Asian Lime Ribs

Pork and Asian flavors meld together like a song.  The ginger and lime used to make this dish create a refreshingly unique flavor that makes these ASIAN LIME RIBS seem like an extravagant splurge.  You'll never go back to barbecue sauce ribs again.  You simply won't!

Before we get started, let's have a little chat.  We'll call it RIBS 101.

When it comes to making ribs, there are some folks who live and die by their technique.  It is an art form.  A way of life.

For me, I don't have all day to stand by a smoker with that sort of attention and detail.  So oven-roasting is another great option.

One of the biggest questions when it comes to buying ribs has to do with what kind to buy.  Baby Backs or Spare?  Let me answer that for you, SPARE!  SPARE!  SPARE!  SPARE!  SPARE!  SPARE!  Did you get that?  SPARE!  S-P-A-R-E.  Yes, like in bowling. SPARE!

Why you may ask?  Well, somewhere I think TV advertising has tried to convince us that Baby Backs are the way to go.  I don't necessarily agree. 

Let's talk pig anatomy.  I mean, I am the Noble Pig I should know right?  Just kidding, but really go ahead and imagine the side of a pig or scroll up and look at my pig on the top header. 

Draw an imaginary line dividing the top half of the pig from the bottom.  From the top is where the tenderloin cuts are taken.  This part of the animal is not exercised leading to less flavored meat.  This is where Baby Backs come from and are really just an extension of the pork chop.  They also have zilch to do with a baby piglet as many people think.  They are not really a rib either.

As far as the lower half of the pig goes, this is where the Spare ribs are located.  The spares protect the breathing parts of the animal and this area is constantly exercised, making the surrounding meat flavorful.  Bacon comes from this area, need I say more.

Overall, for the most flavor, BUY SPARERIBS!

Often people are intimidated by ribs because once they get the giant slab of meat home, they are at a loss how to prepare it. 

So before we get started with the recipe I want to show you how to prepare the meat.  Often the butcher can do this for you but if you buy ribs from Costco or a grocery store that does not have a butcher available you will need to follow these steps.  It's easy, you can do it.

First, there will be a flap (skirt) on the sinew side of the ribs.

This should be removed.  It can be cooked along with the rest of the ribs if you choose.

Next, cut off the breast plate and the flexible feather bones that make up the rounded part of the ribs. 

This can also be prepared alongside the rest of the ribs.  The breast plate CAN be left on but removing it makes the ribs look more like RIBS in the traditional sense.  When the breast plate is removed, the ribs are referred to as St. Louis style.  Isn't that authentic?  You want to be authentic don't you?

All ribs have what's called a sinewy membrane that does NOT melt away during the cooking process.  You must remove it.

Start with a knife at one end of the ribs until you loosen the membrane and create a plane across the tissue in order to start pulling.  Continue pulling it away across the whole piece of meat.  Use a paper towel if it is too slippery for you.

Now remove any excess fat from all over the meat.

After removing the excess fat take a fork and poke between the bones for extra flavor, this is a technique known as "docking".

Now your meat is ready to go!  Let's prepare the rub.

Here is what you will need to make the rub.  Black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, kosher salt and ground cloves.  That's it!

In a small bowl, add 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon2 Tablespoons kosher salt, 2 Tablespoons black pepper,      1 Tablespoon ground cloves and 1 Tablespoon ground coriander.

Mix it up and it will be this beautiful reddish-brown color.

Now massage the rub into the meat, completely covering all sides.  Do this about one hour before roasting.  Any longer is unnecessary.  The flavors will penetrate enough during this time and continue to do so during the cooking process.

Line pan(s) with aluminum foil (otherwise you will be cleaning them for hours) and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Place meat on top.  The smaller pieces are the breast plate that was cut off during the trimming of the meat.

Completely cover the pans tightly with aluminum foil and roast in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours.  When finished, the meat will fall off the bone.  You'll see.

While the meat is cooking let's make the glaze and dipping sauce.  It's so good, you'll want to put it on EVERYTHING (except dessert of course).

