A few years ago, we mimicked the flavors of char siu in tofu. And while the sentiment of vegetarianism remains—we love ourselves a good vegetable (or meat-free alternative) recipe; this time, we're indulging our carnivorous selves. We still love char siu with a fiery passion, so we're using that flavor in this char siu ribs recipe.
This Serious Eats-inspired recipe takes 4 hours to make. But it's absolutely worth the wait to get juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone meat enveloped in a rich, thick sauce and a crispy exterior. This recipe uses a bark inspired by Texas-style barbecue so the fully-cooked ribs finish for over an hour in a low oven to get that crunchy outer layer.
- 2 full racks pork ribs
- five-spice powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
Char Siu Sauce
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1 ½ tbsp five-spice
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
Prepare for baking: Preheat oven to 300°F.
Prepare ribs: In a bowl or baking sheet, season pork ribs all over with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.
Wrap ribs: Take a large piece of foil and place it on a baking sheet. Place one rack of ribs at the center of the foil. Take another piece of foil—smaller than the first but bigger than the ribs—then place it over the ribs. Fold the edges up to wrap the ribs like a gift. Repeat with the other rack of ribs.
Bake ribs: Bake ribs in the preheated oven until almost tender, about 2 hours.
Make char siu sauce: Combine hoisin, honey, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, and five-spice powder in a bowl. Whisk until well combined, then set aside.
Make sesame bark: In a separate bowl, combine black and white sesame seeds, granulated garlic, onion powder, and salt. Whisk until well distributed, then set aside.
Glaze ribs: After 2 hours, take out the ribs from the oven. Remove ribs from the foil and transfer them to a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Spoon char siu sauce all over the ribs, making sure to glaze both sides. Arrange the coated ribs meat-side-up and add a final coat of sauce if desired. Sprinkle sesame seed mixture over the ribs until completely covered.
Bake and serve: Place ribs back in the oven and bake for 1 hour. The sesame seed mixture will bake into a crunchy crust. Remove ribs from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice ribs and serve with extra char siu sauce on the side.
The char siu sauce recipe makes enough glaze for 4 full racks of ribs. Use half of the yield to glaze your ribs. You can serve the rest as extra sauce.