Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cha Siu Ribs

(Originally posted on 9/1/08) *Picture added 9/22/08
**This picture is chicken. Yeah, chicken. The ribs, like I said below, weren't that photogenic. Chicken thighs, though...good heavens. These pictures out to be outlawed! The sauce is awesome on just about anything - steamed-on-the-grill fish, ribs, chicken thighs, etc. I boiled these thighs, just like the ribs, but not as long - just until they were done. They were then marinated in the sauce for a little over an hour and cooked on a low, low grill. I basted them and flipped them every 5-10 minutes for about half an hour, or until the sauce is all used up. The skin on the chicken thighs was like BBQ caramel.

***If you MUST have these ribs, but don't have all the crazy Asian ingredients in your pantry - drop me a line. For a few bucks, I'm pretty sure I could figure out how to can this stuff and ship it across the country. ;-) Yeah, it's that good. Or maybe I'm just that prego. Either way - I'm just sayin'.

I've asked Lo Gung, and he said that these were still considered "authentic" Chinese food, even with the few modifications that I made. These were served tonight for our Labor Day BBQ, along with a MULTITUDE of side salads, chips, fruit, veggies, rice...and some yummy homemade ice cream for dessert. (Thanks, Megan!)

(This sauce was inspired by the Cha Siu sauce that Ma makes, plus a little touch of Southern flair, to make it better suited for a BBQ.)

Pork ribs (I used pork spare ribs)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (See how Southern I am?)
3 T. honey
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. Cha Siu sauce (a Chinese BBQ sauce, available in jars in Asian supermarkets)
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. dark soy sauce (sometimes this is called tamari. It's just soy sauce that's got extra color and tastes like molasses)
1 t. hot chili sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground (dried) ginger (it's all I had.)

Submerge the ribs in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and begins to pull back on the bone (you'll see more of the rib sticking out of the meat than was there when you began boiling). There will be plenty of grey gunk floating in your water, and lots of oil - that's fine. I had to boil my uncovered, so it didn't boil all over my stove.

While the ribs are boiling, mix together the rest of the ingredients, adjusting to taste.

When the ribs are tender, lift them (carefully!) out of the water and put them in a baking dish or a large ziploc bag. (You need something you can cover, and something large enough to hold the juice and sauce you're about to douse the ribs with.)

Spoon on your BBQ sauce and start rubbing! Massage the sauce (it will feel like a sugar scrub) into both sides of the meat. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator until an hour before dinner. (The meat ought to marinate at least an hour. I made mine in the morning and let it marinate all day.)

An hour before you want to serve it, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit. Half an hour before dinner, heat the grill to low and start grilling! Since your meat is already THOROUGHLY cooked, you just need to crisp up the sauce. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn! This should take about half an hour. Keep basting with the sauce from the pan, layering it on as the sauce caramelizes on the meat, and turning the meat to keep it from getting to crispy (read: black and nasty) on the corners.

This is delicious with rice and vegetables. Enjoy!

(Sorry there aren't any pictures - boiled ribs just aren't pretty, and the ribs didn't stick around on the table long enough for me to pose them for a beauty shot!)


  1. OK, so you just blew my "I put a chicken on the rotisserie and basted it every 45 minutes" mojo feelings. Sounds yummy!

  2. SOUNDS WONDERFUL! I have to find an Asian store near me! Thanks for the comment on Yummy Tuesday! I was so excited to see it!

  3. sounds delish! cant wait to make it!