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spicy and sweet…yin and yang

asian baby back

Today I’m driving up to Flagstaff to deliver Connor back to NAU to finish his freshman year. I can not begin to believe it is already half over! So last night, the four of us had what will be our last family dinner all together for quite a few months. Dave had been craving ribs and since we haven’t had anything but traditional “American” or southwest foods recently, regular old barbecue was out of the question, Asian flavors fit the bill.

An couple ingredients you may or may not be familiar with are Chinese five-spice powder and Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Chinese five-spice is a mixture of ground spices (cassia cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Szechwan peppercorns, and either ginger or fennel) that combine the five primary flavors of Chinese cuisine: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy (or pungent). This follows along with the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. Works perfectly with my philosophy in food too; that it tastes great!

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (also known as “Rooster Sauce”) is a must have for your pantry and is one of your best friends in the kitchen. There is really no need for me to wax poetic about it’s attributes and qualities, since there is a fabulous article in this month’s issue of Bon Appétit, which will inform you more than you may ever need to know about “Rooster Sauce”. Click this LINK to read the article and see a bottle, so you know what to look for at the grocery store.

Plus this recipe works into our “easy-breezy” category, just be sure to plan ahead, 12 to 24 hours ahead, to allow the ribs to marinate and soak up all the great Asian flavors.

Asian-Style Baby Back Ribs

3 to 4 pound rack baby back pork ribs
1/2  cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon chili sauce (preferably, Sriracha)
1/2-inch piece peeled ginger root, mashed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 handful fresh cilantro stems and leaves
1 whole star anise

Place all of the ingredients, except for the ribs, in a gallon-size zip-lock bag, seal the bag and mix well, by “massaging” the ingredients together through the bag.

Cut the rack of ribs into individual ribs and add the ribs to the bag, reseal and lay flat the bag on a baking sheet, (just in case it springs a leak!) place baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and marinate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag over, every 6 to 8 hours, or so,

Remove ribs from refrigerator about an hour before grilling. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.  Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap or foil, pull the ribs from the marinate and lay on the baking sheet.

grill ready

Place the ribs on grill racks with at least a couple inches space between each rib. (Discard the plastic wrap or foil, now you have a clean baking sheet to lay the finished ribs on, without fear of cross-contamination). Grill the ribs for about 10 to 12 minutes on one side and then turn over and grill another 10 minutes or until the ribs are lightly charred, caramelized, and cooked through.

Serves 4


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2 comments

1 Ruth { 08.22.14 at 8:43 AM }

Had to wade through my recipe folder to find the name of this recipe…..these are delicious and were a hit with the whole family….totally Brilliant 😉

2 Ruth { 08.22.14 at 8:45 AM }

By the way I made these first in 2010…an oldie but goodie!

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