Glazed Spareribs

These Glazed Spareribs are so delicious!  They remind me of the ribs we’d get as an appetizer in Chinatown when I grew up in Toronto.  I’d love it if the server would set the dish down in front of me…I’d get first pick of these meaty, sticky ribs!!

My mom used to make “sticky bones”…baby back ribs that were individually cut, boiled so that all the fat was gone and they were so tender, and then drenched in a sauce that got sticky as it bubbled away on the cooktop.  It was one of my most memorable meals…the whole family loved it, we were a sticky mess, and we were so happy!!!

With this recipe from the late Barbara Tropp (THE master of Chinese cooking), we are more grown up.  We’re still boiling the ribs until the fat is rendered out and they are very, very tender.  But then we’re glazing them in a lovely sauce that is rich and a little sticky and finishing them off in the oven.  That crisps them and seals the sauce on the bones!

Begin by cutting your slab of ribs into 4 even portions.  Put them in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring that pot of water to a boil (this can take about 15 minutes since you are starting with cold water).  Skim the surface of all the fat scum as the ribs boil.  Once the scum is off, add the rice wine, Szechwan peppercorns and ginger and let this simmer for an hour or so, until a knife easily pierces the meat.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  The sauce is a combination of wonderful ingredients such as hoisin sauce, rice wine, maltose, brown sugar, Chinese chili sauce, garlic and fresh ginger. 

I recently started utilizing maltose in various recipes.  It’s used a lot in Asian cooking as a sweetener.  It’s made from barley and is the ingredient that gives the shine to the meat.  You could always substitute honey, but it won’t have quite the same look to it.

Maltose is a very viscous.  It is easier to use if you pop it into the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up.  Just be careful not to get any on your skin as it can burn (think of hot caramel).  

I highly recommend buying some if you plan on doing a lot of Chinese/Asian cooking.  I’ve used it in my Char Siu recipe.  Amazon or your local Asian market are great places to pick some up.

Once the ribs are tender, transfer them to a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush the glaze over them.  Bake them for 15 minutes and then cut between the bones so that you have individual ribs.  Brush more sauce over them and bake a little while longer.

Serve them along with lots of napkins!!

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Lastly, if you make Glazed Spareribs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Glazed Spareribs

Makes: 4-5 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 1 hour & 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour & 45 minutes


  • 1 large rack of fresh pork spareribs (2 – 2 1/2 pounds)


  • 1 cup Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp Szechwan peppercorns
  • 4 quarter-size coins ginger


  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp maltose or honey
  • 2 tbsp green and white scallion rings, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese chili sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger


Trim off any fat from the rack and cut it into 4 even pieces. Put the ribs in a large wok or heavy pot. (If you don’t have a big enough pot, divide them between two pots.) Add cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming the scum from the surface. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and add the seasonings. (For two pots, divide the seasonings between them.) Cover partially and cook until a knife easily pierces the thickest part of the meat, 1 hour or longer.

While the ribs simmer, make the sauce. Combine the sauce ingredients in a non-corrosive saucepan and bring to a slow simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the maltose. Let cool to room temperature.

When the ribs are tender, transfer them to a parchment-lined sheet pan curved sides up and in a single layer. Strain and refrigerate the stock, if you wish, for another use.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the ribs with a thick coating of the sauce and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan midway. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. (At this point, the ribs can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.)

Cut the ribs in between the bones and brush with the remaining glaze. Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through. Mound on a platter and garnish with scallion rings.

Recipe from Barbara Tropp


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