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BBQ Ribs Recipe

Chinese-style BBQ Ribs
Chinese-style BBQ Ribs pictures (3 of 6)

Americans take BBQ ribs very seriously. When it comes to BBQ ribs, attention to details spans from spice rub/seasonings, sauce, pork flavor, texture, smoke, appearance, scent, mouthfeel, cooking and grilling techniques to the overall balance of the ultimate product. Originated and perfected in the American South, BBQ ribs is at the very core of American food culture.

When I contemplated to have a BBQ ribs recipe, I was a little worried. The all-American BBQ ribs is not my everyday Malaysian or Asian recipe, and is surely not my forte. Eventually, I settled with a Chinese-style baby back ribs recipe, using none other the recipe for Chinese BBQ pork or char siu. Sticky sweet with a perfect balance of saltiness plus a touch of Chinese 5-spice powder, char siu sauce marries well with baby back ribs.

For the techniques, I used a combination of oven roasting plus BBQ grilling. I set my oven to 325 degrees F and roasted the ribs for about two hours. I then transferred them onto the outdoor grill for a charred finish over direct heat. My verdict: juicy, moist, flavorful, and finger-licking good. Summer is in full swing so surprise your guests with these exotic Chinese-style BBQ baby back ribs!

Now, please do tell me what is your favorite BBQ ribs recipe and how you make it. Thank you.

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70 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. NYMY

    This is quite a bold attempt, RM. To be in US, offering this recipe, against the all-time American food culture, BBQ ribs. I honestly have not found good Asian style bbq ribs and being in US, the options of having really good American bbq ribs does not help the Asian cause. This recipe looks easy enough. I will definitely try it and see how this BBQ ribs taste but from the look at it and your Char Siu recipe, I am sure it’s very good!! :)

    • That’s the reason why I did it the Asian-style. I would not dare to attempt the all-American recipe. Better stick it to my root and what I feel most comfortable with. They were great.

  2. Tommy


    I was totally looking forward to this recipe for the past few days and it does not look to disappoint in any way. I’ve been looking high and low for maltose in the Asian marts around me, but they either don’t carry it or I’m just not looking in the right place.

    I do not have a personal favorite recipe, but one of my uncles pulls out some good stuff; its one of the things I’ve kept away from wanting to do it with a smoker and all. Maybe I’ll get to borrow it from him and I’ll try this recipe with his smoker. Sure do hope I can find the maltose sometime soon. Thanks for the recipe =D

    • Tommy – if you can’t find maltose, then just use double the amount of honey. The thing about maltose is that it gives you that sticky sweet texture. Yummy, other than that, the taste is quite similar to honey. :)

      • Tommy

        I know. I’ve tried a recipe with honey, but I was definitely missing that sticky finger goodness, and without it it just felt just a TAD bit off. Flavors were nice and all, but it just didn’t ‘feel’ right I guess.

        My search for it continues and I’m hoping to replicate or make better char siu (and the ribs too) than I can find at the local Chinese places in my area. I’ve been trying to correct my diet first as I can’t exercise too rigorously right now, but man these recipes definitely make me want to stuff my face. =D

  3. matt

    Bee you know i love to grill and i’ve been doing ribs for a long time is a little tip when you put the ribs on the sheet add a little pine-orange juice before you cover with foil…it imparts great flavor

  4. Lee

    Hello! Been reading your site for a looong time. I love ribs, and just found out it helps alot to cook the ribs under foil in the oven for the first hour, then remove the foil for the 2nd hour. The added moisture the foil provides makes for a very very yummy bite!

  5. This looks awesome! Saving this recipe right away! Love sticky savory sweet ribs! :) I can’t find maltose either but will look harder…want that sticky texture!

    If I don’t have an outdoor grill can I just finish it off on the oven, uncovered and unde the broiler/grill?

    • Just use double the honey. :)

      Yes, you just use oven to broil, uncovered and maybe on high heat for 5 minutes or so until the surface is browned. Remember to check because the settings of the oven might be different.

  6. rachel ong

    hi bee, this is rachel, i want to say thank you for the inf u email me. i will get in touch of my sis then decide where to go.
    another nice pic and recipe. can u tell me how to use maltose? very hard like a rock? did u melt the whole container with hot water bath?
    thank you!! is a great summer recipe :)

    • Maltose is very sticky, so you have to heat it over fire with all the other seasonings to break it down. It breaks down when it’s heated. It’s not like rock, just very sticky.

  7. We were in New York Chinatown once and were really impressed with the racks of the stuck together 5 inches long Chinese bbq ribs but sadly were too full with all kinds of mississippi crayfish , houdini sausages and korean whatnot alfonso beers the nights before to even dare try one
    LOL !

  8. Sylvia

    I’ve already made this after reading your char siew recipe. I also made another flavor with bulgogi marinade.

  9. billy565

    Sounds like a solid recipe. If you find that you want to render more fat or like them more fall-off-the-boney, definitely give them a splash of fruit juice (apple or pineapple/oj – nice one, matt), seal completely in multiple layers of foil and go at 300 for 3 hours. I like to put an hour of smoke on them at the beginning to ‘set the bark’ (dry the rub, basically) and get that good smoke ring.

