Succulent Barbecued Spareribs

I grew up with the smug conviction that our barbecued spareribs were always different. I didn’t know why they were better; perhaps it was their glistening, lacquered look or their juiciness or their aroma. When I ate barbecued spareribs outside my Chinese home, they were bland, insipid and tasteless. Later I learned why: the Chinese marinate their spareribs overnight and cook them slowly at a low temperature so that the flavours permeate the meat and make it mouth-watering.


  • 1.58 kg ( lb) pork spareribs
  • 3 tablespoons honey, for roasting

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • tablespoons chilli bean sauce or paste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce


Lay the spareribs on a baking sheet. Mix the marinade ingredients together and spread the mixture evenly on both sides of the spareribs. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 130°C (250°F, gas mark ½).

Place the spareribs with the marinade in a large roasting tin in one layer, coat with the honey and cook slowly in the oven for 2¼ hours, or until tender. Pour off any excess fat.

Turn the temperature to 230°C (450°F, gas mark 8) and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the ribs are browned. Serve at once.