Yield: 4 Servings
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Spareribs can be cooked in many ways: stir-fried, deep-fried, steamed, braised, simmered or barbecued. With the exception of the latter, the ribs are always chopped witll a cleaver into bite-size pieces (to make them maneuverable with chopsticks). For barbecuing, the rib rack is usually left intact and, after roasting, the ribs are cut apart and eaten by hand, Or then chopped into bite-size pieces. Regardless of cooking method, the lean meat on the ribs can be left as is or trimmed off for later use in shredded or minced pork dishes.
An average rib rack weighs 2-½ to 3 pounds. In Western-style meals (which feature one main dish), about ¾ to 1 pound is generally allowed per person. In Chinese meals, which have many "main" dishes, 1 pound of spareribs will serve 3 or 4 people. As a rule, the rib racks with shorter bones (from smaller pigs) are preferred because they're more tender.
TO PREPARE: Leave the rib rack whole or cut in two. Trim off fat and gristle. With a sharp knife, cut between each rib but not clear through.
(This will enable the marinade to penetrate the meat.) TO MARINATE: Prepare any of the marinades for barbecued spareribs (see recipes below). Rub marinade over the ribs and into the cuts as well. Place ribs in a shallow pan and pour the marinade over them. Let stand 2 to 4 hours, basting and turning meat from time to time. (Do not marinate for a longer period: the meat will toughen.) Drain, reserving marinade.
NOTE: Some cooks rub the ribs with salt and sugar, then let the meat stand one hour before adding the marinade.
TO ROAST THE RIB RACK: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the marinated ribs on a metal rack over a roasting pan nearly filled with water (this will catch the drippings and keep them from burning). Or suspend the ribs high in the oven over the drip pan, barbecue-style (see page 821). Roast about 45 minutes, basting frequently with the reserved marinade. If ribs are roasted flat on a rack, they should be turned at 15 to 20 minute intervals for even browning. (If they are suspended vertically, barbecue-style, this isn't necessary.) Halfway through cooking, the ribs may be glazed with a thin layer of either peanut oil or honey, ora mixture of 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
NOTE: Spareribs need slow, even roasting over moderate heat. High heat tends to shrivel them. The heat may be turned up to 450 degrees during the last 5 minutes of roasting, however, to crisp the ribs.
TO ROAST INDIVIDUAL RIBS: Cut through the meat to separate ribs completely. Marinate and drain as above. Then rub each rib lightly with peanut oil. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place ribs on a rack over a water-filled drip pan. Roast 30 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade.
Roast 5 minutes more. Turn ribs over and repeat process.
TO ROAST RIB SEGMENTS: Cut the ribs apart; then with a cleaver chop each rib, bone and all, in 2-inch sections. Marinate and drain as above. preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roast in a pan 35 to 45 minutes, basting frequently with marinade.
NOTE: This method shortens roasting time and produces very crisp ribs.
TO BARBECUE OVER CHARCOAL: To barbecue spareribs on charcoal grills, prepare as above, but increase the amount of marinade and baste more frequently to keep ribs from drying out.
NOTE: Some cooks find it easier to barbecue spareribs partially for 50 minutes in the home oven; then to complete the cooking later, out-of-doors over charcoal. After pre-cooking, let the ribs cool, then cut in 2-rib sections, wrap in foil, and refrigerate. When ready to use the ribs, unwrap and cook them over charcoal until they're reheated and browned (about 10 minutes on each side).
TO BROIL: Since spareribs require slow, even cooking, broiling is not recommended. It invariably results in half-cooked or charred ribs. The ribs may be cooked, however, by other methods (steaming, simmering or roasting) until nearly done, and broiled just before serving, until crisp and g0lden (2 to 3 minutes on each side).
TO KEEP WARM : Keep barbecued ribs in a slow (200 degree) oven until ready to serve.
TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE: Roast marinated ribs as above. Let cool. Wrap in foil and refrigerate. (These will keep several days.) Before serving, reheat the still-wrapped ribs 10 to 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
TO FREEZE: Roast marinated ribs as above. Let cool. Seal tightly in foil and freeze. When ready to use, reheat the still-wrapped ribs 30 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Do not thaw first.
MARINADES: See recipe for one of the following "Marinades for Barbecued Spareribs": Basic, Stock-Soy, Pineapple-Soy, Soy- Sugar, Brown Sugar, Five Spices, Red Bean Cheese, Catsup-Hoisin or Hoisin-Soy.
From <The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook>, ISBN 0-517-65870-4. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .