Chinese BBQ meats are some of our favourite foods. It brings back nostalgic memories of our childhood. We loved it so much that BBQ pork was the first episode we’ve ever filmed. We’ve followed that up with cantonese duck, crispy pork belly, and soy sauce chicken (although it’s not a BBQ meat, but it counts!). It’s not often that we get Chinese BBQ ribs though, not sure why (probably because bones add to the weight haha). The other day we picked up some prepacked BBQ meat from the local Chinese grocery store, and it just so happened that there were BBQ ribs in there. They were not all that great, partly because they have probably been sitting there for a while, but they became the inspiration for this sous vide ribs recipe.
We’ve done sous vide ribs in the past with the smoker, but these ribs were going to have that “Asian flair”. As a base, we used our char siu recipe to marinate the ribs. We went a bit heavier on the sugar, using honey instead of maltose. We bagged up the ribs with just enough marinade to cover the meat. We found that adding a lot of marinade didn’t help in getting the flavour through, it was also much more difficult to finish the meat so we kept most of the marinade aside for the finishing step.
We sous vide these ribs at 165F (74C) for 4 hours. This part is very subjective, you can choose whatever heat and time you prefer. Our temperature and time combination gives you tender rib meat with a good bite. It’s not the falling off the bone type here. Actually, I’m not really sure the fall off the bone style works in this situation; but, who am I to judge, cook them however you like. Also, we used spare ribs in our recipe because they’re less expensive than baby back, but you can use either one.
Do a quick chill of the ribs in some ice water, pat them dry, brush a layer of the marinade/glaze all over, then it’s off to get these ribs on the BBQ to finish. We did quite a few layers here. We set it on the BBQ, allow the glaze to dry then add a new layer. Do this a bunch of times and you’ll have some AMAZING tasting Chinese BBQ ribs. They are lacquered in layers of sweet and sticky honey, five spice and char siu flavor. Oh …You’re probably going to want to make more than the half rack we did … they go down fast!
Sous Vide Sweet & Sticky Chinese BBQ Ribs
- Sous vide
- Smoker (optional)
- Half Rack Spare Ribs
- 2 pcs Chinese Fermented Red Bean Curd
- 1 tbsp Honey and extra for brushing after
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Five Spice Powder
- 1 tsp White Pepper
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Scallions for garnish
- Mix together marinade ingredients
- Remove membrane on the back of the spare rib
- Spoon marinade onto ribs and rub it all over; Reserve some for glazing during finishing
- Place ribs into vacuum or freezer bag
- Sous vide for 165F or 73C for 4 hours
- Place ribs in iced bath then remove ribs from bag. You may boil then strain the bag juices to make a sauce afterwards. It goes great when eating with rice.
- Cut up each individual rib. Brush with reserved marinade.
- You can either finish on the grill or in the oven. Remember you do not need to cook them for long as it has already been cooked perfectly by the sous vide.
- When the ribs are tacky, brush another layer of marinade.
- Warm a small bowl of honey to glaze the ribs.
- When the ribs are tacky, brush honey on them. Repeat until desired glaze is achieved.
- Garnish with scallions
- Serve hot and get your hands dirty!