Hoisin-Glazed Ribs

This recipe is a finger licker that we teach to illustrate the value of cooking meat on the bone. At the Dirty Apron we are big believers in brining, and it’s worth the effort for this dish because the ribs are addictive. Start the brining the day before you plan to serve these ribs.

By Chef David Robertson, The Dirty Apron

Hoisin-Glazed Ribs with Asian Sesame Slaw

Serves 4


Brined ribs

  • 2 whole racks of baby pork ribs, about 3 lbs
  • 4 c water
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 5 to 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, julienned
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Hoisin glaze

  • 1 c hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

Asian sesame slaw

  • 3 c very thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 11/2 c shredded carrots
  • 1 c fresh spinach, trimmed
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 11/2 Tbsp soy sauce


Brined ribs

Cut each of the whole racks of ribs in half, so you have 4 pieces. Pat dry the ribs with a paper towel. Using a dry cloth, grasp the underside of the rib and pull very carefully to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Discard the membrane. Set aside.
To prepare the brine, bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat, turn off the heat and add the star anise, garlic, lemon zest, peppercorns, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt, coriander seeds and jalapeño peppers. Allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate until the brine reaches 39°F, about 1 hour. Place the ribs into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the rib racks from the brine and cut them into individual ribs. Discard the brine. Place the ribs into a large pot, cover completely with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 11/4 hours, or until the ribs are soft but not yet falling off the bone. Allow the ribs to cool in their cooking liquid.

Hoisin glaze

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until well combined. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Asian sesame slaw

Combine the cabbage, carrots and spinach in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ginger and soy sauce until the sugar dissolves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss until well coated, then season with salt and pepper.

Finish ribs

Preheat a barbecue to high or set your oven to broil. (If you use the oven, place the glazed ribs on a baking sheet.) Remove the cooled ribs from their cooking liquid, brush them liberally with glaze, and grill or broil until the glaze has cooked on, about 1 minute.

To serve

Serve the ribs on individual plates and garnish with cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds, and generous servings of Asian sesame slaw.

Chef's Note: The vegetables can be assembled and the dressing assembled the day before you plan to serve the salad. Cover them separately and mix them just before serving.

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