One of my favorite guilty pleasures in this world are the Northern Style spare ribs from P.F. Chang’s. Lately I’ve been in the mood for some, but not enough to drive 30 minutes to pick some up. Well then I got to thinking, why not make my own? I managed to score a wonderfully fragrant Five Spice blend from Hadaya Spice (profile piece coming soon), who is the spice merchant at my local Green Market. From there, I began scouring the web for recipes that I could use as inspiration. I found a great recipe published by Food & Wine for what they called Dark & Stormy Ribs, which I knew would work well once I added my own spin. The result was beyond what I expected, dare I say even better than the original. Don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself and you be the judge.
1 rack of spare ribs; about 4 to 4 ½ pounds
1 ½ ounces of kosher salt; a little less than ¼ cup
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 ½ tablespoons Chinese Five Spice
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups Bundaberg ginger beer
1 cup dark rum
2 ½ of tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup of green onions; chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger; grated
2 garlic cloves; peeled and thinly sliced
The How To…
First make the spice rub. In a small mixing bowl, add salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, granulated sugar, and Five Spice. Drizzle rib rack on both sides with olive oil, cover it with a generous amount of the spice mixture, and proceed to rub it into the meat. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Let ribs marinate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the ginger beer, rum, brown sugar, soy sauce, grated ginger, green onions, and sliced garlic. Bring to a boil then add ribs and braising liquid to a roasting pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 hours, or until tender; turn the ribs halfway through cooking.
At this point, the ribs should be fork tender. Remove ribs from the pan and set aside. Strain braising liquid and add to a pot over high heat and reduce by half. This will be your sauce for the ribs.
Crank oven up to high broil. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board; cut the rack into smaller portions to make them easier to handle. Finish the ribs in the oven turning them a few times, until lightly charred on all sides, about 3 minutes. Plate up, drizzle the sauce over the ribs, and serve!