Chinese barbecued sticky pork ribs

Rib-sticking sticky pork ribs.
Rib-sticking sticky pork ribs. Photo: William Meppem

I use American-style baby back ribs rather than spare ribs for this recipe because they are large, excellent for barbecuing, grilling or roasting, and great for wrapping your jaws around. Feel free to apply this marinade and cooking method to lamb ribs or chicken thigh fillets. The freshly sliced cucumber and citrus provides crunch and cool relief to the hot, sticky ribs.


700g free-range pork ribs (American-style), ribs separated

2 tbsp vegetable oil, for brushing

1 small cucumber, cut into wedges

2 limes, halved


3 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp red wine

2 tbsp malt vinegar

2 tbsp Kylie Kwong's chilli sauce (see recipe)

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp sesame oil

5cm x 3cm knob (25g) ginger, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

½ tsp Sichuan pepper and salt

Sticky sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tsp malt vinegar


1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the ribs and, using your hands, massage the marinade thoroughly into the ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Heat a barbecue or char-grill pan to a moderate heat and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Place ribs on grill, or in pan, reserving marinade, and cook for five minutes.

3. After five minutes, baste the ribs with a little of the reserved marinade, turn over, cover with the barbecue hood or a lid and cook the other side for three minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the sticky sauce by placing the remaining marinade in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add soy sauce, sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for three minutes or until reduced by half and sticky.

5. Arrange ribs on a serving platter and spoon over the sauce. Serve with fresh cucumber and lime halves for squeezing over.

These ribs make a great midweek meal when paired with stir-fried mushrooms or steamed greens and rice.