Make Ahead

Chinese Style Honey Hoisin Sticky Ribs

January 13, 2014
11 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/ Bona Fide Farm Food
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

You could use almost any rib here for this recipe although probably not short ribs. I think beef ribs would be great, as far as pork goes you could use baby backs, spare, or St. Louis style. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • For braising the ribs
  • 1 rack of pork baby back ribs, cut in half
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into disks
  • 1 thumb of ginger, about one inch, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half across the cloves
  • 1 cup tamari soy sauce, or your favorite brand
  • water
  • To finish the ribs
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 green onion cut into slivers
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  1. For braising the ribs
  2. Place the ribs into the bottom of a snug, heavy bottomed pot (make sure you have a lid for the pot, be it an actual lid, sheet tray, or pizza pan). Add the rest of the ingredients, then add water to cover the ribs by 1 inch.
  3. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, put the lid on, and simmer the ribs until they are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The meat should shrink on the rib bones, and the actual bones should have revealed themselves by 3/8 to 1/2 an inch. You can test for tenderness by slicing a sliver from an end and taste. It should have some tooth but still be tender.
  4. Remove the ribs from the pot and discard the braising liquid. You can make a soup from the liquid, or freeze it for the next time you want to make an Asian red cooked dish. (If you plan to cook the ribs later in the week, you can let the ribs cool right in the pot, then place the whole thing into the fridge until you are ready to finish the ribs in the oven.)
  1. To finish the ribs
  2. In a small bowl combine the hoisin, oyster, soy, sriracha, vinegar, and honey. Whisk to combine.
  3. When you are ready to finish cooking the ribs, heat the oven to 450 °F. Place the ribs onto a sheet tray lined with foil for easy clean-up. Using a grill brush, paint both sides of the ribs with a light coating of the sauce.
  4. Keep coating the ribs with the sauce until they take on a lacquer quality, then bake them until they start to darken and caramelize. Remove the ribs from the oven and cut them into pieces. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with green onion.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elizabeth Eichholz
    Elizabeth Eichholz
  • Katheryn's Kitchen
    Katheryn's Kitchen
  • Gillian
  • Madison Hill
    Madison Hill
  • PhillipBrandon

136 Reviews

Elizabeth E. April 24, 2023
First time making ribs ever - loved the simmering method! Very delicious and will definitely repeat. Please don’t throw out the broth - use it for this recipe and it will change your life:
Katheryn's K. November 14, 2022
These are fabulous, I have made multliple times, they are a go to meal in our house, love them. Love boiling them and getting rid of the excess fat but yet they are super moist.
rocio February 13, 2022
I followed the recipe to the last detail and came out beautifully. I served with braised bok choy and white rice. Great to read the comments to get ideas for the leftover broth. Someone had the same question I have and I couldn't see an answer, sorry if I missed it: How much time do you recommend for the oven?
PJM November 18, 2021
Really enjoyed this recipe--although the finishing stage in the oven set off my smoke alarm! Oops. I used pork baby-back ribs (happened to have a rack in the freezer). I served the ribs with a fried rice side dish.
What I would like is detailed suggestions on how to use the braising liquid (which I saved). I like the idea of using it for ramen, but I'm not creative and need help with ideas or recipes. Thanks!!!
Cookin' C. July 28, 2020
I feel guilty that I have not left a comment yet; I have been making these ribs regularly for over a year (maybe 2!). My 12 year old grandson says it is his favorite meal; he even conned his little brother into requesting it for a birthday meal ;-}. I LOVE the broth - said grandson tosses some wontons or potstickers and has a lovely lunch. I let the broth sit overnight and skim off the fat and freeze it in quart size bags for soup. Also, the sauce is so delicious - I am using it tonight to "finish" some grilled pork chops. This recipe is one of the best ever!
Gillian April 21, 2020
I have cooked these ribs twice now within a 3 month period. Every ingredient is necessary, delicious, and perfect. I wouldn't change a thing and I don't change a thing when cooking these ribs. I live in an apartment so I do not have access to smoking ribs all day as I wish, and this recipe cures my rib fix every time!!
roia March 14, 2020
This recipe is rib perfection. This is my kids' favorite meal. Not one ingredient needs to be changed (so don't!). I have yet to meet someone who doesn't think this is the best rib recipe.
Blanca C. January 20, 2020
I love this recipe. I make it in the slow cooker and... the broth... Oh my god, the broth is DELICIOUS!!!

Have made it twice now and it is on my recipe rotation.

