Oven-Barbecued Spareribs

This recipe proves that pork spareribs don’t necessarily have to be cooked on a grill over a wood or charcoal fire—a good thing to know when the weather bureau is predicting torrential rain and you’ve promised guests barbecued ribs. Alas, the ribs won’t have that inimitable smoky flavor of the grill, but this complex sauce almost makes up for the loss. Some cooks defat the ribs (and reduce the baking time) by parboiling instead of roasting them, a procedure that, in my opinion, robs them of much of their flavor and defeats the whole purpose of barbecued ribs.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 pounds meaty pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons minced orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Sprinkle salt lightly over the spareribs, place them on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the pan, and bake the ribs 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a stainless-steel or enameled saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients plus salt to taste, bring to a boil over moderate heat, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Increase the oven heat to 400°F. Brush the ribs with some of the sauce and continue baking till tender, about 45 minutes, turning the ribs about every 15 minutes and brushing with the sauce.

To serve, pile the ribs on a large platter and serve hot.