While we were eating these ribs, my husband told me at least half a dozen times "these are really good ribs". A good sign, I thought. Because, although we have eaten ribs fairly regularly, I usually buy them pre-marinated. In fact it is usually a meal I make when I can't be bothered thinking about what to cook and / or arguing with the children about their table manners. (Has anyone else noticed how when you are eating with your hands, the arguments about table manners evaporate?) The downside of pre-marinated ribs, is that when the butcher puts them in a bag, you are left with only the remnants of marinade clinging to the ribs, which I don't think is enough for a moist tasty rib.
Honey soy is usually a winning combination for a marinade because of the simultaneous sweet and salty hits. When I found this recipe at Cookbook Recipes, I knew it would be a winner because the garlic and ginger add a bit of strength to the flavours, and star anise always adds an amazing background note. If you have never cooked with star anise, get some to throw into a marinade, or an asian hotpot - it is definitely worth trying. And cooking ribs is definitely a two step process - bake them first then whack them under the grill to caramelize / char them a little. It makes them so much yummier! Then simply slice them up and serve. I did a side of corn on the cob (when you are already eating with your fingers why not continue?) and rice to soak up the marinade. And apologies about the photo - it was all eaten before I thought to take another picture....
Marinated Pork Spare Ribs
1.5kg pork spare ribs
1\4 cup (90g) honey
1\2 cup (125g) Kecap Manis (a thick sweet soy sauce)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 star anise
3 cm fresh ginger grated finely
1 clove garlic crushed
Combine the marinade ingredients. Tip marinade either into a very secure tupperware that can be shaken around a bit, or into a plastic bag that you can seal. Add the ribs and make sure they are well covered with some marinade. Allow to marinade for three hours or preferably overnight. I usually turn them or give them a shake every few hours to make sure everything is really soaking in the marinade.
Heat oven to 180C. Put the ribs into a large baking tin so they can lie flat. Tip the marinade over them, cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the ribs from the baking tin and put on a grill tray, and grill each side under high heat until caramelized and starting to char. Slice ribs between each bone and serve with cooking juices and remaining marinade from the baking tin tipped over the top.