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.
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.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.