5-Spice Honey Pork Ribs

It’s been about a year since I made this. I know! I’ve been sitting on this recipe for so long, keeping it on the back burner (teehee!)… not sure for what reason. I’ve always had a bit of a fear cooking ribs or steaks because those are pretty pricey cuts over here. And to mess them up would mean no dinner + burnt wallet.

I still very rarely cook steak or ribs but I think I’ve cracked the code for these beautiful spare ribs with the chops still attached (what’s this cut called?). Rib meat is quite tough as it’s mostly muscle. Which is why I love them! They have this lovely crunch but can be nice & tender if cooked right. Low & slow, I discovered, is key! If you want something super quick, then this is not the cut for you. Try my Leeky Pork Stew or Nam Yee Grilled Pork Chops for something snappy. If you want to make good ribs, you’ll need about 2.5 hours of down time for them to cook. That’s in addition to marination! Definitely a Saturday type meal. And a good one!

Clean and pat down a few good hunks of ribs! You can of course use baby back or just the ribs alone but I like the extra chops at the end for sharing ;-).
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The marinade is pretty Asian. Heh. Ginger, Garlic, 5-Spice, White Pepper, Honey & Dary Soy Sauce.
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The base…
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… & the liquids. I had actually intended to use light soy but accidentally grabbed the dark one. But boy was I glad I made that “mistake”! The dark soy wounded up giving the ribs a beautiful rich colour and a more caramelized flavour.
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I did this whole marination thing in the morning and left them in the fridge all day until about 4 hours before I wanted to serve. We were having a family gathering that day, hence all the meat! I imagine overnight marination would have been better but even with about 5 hours, it was superb!
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I learnt this cooking method from Jamie Oliver. To mimic an cover for pans that haven’t got one, wet a piece of wax paper or greaseproof paper in the sink, scrunch it up & loosely cover whatever you have on the baking dish. The air pockets allow spare for the food to steam seeing as there is plenty of moisture in the marinade as well as on the paper. Especially for a dish like ribs that require a lot of cooking time, this method works!
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What I didn’t capture was that once the meat was nicely tender (but still with a nice bite to it), I removed the paper and cranked up the heat to get a lot of browning.
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I could have garnished it with some herbs but why should I when this looks soooo magnificent already?
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If there was one thing I wish I did differently was that I should have made more than just 3.
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The honey in the marinade gave this such a beautiful gloss. 
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This was plenty to go around for a party of 10 as we had other side dishes. But hey, if you want to down a rib per serving, go ahead! This was equal parts smoky, sticky, sweet, savoury, spicy… just all around a carnivore’s dream.


 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” {Ephesians 5:2}

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5-Spice Honey Pork Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Fusion
Serves: 8-10
  • 3 Long Spare Ribs with Chops attached
  • 1 tbsp grated/finely minced Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic. finely minced
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice Powder
  • ½ tsp White Pepper
  • ¼ cup Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp runny light Honey
  • 1 tbsp Water (may need more if honey is too thick)
  1. Line a metal baking pan large enough to fit ribs with aluminium foil or parchment paper. Remember to come up all the sides with some overhang.
  2. Pat dry ribs & place in the pan.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the rest of the ingredients to form a marinade. If honey is too thick & marinade seems to be gloopy, add a teaspoon of warm water to loosen up.
  4. Pour marinade over ribs & rub them all over to ensure full coverage.
  5. Cover with cling/plastic film & store in the fridge to marinade for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Turn ribs over at least once during the marinading process. I let mine marinade for about 5 hours.
  6. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300F or 150C while removing pan of ribs from fridge to get some chill off.
  7. Wet a piece or parchment/greaseproof paper that's about 2 inches larger than the pan on all sides. Scrunch it up over running water, shaking off excess water & loosely cover the ribs.
  8. Roast for 2 hours covered, turning the ribs once every 30 minutes. Once the meat is fork tender or to your liking, carefully remove parchment paper. If there is too much juices in the pan, pour it out
  9. Crank up heat to 400F or 200C. Leave to brown for 30 minutes, turning them once ,midways. Feel free to brush on some watered down honey for additional glaze.
  10. The ribs are done when they are deep dark brown & glossy.
  11. Let them cool down for 20 minutes before ripping them apart with your fingers. 🙂

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