Barbecue Pork Ribs Recipe

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This recipe uses maple syrup so it’s more American than Chinese in spirit. Use proper maple syrup, the stuff that comes out of a tree, not the sugar substitute – if you haven’t got it use honey instead./

Serves 4 (divides in half or doubles easily)


1 kilo of pork ribs on the bone

For the barbecue sauce:
2 tablespoons mustard
240ml cold water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons  cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons  tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
A good dash of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Mix all the barbecue sauce ingredients together and stir well. Taste the sauce – if you want it sweeter add more maple syrup or honey. If you like it spicier add more Tabasco. If it isn’t sharp enough add a tiny bit more apple cider vinegar. (You can make the sauce up to a week in advance and store it in the fridge.)

2. Spread the sauce over the pork ribs, massaging the sauce into both sides with clean hands. Marinate for as long as you can in the fridge, but for at least 20 minutes.

3. Bake the ribs with the sauce in the oven for 40-60 minutes at 180º/350/Gas Mark 4 or until golden. Turn them a few times during cooking basting them with sauce.

Recipe Note

– You can also cook these ribs on the barbecue outdoors.

– Add fresh or dried chilli to this recipe if you wish to replace the Tabasco.

– Make sure to keep the pork ribs chilled until you need them. Before using allow them to come to room temperature (in the kitchen) before cooking. Never leave pork outside in the heat for any time before cooking.

– Vary the mustard in this dish to get different flavours and texture.

– Add a tablespoon of Thai or Indian curry paste to the marinade or dry toast some cumin or coriander seeds and add that.

– Try using different types of vinegar: sherry vinegar is fabulous while balsamic vinegar will enhance the meatiness of the ribs. Chinese Black vinegar (also labelled Chinkiang vinegar) offers a rich depth to the sauce but you may not need to use as much as cider vinegar. Rice wine or white wine vinegar are also good options.

– This sauce is also good to make just as a sauce to serve with barbecued fish or vegetables. Heat the ingredients together and simmer over a low heat until all the flavours come together and the sauce is hot and has thickened. Also great for dipping chips into!

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