Here's what you need to make the best rib dipping sauce and glaze you will ever find.  It's fabulous, sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time.  Fresh ginger, fresh garlic, rice vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, ketchup, cilantro, fresh lime juice, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, dark sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes.

This is a stick up. 

Cut off a piece of the ginger and slice or peel off the skin.

Coarsely chop the ginger adding 2 Tablespoons of ginger to a bowl.

Peel your garlic, you will need about 5-6 cloves, and place them into your garlic press.

Press the garlic until you have about 2 Tablespoons garlic to add to the ginger.

Now for the squeeze.  If your limes are as dry as mine, you might need to ruff up (squeeze really hard) the limes to get the amount of lime juice you need.  Add 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice to the bowl.

Chop the cilantro as finely as you can.  Do your best.  If you can't do your best, whatever!

Add a 1/2 cup cilantro to the bowl.

3/4 cup rice vinegar is also added to the bowl.  Do NOT use seasoned rice vinegar, just the regular bottle will do..

To the mixture also add 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil and my all-time favorite...Hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup

If you've never used hoisin before, this is what gives this sauce it's special flavor.  Hoisin is a sweet and spicy sauce made from soybeans, garlic and chile pepper.  Go ahead, scoop some hoisin out with a spoon and try it.  You'll see what I'm talking about.

Also, for some extra spice, add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.  This really kicks it up.  Add more if you love super-spicy food.

Just mix up all the ingredients and your done!  No cooking required.  Perfect, isn't it?  Except for the glaring light reflecting back from the sauce.  I'll get my sunglasses.

Time to take the meat out of the oven.

Oooooh look at that!  It's puhr-fect wouldn't you say?

Now take some of your glazing/dipping sauce and paint your ribs well.  Look at that...!

What you are going to do now is char the ribs on the grill.  They are already completely cooked so 15 minutes is all it's going to take.

But to do this you must first spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray.  Make sure the flame is off.  This sauce has sugar in it so the ribs will stick as they start to caramelize if you forget to spray. 

Never spray a grill while it's on, your eyebrows will not appreciate it.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Place the already cooked meat on the grill.  As a little black char begins to develop flip them and brush again with the sauce.

Repeat this process at least twice so the ribs become well glazed and nicely charred.  Again, this will take about 15 minutes.

Allow the ribs to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing them.  You just can't imagine the taste.  They are tender and tangy and really unbelievable.

Then take your ribs and serve with the extra dipping sauce.  There are no words for this. 

Give each one of your guests a few ribs and some dipping sauce and they will worship the ground you walk on.  They will.  It's that good.

This is all you will be left with.  Piles of them!

Asian Lime Ribs

For Rib Rub-
Combine ; Rub on Two Racks of Spareribs:
2 T. ground cinnamon
2 T. kosher salt
2 T. black pepper
1 T. ground cloves
1 T. ground coriander

For The Asian-Lime Sauce-
Stir Together:
3 T. ginger, coarsely chopped
2 T. garlic, pressed
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup hoisin
2 T. dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepare two racks of spareribs as shown.  (This included trimming the meat.)

Combine ingredients for rub and apply to ribs.  Cover and let sit for one hour.  Roast the ribs at 250 degrees for 2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.

Stir together ingredients for sauce.  Brush on roasted racks of ribs before grilling.

Grill over medium-high heat a total of 15 minutes.  Serve ribs with Asian-Lime Sauce.

You will love these ribs, I know I do.  I served them with a side of thinly sliced Cucumbers with a Mint Vinaigrette which cooled the mouth between every bite.  It was divine.

Post a Comment


  1. Stephanie 1

    I think I might have to try this one. My husband might not want me to “Asianize” his precious ribs (born & bred Texan, he is) but the wonderful thought of the glaze with all that ginger and hoisin, yum. Totally agree with you on the hoisin. I put it on any meat that sits still, ramen noodles, rice.

