I had been craving ribs for a while and just happened to hit a few stores that were having a sale on baby backs. In all, I ended up with two and a half impressive racks of ribs.
A few years ago I made my own five-spice blend for Chinese spareribs. But since I didn’t have all the ingredients this time, I bought a pre-made blend available at most supermarkets. The ingredients for the spareribs fell together from that: five-spice blend, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and possibly chili sauce. I cut the racks into individual ribs and separated them into five piles.
The first pile, I did what I normally like to do which is to wing it and mix the ingredients as to how I think they would go together. Next, I looked up about 10 different recipes online. I had the main ingredients right, but quite a few recipes also included sherry, brandy or sake and ketchup. Some also used red food coloring for the red common in that style of ribs. A couple of recipes added lemon.
For three of the remaining piles, I followed some recipes, exactly I will say, most of the recipes were similar with the differences being mainly in the amounts of the various ingredients. I marinated the ribs overnight. I cooked two of each recipe, before making the last batch. I adjusted the amounts of the ingredients I like to stand out more, which for me was an increase in the hoisin sauce and ginger. Also, I left out the chili sauce and this was my favorite recipe. My original batch was a close second. If you like heat, add a little chili sauce to the recipe. A tiny sprinkle of salt when eating them, will bring out more of the individual flavors. Enjoy.
4 T hoisin sauce
3 T soy sauce
½ t sesame oil
1 t five-spice blend
2 T honey
2 T ketchup
1 T rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T ginger, minced
Add all the ingredients together in a pot at medium-low heat until just warm and blended. The heat will melt the honey and blend the ingredients. Let the marinade cool before adding to the ribs. Marinate the ribs for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Cook using indirect heat on a grill or in the oven at 225 F degrees on a rack set over a sheet pan for 8 hours or until the ribs are tender and cooked through.