Thank you for sharing!!
AOB October 29, 2018
This was fantastic! Used country style pork ribs. Added two star anise and 4 dried chili peppers. The left over broth was soooooo good. DO NOT throw it away. Pork was not dry. It's important to only simmer with bubbles barely breaking the surface. Finished on grill brushing on the sauce. Yum!
Micki July 4, 2018
I followed the recipe exactly & it was unbelievably delicious. I saved the broth as per previous reviews & can't wait to make Ramen with it.
dylan April 16, 2018
I've made this several times and it has always been delicious. This time, I made this with lamb spareribs. I added cumin and red pepper to the broth & cumin and extra sriracha to the glaze (I also broil instead of bake the ribs). They were SOOOOOO good.
Madison H. February 24, 2018
Save the braising liquid. It makes delicious ramen soup.
Sonya September 19, 2017
About how long are the ribs in the oven for? Apologies if this was already asked. Thanks.
Carolyn K. January 30, 2023
I used baby back ribs. 1-1/2 hours total!
PhillipBrandon May 24, 2017
I threw in a couple of fresh jalepeños I had with the simmer, and kept the broth for some excellent noodle soup. Really lovely.
Dee December 18, 2016
I thought these ribs (and resulting liquid) were phenomenal! I will make again💕
Food63 October 19, 2016
Noooo, don't get rid of the braising liquid! It makes an unbelievably delicious broth. In fact, I make this recipe just for the broth at this point! I no longer bother with glazing the ribs, but just season them lightly and bake (thirschfeld's recipes tend to be among my favorites, and clearly other commenters loved the ribs, so I take full blame for the ribs turning out ok but not great). I then shred the rib meat into bite-sized chunks and freeze it with the strained broth. Then when we want a delicious soup, I simmer sliced shiitake mushrooms and sliced Napa cabbage in the broth, pour it over separately cooked ramen noodles, and serve with sliced scallions. It's one of our favorite meals.
Madison H. February 24, 2018
I too save the braising liquid for a ramen soup. Thanks for suggestions about shredding the ribs and freezing. Doing that tonight thanks to you.
Christina M. July 16, 2016
Had to recomment since everyone is slamming the boiling, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!!! These ribs turn out amazing. I've had rubs off set smoked, smoked, grilled, oven cooked as well as pressure cooked- good ribs are good ribs unless you've made the recipe WHICH I HAVE stop telling people that they won't be good!!!! Btw THEY ARE SOOOO GOOD!! And definitely make the soup after ward and save for when you have a cold WORTH IT
Michael B. July 16, 2016
Hrm. Never said that end result was not good. Maybe you should re-read my comment. I said that I disagree with the boiling of the ribs, which I have made many versions of many, many times. The boiling of the ribs takes flavor out of the ribs, altering the final result. This is a fact. Taste the water after you boil the ribs.
thirschfeld July 17, 2016
The ribs aren't boiled they are simmered. But to prove a point, I could slap these ribs into a sous vide bag, cook them for 20 hours and all kinds of liquid would be exuded into the bag and yet the ribs would be fall apart tender and extremely juicy. It's because it's not about the liquid lost but rather the fat that remains. It's the fat that makes you mouth perceive moisture. It is about cooking the ribs at a low enough temperature and just the right amount of time to break down the collagen but not render the fat.
Michael B. July 17, 2016
Thank you for the additional info @thirschfeld. Even if it is a simmer, and not a boil, if overdone the water can dry out the meat by causing the proteins to contract and squeeze the moisture out of the muscle fibers. The meat falling off the ribs does not always indicate great ribs. But now I'm steering away from science and moving towards taste, which is of course subjective. We all have different tastes on how we'd like the texture of our ribs.

Great discussion. I'm going to give your recipe a second try having simmered the ribs. :)
thirschfeld July 17, 2016
Well of course if you over cook anything it is going to be dry. Slow cookers are the perfect example. If you read step two I think this addresses the over cooking concern by clearly stating the ribs should be tender but toothsome. It doesn't say cook them until falling off the bone.
Michael B. July 17, 2016
Yes, your instructions are quite clear and detailed. I was not knocking the recipe steps as provided. I thought our conversation had switched gears to cooking methods in general since you brought sous vide into the discussion.

Anyhow thanks again for sharing the recipe
Michael B. July 16, 2016
Great recipe but I tend to disagree with the boiling of the ribs. It pulls out too much of flavor IMHO. H2O is a solvent after all. Taste the water you boiled the ribs in when done. That's where the flavor has gone!
Carolyn K. January 30, 2023
Ribs are LOW simmered, not boiled.
Donna H. July 3, 2016
Boiling ribs is a travesty. Yuck. Sauce looks good though
Kelly July 4, 2016
Ah,no! Not a travesty at all :) by boiling the meat first it helps tenderize the meat very nicely. Try it for once and you will see!
Donna H. July 4, 2016
I have tried it, been cooking for a few years now. I find that boiling the meat takes away a lot of the flavour. Just my opinion though :)
thirschfeld July 4, 2016
Just a note of common decency, when you start a sentence like you have above it is always good to start with "In my opinion", it sets your comment apart, that you want to have a conversation. Instead you come across a know it all. There are all kinds of ways to cook. Some I don't agree with, others I do, sometimes I try something new that I think shouldn't work and I get a nice surprise because it does.
Donna H. July 4, 2016
wow, common decency? that's harsh. Noted though. Thank you for correcting me
Carolyn K. January 30, 2023
They are NOT boiled. Read recipe!
lynx60489 June 13, 2016
I'm looking to double this recipe. Should I double the ingredients in the brine, or can I just add more water? 2 cups tamari sounds really salty.
thirschfeld June 14, 2016
There is enough brine for two racks. Don't bother to double it.
Lilismom January 18, 2023
Can you put on half of the rack on top of the other? My pots can’t accomplish the two side by side. Sounds like a great recipe.
thirschfeld January 21, 2023
Yes, you can put them on top of each other. You may want rotate them occasionally moving the top rack to the bottom
Lilismom January 21, 2023
Thank you for responding. I adore your recipes and will cook this tomorrow.