaJames

29 Reviews

Jazmine October 8, 2015
I made these a couple nights ago, and they are wonderful! Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Very good spice combination. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!
cucina D. February 14, 2017
Grazie Jazmine! I love that you love this recipe too! Making these this week, a recipe for my famiglia asks for all the time :)
SillyWilly9 April 2, 2015
I've cooked lots of ribs "low and slow" in the oven and in my smoker, and I assumed this "hot and quick" method would give me tough, leathery meat. I was very wrong! These are great!
Also someone commented on the dry rub as being "strange smelling" - don't be afraid, I followed the recipe exactly and it was fabulous. I will be doing this a lot and will be experimenting with other spice combinations. Thanks!
cucina D. April 3, 2015
Wonderful feedback SillyWilly9! So happy you tried my recipe and yes, it does take trust and an adventurous spirit too! I always let my foodie friends know that starting with top quality ribs (look for a balance of meat to fat) preferably as natural and organic as possible will make a world of difference in any recipe. Let me know what spice mixtures you love the best so I can try new variations with you. Grazie tante!
[email protected] December 21, 2014
Cucina, I prefer the wood pellet smokers they are easy to use. Here is a forum I belong to you can check out and has a lot of info on all smokers and outdoor cookers. http://letstalkbbq.com/ and at my blog http://pelletsmokercooking.blogspot.com/ have a lot of cooks posted I have done and some info on smokers. Hope this helps. Don
cucina D. December 22, 2014
Don, this is wonderful information, thanks for taking a moment to reply and send me the links! I will check them out soon and touch base if any questions, etc. happy holidays to you & yours :)
[email protected] December 13, 2014
Cucina, thanks for a great recipe! I was a little leery of the ginger since the wife and I are not ginger lovers. I used 1 Tbs. and the spice mixture worked great; it seemed to meld into one delicious flavor. I have cooked a lot of ribs and do them low and slow on my pellet wood smoker. I did yours on the smoker, 1/2 hour on smoke and then an hour at 375 deg. going to 390 deg. F the last 20 minutes. They were a taste treat, chewy and crispy! My wife loved them and the grandson loved them too, he cleaned them to the bone!

I like them low and slow but these are great for something different and it is a great way for someone who works and does the cooking to have something good on a working day. Thanks Don
cucina D. December 18, 2014
Thanks so much Don! I created this recipe exactly for that reason, coming home at 5:30 and wanting to eat right away. SO happy you loved it and love that you smoked them, I do not have a smoker and could use some advise on what to buy as I want to smoke ribs like these as well as potatoes and tomatoes :)
Susan W. August 4, 2014
I have made these twice now and absolutely love the little chew they have. It's exactly how I like my ribs. I used the Asian spice rub the first time and Mike and Amy Mills' Magic Dust (currently my favorite spice rub) the second time. Both were scrumptious. So happy to find a rib method that doesn't cause the meat to fall off the bone. :)
cucina D. August 4, 2014
This is one of the nicest compliments I have ever received, Susan W! Thank you for your kind words and mostly for taking the time to try my recipe and give me your much appreciated feedback. I learned to cook meats this way in Italia with my farm family, no matter what they cooked the flavor was always pure and delicious, allowing the meat flavors to shine through :)
cucina D. August 4, 2014
I will have to try Mike & Amy Mill's Magic Dust (love the name!) I love new ideas from cooks and foodies like yourself, always making our famiglia's dinners exciting and really tasty.
Susan W. August 4, 2014
I would link the page, but cant seem to paste on this site from my phone. If you google it, it pops right up. I keep it in a shaker and use it for ribs, chicken, fish, roasted shrimp and cottage cheese. :0)
Ariette C. July 30, 2014
This just looks ... amazing. Good combination with the spices used!
Ariette C. July 30, 2014
This just looks ... amazing. Good combination with the spices used!
cucina D. August 4, 2014
grazie tante, Ariette Coleman! Please let me know once you try the recipe at home what your review and thoughts are for my future reference.
Susan W. July 24, 2014
I actually don't like fall off the bone rib meat. I like it to have a little chew. I have never cooked ribs any other way than low and slow, so I am looking forward to trying this. My favorite part of a bone in prime rib roast are the ribs the next morning, so I am picturing them similar to that. We shall see.
cucina D. July 24, 2014
Thanks for the comments Susan W. I do so hope you like this version, please let me know as I love getting feedback from such a great group of talented cooks and foodies.
nancy E. July 23, 2014
I can't see these being very tender. The high heat would toughen them it seems. Please explain
YenWhite July 24, 2014
i agree. in my experience, a low and slow method would be more successful in achieving that.
cucina D. July 24, 2014
Ciao YenWhite,
These ribs are cooked at a higher heat to achieve a more meaty, somewhat toothy texture, vs. the slow cooked softer, fall off the bone texture. You can certainly choose to cook them in the slower method, but my famiglia prefers the original version. It's all about your personal taste and what you enjoy the most :)
cucina D. July 24, 2014
thanks for the question on the high heat vs. slow cooked method. my famiglia in italy would cook ribs like these over an open pit fire and the results were delicious! They are definitely different than your soft, tender fall off the bone variety but me and my famiglia and friends love this version for a meatier bit.

It is crucial, of course to purchase a high quality cut of ribs from your local meat purveyor and we love a good mixture of meat to fat to maintain best flavor and
texture. Hope this helps!
nancy E. July 24, 2014
Good thought about fattier meat. The pork in super markets is so lean as to be inedible. I will go to a farmer. Thanks. These look wonderful
cucina D. July 24, 2014
You are more than welcome, nancy essig :) I wish I could find more local farmers in my area who were raising heritage and organic style pigs and chickens. The flavor is so much more pure and healthy for you too!
AntoniaJames July 23, 2014
What an inspiration. Great combination of spices. Congrats! ;o)
cucina D. July 24, 2014
grazie tante AntoniaJames! what a lovely compliment and i hope you try these for yourself and let me know what you think.
Susan W. July 23, 2014
I can't wait to make this. Personally, I love powdered ginger in a rub. I do make a Korean wet marinated beef short rib that uses fresh ginger, but I have found that I prefer dry rubs on ribs. I also have always cooked ribs low and slow, so this method will be fun to try. It sounds like the ribs will have more of a "tooth" to them which I love.
cucina D. July 24, 2014
thanks for the comment Susan W! I too love the mix of spices and often change it up depending on my mood. And yes, these ribs are not the slow, fall off the bone kind but still tender with a great meaty bite.
winejew March 9, 2014
I'm not sure about this one. I made the dry rub and I hesitate to use it. It has a strange smell. I think the ground ginger overwhelms the aroma. If you're going for an asian character, fresh ginger would be far better. And I question the combination of both garlic and ginger powder.
cucina D. March 9, 2014
You can certainly use fresh ginger if you prefer here. I always tell my followers to adjust the amounts according to their personal taste, less garlic, more or less ginger etc. I do not use fresh ginger here as I prefer a true dry rub, but you can use fresh ginger if you prefer; it will however be more of a paste then a rub that you will need to distribute evenly before roasting.