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Using just 5 ingredient keeps this recipe for Easy Oven-baked Asian Baby Back Ribs, super simple AND super delicious – no grill needed.
Heat oven to 300°F.Set the rack of ribs onto a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (large enough to fully wrap the ribs for baking), meaty side down. Use 1 teaspoon and spread the chili garlic sauce on the back side of the ribs, then spread 1 tablespoon of the black bean garlic sauce over all the meat. Mix the ginger and garlic together, and take 1/3 of the mixture and spread over the backside of the meat. Flip the meat over, and cover the meaty side, in the same order with the remaining ingredients. Bring the foil together over the meat and roll to close, then roll and close the sides to fully enclose the meat. Place the packet on a cookie sheet and then cook in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set the oven to broil. Place the rack to 5 inches from the flame. Open the foil fully, then brush the hoisin sauce over the top of the meat, stick under the broiler for abut 2 - 3 minutes, or until the sauce begins to brown. Remove the ribs from the broiler and set onto a cutting board. Cut into servings sizes and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.
It’s raining outside, and I have this beautiful rack of baby back ribs in the freezer making me think of summer BBQ’s – longing for some Bestest Most Tenderest Ribs Ever. But since I don’t like barbecuing in the rain, we decided to make the ribs totally in the oven. After discussing the idea of baked ribs, BB and I decided that we would save the BBQ flavors for the summer, and come up with another idea.
Armed with the task of finding a new different rib recipe, we headed to Google and hit search – oven baked ribs. Of course, most search results were for ribs that are started in the oven to get tender, just like my recipe starts, and then finishes them on the grill, just like what I’m trying to avoid. And, of course, most of them are for good old BBQ sauce.
‘Here’s an Asian style one’ says BB. ‘It uses hoisin, pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar…’
Not loving the pineapple juice, but do love the Asian.
Continue with the search.
‘Here’s another one’ says BB. ‘It uses hoisin, pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar – hey wait a minute. It’s the same as the other one!’
Welcome to my world.
And so it began.
Since I knew what flavors I didn’t want, my first questions were, what flavors did I want? What makes food Asian to me? So to the pantry I went and pulled all I had that said Asian. 5-Spice blend. Hoisin. Black Bean Sauce. Chili Garlic Sauce. Ginger powder. Fresh ginger. Garlic powder. Fresh garlic.
The first thing I put back was the 5-Spice blend. While I love 5-Spice, it does have a very strong flavor and can be overpowering to other flavors. I didn’t want 5-Spice ribs, so back into the cupboard it went.
Second items to go were the ginger and garlic powder. I had fresh, fresh would be better, so no need for jarred. Back you go.
So now I’m left with 5 ingredients, and a rack of ribs. Ready-set-go.
The first order of business is to prepare the ribs. Pork ribs are sold in “racks” or slabs. As you look at the back side of the ribs, you will find a thick silver-skin membrane runs down it. This needs to be removed for the most tender ribs. To remove the membrane, slide a dull knife, like a dinner knife, in between the skin and the meat about in the middle, working the membrane loose. Then grab with your fingers (sometimes I find using a paper towel helps me get a good grip) then gently remove the membrane to both sides. It should come off fairly easily.
Place the rack of ribs onto some heavy duty aluminum foil, cut large enough to not only fold over but seal the ribs inside once they are seasoned.
I use heavy duty aluminum foil as it’s not only larger in size than regular foil, but is doubly strong and won’t tear as easily. You need to have no tears to keep the juices inside. Torn foil will leak. Leaks are not good. Some people and some recipes will tell you to use double the regular aluminum foil, but I still find that it tears easily. So heavy duty aluminum foil.
While contemplating my seasonings, I thought if it was really necessary to mix them all together. And I decided it was not. It was much easier to just spoon them on. And then use the spoon to spread them around as needed.
I wanted to season both sides of the ribs, obviously with the meaty side getting the most attention. Starting with the chili garlic sauce, I spooned some on the back ribs and spread it around, then the same with the black bean sauce. Taking about 1/3 of the minced ginger and garlic, rubbed that all over, then flipped the meat and repeated with the remaining ingredients being generously applied to the meaty side, making sure to fully cover all the meat. Once done, I closed the foil by taking each side and closing it to the middle, roll it tight to the meat, then each side is rolled to make an airtight package. Meat side up, and into the preheated 300º oven. Close the door and walk away for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
For this recipe, I used only one rack, as there is just the two of us, so when cooking more, increase all the amounts. And also if your rack is bigger then my rack. You want to make sure the meat is well seasoned.
Hoisin is considered Chinese BBQ sauce. Basically, sugar, soybean paste, along with a few spices, including garlic and ginger, to make a thick slightly sweet paste, it’s was the perfect sweet counterbalance to the spicy mix already on the ribs.
Once the ribs had cooked for 2 1/2 hours, I opened the foil, spooned on the hoisin sauce and then placed the meat under the broiler for about 3 minutes to “finish” barbecuing.
Tender, fall off the bone, hot, sweet, tangy ribs. Perfect for a rainy night. Or any night.
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