[AS FEATURED ON THE STRAITS TIMES ST FOOD COLUMN] Sticky Chinese Honey Pork Ribs (蜜汁排骨): This may well be the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs you have ever tasted. The secret lies in first braising the pork ribs for over an hour to tenderise the meat, and then grilling it at high heat briefly to achieve that sticky shiny glaze and smoky aroma!
UPDATE: This recipe has recently been featured in The Sunday Times ST FOOD section. You can find a write-up about me, and this recipe over here!
Most sticky honey pork rib recipes I have come across either call for braising the pork ribs for a few hours, or for marinating it and grilling or barbecuing it. I have tried both methods before, but in my experience, the braised honey pork ribs, while tasty, ended up looking rather pale and unappetising, whereas the grilled or barbecued honey pork ribs had a lovely charred colour but the meat was too dry.
After many rounds of experimentation and modifications, I finally ended up creating my own “hybrid” version to get the best of both worlds. The tenderness of the pork ribs come from braising it for about an hour to retain the moisture in the meat during cooking. The sticky shiny glaze and slightly charred flavour and aroma come from brushing the braised pork ribs with maltose and briefly grilling it at high heat. The result is the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone-tender and tasty pork ribs you can get!
I remember preparing this Chinese honey pork ribs for my former colleague’s ROM BBQ party at the NTUC chalet years ago. It took me almost the whole day to prepare about 20 kilo of pork ribs to feed about 100 people. But it was all worth it when I saw everyone queueing up for the pork ribs even though there are many other food being served, and everyone loved it. But don’t take me at my word, go and try out the recipe and you will find out for yourself!
This may well be the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs you have ever tasted. The secret lies in first braising the pork ribs for over an hour to tenderise the meat, and then grilling it at high heat briefly to achieve that sticky shiny glaze and smoky aroma!
- 800 grams Pork Ribs Whole rack (uncut)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 3/4 tbsp Thick Dark Sauce
- 2 tsp Light Soya Sauce
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 3-4 cloves Garlic For 2 tbsp of chopped garlic
- 6-7 tsp Sugar
- A dash Pepper
- 1.2 litres Water Or just enough to cover the pork ribs
- 1-2 tbsp Maltose For glazing the pork ribs
- 3 tsp Toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 Chilli
- 1 sprig Parsley or Spring Onion
- Wash the pork and blanch it with boiling water to remove the smell.
Chop the garlic finely and set aside
Wash the spring onions / parsley and chilli.
Slice the chilli finely and set aside. Then slice the spring onions.
- Put all the ingredients into the wok and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Put the whole piece of pork rib into the wok making sure the water is enough to cover the pork ribs.
When the water is boiling, lower the heat. Then, allow the pork rib to simmer for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until the meat is soft but not disintegrated or until the gravy becomes sticky.
Remove the pork ribs and place on a rack. Set the gravy aside for later use.
Glaze it with maltose and grilled in the oven at 220 degrees celsius for 5-10 mins with top fire only until it is slightly charred.
When ready, cut the pork rib rack into individual ribs. Garnish with sesame seeds, spring onion/parsley, and chilli, and serve with rice and the sticky gravy.
- The pork rib must have some fats in between otherwise it will be too dry when cooked. You can ask your butcher for a more fatty cut.
- If the water has dried up before the 1h 15 min mark, you can also add a little boiling water to the pot. But don't add too much as the end goal is for the sauce to become thick and sticky at the end of the simmering time.
- In the final stages of braising the pork ribs when the sauce is becoming more sticky and viscous, ensure you keep a close watch on the dish as its easy for it to get burnt. Once the sauce has turned sticky, switch off the fire immediately
- To check if the pork ribs are done, insert a chopstick through the meat. If the chopstick glides in easily to reach the other side, the pork ribs are done.
- Likewise, when grilling the ribs, do not walk away because the ribs can get burnt and become bitter as the sugar in the maltose gets burnt very quickly.
- Garnishes like fresh spring onions and parsley can wilt very fast, so its best to store it in the fridge after washing and chopping. If the parsley looks wilted, you can easily revive it by placing it in a bowl of ice water until ready for use.
Hope you enjoy this recipe, and please leave me a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for me!
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: Skip the chilli
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: Ensure the condiments used are gluten free versions.
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: No modifications needed.