09 January 2011

Oven Roasted Ribs

Someone recently remarked that we must only eat desserts at our house, judging by my blog. It’s not really true that we only eat desserts. It’s just that they’re so pretty! Really, don’t you think so? They’re like the cheerleaders of the table, jumping up and shouting “me! me! look at me!” “take MY picture!” Ahem. Maybe they don’t really do that--maybe it’s just me.

In any case, the things we’ve been eating lately are delicious but some of them are really not too photogenic: roasted root vegetables, potato soup. Some of them you’ve already seen here: Tuscan soup, Notso Bucco, White Onion Soup. And some of them are just not very interesting.

But today all that ends. Today I have something wonderful, something delicious. For this we have Nigel Slater to thank--the inspiration came from his book “The Kitchen Diaries”. I guess its no secret that Nigel is one of my favorite people, kitchen-wise. Whenever I need a little inspiration, I turn to Nigel. He never fails me. And this recipe is no exception.

These hearty, meaty ribs are the kind that stick in your teeth, leaving you working the toothpick for a long time afterwards. We ate them in two meals. For the first one, I’d like to say that I made some of those roasted veggies or at least a salad, but I didn’t. We just tucked in to the ribs alone, hot from the oven. And they were enough. Enough to transport us. Seriously. They are amazing.

For the second meal I sliced the meat off the meager bones and made matchsticks of it. We ate it over sushi rice with some brussels sprouts and carrots and celery. AND that wonderful sauce drizzled over. There’s one rib left that I’m taking to work on Tuesday for lunch. With the rice. Oh yes.

The genius in this recipe is the sauce. I’ve made my share of barbecue sauces over the years, but this one surprised me. Not only by its ingredients, but also by its incredible flavor. I have to say that if anyone else had told me to put star anise and oyster sauce on ribs I probably would have moved on to another recipe. But this is Nigel, and he’s never let me down. He didn’t this time either!

Yes, you read that right: star anise and oyster sauce. Of course, I didn’t actually HAVE oyster sauce, so I used soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce instead. The flavors were incredible: complex, layered, irresistible. Dan said that his mouth felt alive after eating these ribs. Mine too.

Oven Roasted Ribs
Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries

6 Tablespoons thick honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 whole star anise
1.5 kilos / 3 pounds meaty pork ribs

  • Mix the honey, sauces, chili flakes and star anise in a bowl and pour over the ribs.
  • Marinate them in this sauce for at least an hour and preferably overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F
  • Cook ribs, turning them about every 15 minutes for 60-75 minutes. They should be tender but won’t be falling off the bone.
  • Try not to growl when eating them.

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don’t. 



  • Nigel used 3 Tablespoons of oyster sauce instead of the mixture that I used. I’m planning to buy some oyster sauce to try these with next time. I’ll let you know how it is.
  • Of course all of the measures are approximate. Adjust as you like.
  • The sauce is based on honey, which browns and thickens as it cooks. After it’s cooled, it becomes a plastic-like sludge in the pan. Don’t let it fool you--peel that stuff off and re-heat it. It’s amazing. Dip some crusty bread in it. Pour it over rice. Slather it over your fingers. Trust me on this.
  • One and a half kilos of pork ribs sounds like a lot--and it is. It was 8 of these meaty ribs. Two per person are a generous portion, unless you’re watching football. Then you’ll probably want more. 
  • When you're roasting the ribs, you don't want to crowd them in the roasting pan. If you do they'll braise instead of roasting. Give these guys space! 


Carol at Serendipity said...

So glad you stopped by! The ribs look wonderful. I am always hesitant about posting pictures of meat - don't know why.... The sauce sounds superb.


La Table De Nana said...

Looks finger licking good..I will save for the future..The sauce sounds perfect..I have this thing about fish sauce..but if I don't smell it first I am ok..I am sure it gets lost in this sweetness..:) I love sweet meat..I just prepared a post w/ sweet meat..and another w/ star anise:) I smiled at your post..Your ribs..are making my mouth water and your shot's great.My meat photos never look that good.

Stella said...

Ooh, star anise and oyster sauce sound very Vietnamese to me, Kate. On ribs, they also sound quite heavenly. Yum! Oh, and you did a great job of making a non-dessert item pretty;-)

Susan said...

Sooo good! Love the Asian take on the ribs ... we usually go with the southern BBQ take. This will be a welcome diversion!!!

Rich said...

Oh, and this: Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don’t.

And two if they really like it? Which I suspect would more likely be the case.

Barbara said...

I have that book, Kate, and after reading this, I better buckle down and read it, cover to cover!
As far as I'm concerned, those ribs are jumping up and down and begging to be made!

Medifast Coupons said...

These ribs look delicious, the addition of the rice wine vinegar would make the flavours burst. Nice work!

Sensible Lessons said...

Wow, these look amazing. I've been looking for a recipe for oven made ribs. Can't wait to try these!

Linda said...

Oh boy does this look good!
I love Nigel Slater...I adore his writing!
I will definitely try this fact I am craving it right now!

Hungry Dog said...

Star anise and oyster sauce, this guy must be Chinese?!These look amazing. I most definitely must give them a try.

ann said...

These look so great. I love ribs.

grace said...

would eating only desserts be so wrong? :)
awesome ribs, kate--the glaze on those bad boys is tremendous.

Kathy Walker said...

Kate, the Kitchen Gnome has been eyeing your ribs! He is going to make them today. They sound wonderful! Can hardly wait.....

Milin kuvar said...

Looks wonderful!

Mother Rimmy said...

My husband adores ribs. Can't wait to try this, he'll be a happy man!