Earlier this summer, my buddy Al and I spent an entire day preparing and smoking 12 racks of ribs for a cottage feast. It literally took us all day, but we were okay with that. We sat back, enjoyed a few beers, talked hockey and music, and kept an eye on our beautiful baby back ribs, as they slowly smoked away. Being able to dedicate the whole day to that project was nice, but you don’t always have that luxury. Sometimes you just want ribs on a weeknight. And if you’re like me, you may not be able to have a barbecue on your balcony, thanks to some silly city bylaws.
So how can you can you prepare ribs that are full of flavour and fall off the bone in just over an hour, without them completely drying out? Well folks, I hope you like Asian flavours, becuase this recipe will knock your socks off. My buddy Brad first introduced this recipe to me a few years ago, and it has quickly become one of my favourites. Like many of my recipes, it ranks very high on the easy to make / delicious scale. How can you go wrong?
Asian Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp canola oil
For the sauce
High quality soy sauce (Kikkoman or Amoy)
Liquor (something sweet, like rum – I use mamajuana)
Green onions, thinly sliced
You may notice that most of the ingredients above have no measurements beside them. Start with your ribs – go buy however many you want to make. Before you start, know how many pounds of ribs you have. This will help you calculate how much you need of the other ingredients.
Here’s the math you need to do: for every 1 pound of ribs, you will need 5 tbsp water, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp liquor. So if you have 3 pounds of ribs, you’ll need 15 tbsp water, 12 tbsp soy sauce, 9 tbsp sugar, 6 tbsp vinegar and 3 tbsp liquor. Got it? Good. Make sure your measurements are as precise as possible!
In a large, deep stock pot, heat the oil. Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Cut the racks of ribs into in singles, and add them into the pot. Continue to cook, browning all sides of the ribs, about 10 minutes or so.
In a small bowl, combine all of your sauce ingredients. Once the ribs are done browning, pour the suace over the ribs, stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Once they have reached a boil, turn down to medium heat and replace the lid – place a wooden spoon or chopstick under the lid to let some of the steam out.
Keep an eye on your pot for the first few minutes. If the sauce gets too hot and starts to boil over, turn your heat down a bit. You want it to have a constant, low boil. Stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure that all of your ribs are getting the saucy goodness on them. The sauce will slowly boil down, and thicken up into a sticky sauce. This will take between 50-60 minutes – but I’ve had it take as long as 75 minutes. Keep an eye on the ribs, especially near the end as the thickening process can happen quite quickly – you don’t want them to burn.
Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. How easy was that? Now try one. Delicious, right? That’s how you make damn good ribs on a weeknight. Enjoy!