  2. annbb 2

    Must be in the air…I just had a request to make ribs for our Sunday Family dinner tomorrow.
    And I would have bought baby backs, but now based on what you’ve written, I’m going to Costco and buying SPARE ribs!
    Thank you for the enlightenment, NP!
    I’ll let you know what everyone thinks.

  3. What a great post! I love ribs!

  4. Vonda 4

    OK Cathy the farmer would kiss your feet if you were here. He loves different rib recipes…I will show him. I bet we have ribs tonight.

  5. Alisa 5

    “This is a stick up” I am still laughing…
    Can’t wait to try these! I never shared with you (because I guess I’m greedy like that), but I prepared your Easter dinner and dessert and um…my family is STILL talking about it. Still. Even The Kids loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. grace 6

    there’s just something about a sinewy membrane that gets my stomach a-grumblin’. :)

  7. Stacy 7

    This looks so good–so many layers of flavor! I’ve never made ribs myself but I love eating them. Great post and instructions.

  8. These look so good! I will try them and let you how it goes…


  9. And the pictures are great. I never would have understood what you were talking about when preparing the ribs without the pictures to help out….

    (I’m not the best cook in the world neighborhood house.

  10. That comment up there didn’t work with the html like I hoped. Oops.

    I’ll stop comment stalking now….


  11. Liz C. 11

    You’re right… this is too funny! However, your’s are no doubt better than mine. I was just trying to do a quickie dinner, lol. I’ll send my readers over here for the long version. My hubby likes anything Asian-ized, so I’ll give your’s a whirl next time.

  12. ALF 12

    My husband’s goal is to make the best smoked ribs in the world. He loves his meat smoker.

  13. Kevin 13

    Those ribs look so amazing!! They sound really tasty. And there is a dipping sauce!

  14. Jessica 14

    Your Ribs 101 was so helpful – my hubby and I are the typical pair that love ribs but are just intimidated with the prep. I’ll be trying your tips this summer – this could be the start of a beautiful thing in our house! :)

  15. OH I am lovin’ this rib recipe!!! Lip smackin’ good…
    I made ribs earlier this week… I have the ‘super lazy girl’ method…
    Pour 1 cup bbq sauce into bottom of crock pot, put in ribs; cover with sliced onion, then remainder of bbq sauce from container… let slow cook 8 hours…on low..
    Ta da! Then with baked potato, and artichokes… tasty dinner…

  16. kate 16

    you should have your own cooking show. and cook book. and restaurant. and planet. yep. that good.

  17. Chuck 17

    I could sure go for a huge plate of those delicious looking ribs. My mouth is watering! Yummy!

  18. Elle 18

    oh wow, those look amazing! I’m bookmarking these to try. And soon!

  19. You have got to be the only person that can make me laugh through a recipe– “This is a stick up”?!
    And, I have been cooking for a long time and you just told me things I never knew about ribs. Thanks for the fun, informative and tasty post today!

  20. eliza 20

    they look very very good! and providing step-by-step photos help too. thanks!

  21. Deb 21

    Good gosh those ribs look fantastic! We love ribs on the grill and I am going to try out your rub. Great post! Looks like a cooking video in slow motion!

  22. Deborah 22

    These look so amazing! My husband is usually the one that grills in our house, but I may just have to sneak and make these!

  23. i think i have a weekend project. i love spare ribs beyond all reason, and i know my husband is just a-hankerin’ to bust out the smoker for the first time this season. a-hankerin’, i tells ya.


  24. Fantastic! Thanks for the play-by-play as well as the background on the piggy parts.

  25. Miles 25

    Wow. Before I stumbled across this post I was still full from breakfast. Now that I am done reading it, I am absolutely starving for a heaping plate of ribs. They are my absolute favorite way to eat red meat by far. I wish I had the ingredients time to make these. I will definitely remember this recipe the next time I cook SPARE ribs.