    Glad to see a recipe that doesn’t involve boiling them. I ran across a ‘winning’ recipe on Instructables that advertises fall-apart ribs after a 5 hour boil. I’m pretty sure my shoes would fall apart after a 5 hour boil, too.

  10. T Cobb

    My husband and I made this last night. When we were prepping the marinade in the morning, I almost died laughing because my husband had such a hard time getting the maltose out of the container. He got it over everything!! And the worst part is that it is extremely hard to clean off. He commented “honey, this recipe had better be worth it because this is insane”. Well, we followed your instructions word for word, and the ribs were AMAZING!!!! My 5 year old ate at least 3 ribs just by herself and when we got down to the very last rib on the plate she stood up on her chair and shouted at the top of her lungs ” Last rib’s mine! I call dibs!” Thanks again for another very very delicious recipe.

  11. HV


    Since I found your website many months ago, I have been cooking up a storm following your recipes in my kitchen. You have inspired me. All the recipes I have tried are so delicious. I am very very grateful that you share your recipes. Keep them coming.

    Tried making these ribs and they are fabulous. So tender, juicy and loaded with flavor. Best ribs recipe I have tried! THANK YOU!

  12. lilian

    Going to try this tomorrow…so will be marinating the ribs tonight. Btw, I bought spare ribs coz the butcher didn’t have baby back ribs but anyway spare ribs has more meat and fat than baby back ribs so i’m thinking they might be more tender. Since i bought 1600g of spare ribs will the cooking time still be about the same’ around 2 to 2 1/2 hours? What do u reckon? And do u think its advisable to flip the ribs halfway? Btw, my oven broiler isn’t working…do u think i can crank up the oven to about 250 degrees celsius in the last 10-15 mins or so to still get that nice charred effect? Hope u can reply asap..can’t wait to make these delicious ribs!

    P.S. i made the char siu recipe with the same marinade and it tasted awesome so was thinking of using it on ribs instead.

  13. lilian

    thanks, they came out really finger-licking good. I am making this the day after tomorrow for a dinner party. I am doing it with 2kg pork ribs but these are the fatty ones. I find baby back ribs a bit lean and very little flesh. Should i roast them for 3 hours (possibly 4) and broil for 15 minutes? How long do u reckon i should roast them for? Thanks if u can reply asap.

  14. lilian

    Ok, the ribs are marinating now. I only bought about 1.5kg pork spare ribs which are a bit meatier. So should I still roast it total time 3 hours? Maybe 2 hrs under foil, then remove the foil for the last hour? I thought that the last hr without the foil might help to brown the ribs a bit. And then finally 10-15 mins under the broiler? Sorry for sounding so repetitive…a bit worried the ribs won’t turn out perfect tomorrow. Eagerly waiting to try the ribs!

  15. lilian

    The ribs came out perfect! The meat was tender and the outside was caramelized and crisp. My dish for the potluck dinner party was definitely one of the highlights. Everyone loved and raved about it. I actually roasted it for 1 1/2 hrs under the foil then removed the foil and roasted for another hour (as suggested by one of the readers) then finally broiled for about 5 mins per side. I also used some of the leftover marinade with the pan drippings and reduced it down to a sauce to drizzle on the ribs. Thanks a lot….i’m sure the pork belly with this marinade will turn out stunning.

  16. lilian

    Ooops, sorry no i didn’t mention that. Next time they ask i will tell them. But anyways thanks for the tips…i’ve tried numerous of ur recipes and they’ve turned out really well like ur char siew, honey walnut shrimp, soy sauce chicken and yong tau foo sauce (although i added some hoisin sauce and it really tasted A LOT better).

  17. Clioe

    Hi there, i’ve just stumbled onto your website as i’m looking for some recipes to cook for my partner who is going to return home tomorrow. usually i refer to just wondering… what’s maltose?

  18. Mark In St Pete

    The recipes looks great, but if I can not find Rose wine, what would be an appropriate substitute? The maltose was easry, for now, and the rest I stock, in my pantry. The Rose wine, that is the quandry. Can you help me?

  19. Parris

    Been planning to make these for a week, had them marinating for days and end up having to take my partner to the hospital just before I start cooking. Hope they turn out good cos my missus is in a foul mood! No pressure or anything.

  20. beverlydjuhari

    Hi Bee,

    I’ve been wanting to try to make your bbq pork recipe but am lacking of maltose.
    I have no idea what that is, but can i substitute it with corn syrup? Is that the same thing?

  21. John W

    is there another substitute for Chinese Rose Wine, I am looking forward to makeing this for my superbowl party in two weeks on Feb 3rd.

  22. Amy

    I tried this dish (based on the recipe in your Easy Chinese Recipes book). It came out awesome! My hubby (my guinea pig) just love it. Thanks, Bee! :)

  23. richie

    Hi… Lovely baby back ribs and would love to try this recipe…

    where can i get baby back ribs around klang valley? checked cold storage and they don’t understand baby back ribs and show me spare ribs instead..

  24. ronald c. williams

    beer is made with malt. you can purchase liquid malt at a wine and beer supply place. if it’s not sweet enough, which it should be, add a little honey or molasses. “maltose” when you cook you need to be flexible. add whatever your taste buds dictate. I also add a little liquid smoke to mine.

  25. ronald c. williams

    riblets are cheaper. its’s the ends of the ribs they saw off. only boil for 40-45 min then grill or oven cook and baste

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