Spare ribs

On ABC NSW radio

Craig, one of our regular ABC NSW listeners asked about cooking ribs so for others who might also be interested here is some general information. For recipe ideas click on Recipes and have a look at ‘Cooking spare ribs –  a few recipes to try’.

Cooking spare ribs is relatively easy and great fun to eat! Don’t worry about cutlery, just use your hands.

Whether pork, beef or lamb, spare ribs can be served hot or cold but probably the most commonly sold is pork ribs.

There are 2 main types of pork ribs:

BBQ ribs

BBQ pork ribs

–          from the side or underbelly of the pig

–          least amount of meat of the 2 types but are very flavoursome

–          allow 450g per person


Spare ribs


Pork spare ribs

–          cut from the loin or back section of the pig

–          meatier than BBQ ribs and not as fatty


Baby back ribs is lesser known cut. It is simply a narrower slab of back ribs cut from the rib end.




Although the most common cooking methods are baking, barbecuing and braising, ribs can also be microwaved, steamed (about 45 mins), pressure cooked or slow cooked in crockpot or rice cooker

Recipe from Brigid Treloar’s Rice Cooker cook book – brown ribs 5-6 minutes; drain. Put ribs in rice cooker with stock, hoisin, chilli, 5 spice and cook 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Add more stock if required. Can also add vegetables.

Cooking tips

  • Ribs cooked faster on high temperature (eg. 230°C for 20 minutes, turn and cook 200°C for 20 minutes)

OR cooked slower on low temperature (eg. 150°C/160°C – 180°C for 45 minutes, turn and cook 45–60 minutes).

  • Remove from heat and stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Ribs can be covered for the first half of cooking then uncovered to allow browning and caramelise the glaze.
  • Oven cooking is easier but if barbecuing be careful over direct flames that ribs don’t burn as many marinades contain sweet ingredients (eg. honey, tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce).
  • Line the baking pan with baking paper or shallow fill with water which helps keep the ribs moist & prevents marinades burning on the tray.
  • Place ribs, bone side up, on a rack in the baking pan. Turn halfway through cooking so marinade on meat browns and caramelises.

When are the ribs cooked?

When the meat is tender and comes away from the bone easily, especially if using low slow cooking.

Oven roasted pork ribs


Marinate for 30 minutes to overnight to add extra flavour.

Marinate the pork ribs


Marinade flavours


– hoisin, tomato, honey, ginger, Chinese 5 spice

– tomato, hoisin, chilli, garlic

Marmalade – 4 Tbsp marmalade, juice & rind of 4 lemons, dash Worcestershire sauce, 4 Tbsp soy, 4 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp tomato sauce. Marinate 1-2 hours and barbecue over moderate heat for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently and basting until cooked.

Beer, garlic, sage, spring onions. 180°C, covered for 1 hour then 200°C for 1 hour, turning once.

Dry rubs – eg. dried thyme, sage, salt & pepper or crushed fennel & coriander seeds.


Cook ribs with spiced or caramelised peaches – toss sliced peaches and cook until caramelised, 8-10 minutes.



























Posted on March 19, 2010 at 8:34 am by Brigid · Permalink
In: Recipes, Cooking Tips & Hints, Radio, Meat · Tagged with: , , , , ,

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