  26. Chelsea 26

    Cathy, I came across your blog last week and these looked so good I had to try ribs even though I’ve never cooked them before. I just used a rub and a BBQ sauce and followed your technique and they turned out pretty good for my first shot. I’m not sure what I’ll tweak to make them more tender next time but I’ll keep trying and certainly try your recipe. Thanks for the inspiration and good directions!

  27. Byron 27

    I bookmarked this a few weeks ago and finally made it today. I think the rub was too strong. If I make it again, I would wipe some of the rub off before it goes to the grill. It certainly had a unique taste.
    I really didn’t experience the “falling off the bone.” In fact, I have only seen one method of cooking ribs that leave them juicy and literally falling from the bone and that involves boiling them in water first.
    All in all, I think it was pretty good and now with my experience I think I’ll be able to modify it slightly to my taste.


  28. HOLY COW that looks and sounds good. I see a good Rhone Syrah or GSM with this. Yuuuummmmmm…..

    Gonna have to try it now that it is finally BBQ-ing weather here on the East coast!!

  29. alexandra 29

    My husband and I made these ribs a couple of weeks ago and they turned out to be incredible. These ribs are no joke! We baked them in the oven and brought them to a barbecue. Everyone that was lucky enough to try them before they disappeared raved about them and the dipping sauce. We are making them again for mother’s day this weekend. Planning on saving some of the sauce to incorporate into different meals this coming week!

  30. Jessica 30

    We tried this recipe to the letter (our first time EVER preparing/BBQ’ing ribs) and IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. THanks for the tips and tricks, now that we know the general techniques (and have our confidence up) we are going to try some different variations the next time we grill!

  31. Stefani 31

    Ribs are one of my favorites. I wish I had someone who could make these for me! Looks Yummy!

  32. That looks soooo good. I have never made ribs before, but this sure makes me want to try.

  33. Evelyn 33

    Wow, You’re the best:)

  34. Therese 34

    This is a fabulous post, I can’t wait to try the recipe, and you’re quite funny, I really enjoyed the photos and commentary.


  35. robert ivory 35

    let me print the entry please, internet explorer frezes when I attempt to print.

  36. Cathy 36

    Hi Robert-

    I use Internet Explorer as well and it appears to be working fine on my end.  I’m not sure what you should try doing…do you have access to another computer?

    Thanks so much for your comment.

  37. Alan in CA 37

    I have made these many times. I perfected the prep work at home before making them for friends and family (especially in another kitchen). When my brother walked in when I started making the sauce, he asked “Is that for the ribs? It smells gross” That was at the beginning when I just put in the vinegar. I made him eat his words when he took that first bite into this wonderful recipe. I don’t make it all the time, but the next time I have guests over, his will surely be on the menu!

  38. CiCiM 38

    I agree. I didn’t have the ‘falling off the bone’ experience either. Too much rub as well. My husband was really looking forward to a bbq rib, but he still ate them up!
    I have a bunch of sauce leftover. Was thinking about doing something with it with chicken. Any suggestions?

  39. DMNYO 39

    my god man. im …. just my god.

  40. Bonnie 40

    I cooked it for 2 hours, tested it and then cooked it a little more. Still not falling off the bone. Not as good as baby backs in my opinion. The rub was tasty but I agree, a bit too strong if you truly pile it all on there. I would wipe some off. And the sauce did not really add anything for me. I ended up adding some BBQ sauce and then broiling them for 5 minutes.

  41. Mike 41

    Thanks a ton for the recipe, it’s the first thing I’ve ever really cooked and my family loved it!

  42. Krista 42

    We’ve made this recipe several times, one of my favorites to make when we entertain. Really wonderful flavors. We never see to have leftovers when we make this.

  43. Rosanne Glynn 43

    You are so funny! Love all the ingredients. Was cracking up at all your jokes!!! This recipe sounds excellent and how can you go wrong with garlic, lime, cilantro and ginger! Thanks for your sense of humor!! I am making these for Memorial day!

  44. melissa 44

    Honestly, this was WAY too much work for a less than spectacular end product. The ground cloves (which were very expensive) gave the ribs a weird taste. Would not use that again.


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