Takeout-Style Chinese Spare Ribs

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr 15 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 20 to 24 ribs
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1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce 

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 

2 tablespoons honey, plus a bit extra to finish 

1 tablespoon five-spice powder 

1 teaspoon granulated garlic 

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 

1 teaspoon red food coloring 

2 racks spare ribs (8 to 10 pounds, St. Louis-style work best), individually sliced into single ribs 


  1. Mix together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger and food coloring in a metal, non-reactive bowl. Pour the marinade into a large zip-top bag, reserving 1/2 cup on the side for basting later. Add the ribs to the bag and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 3 hours, though longer is better and overnight is ideal.
  2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to 275 degrees F for direct and indirect grilling.
  3. Remove the ribs from the marinade (discard the marinade) and place onto a wire rack. Place the rack directly on the cooler side of the grill. Cook until the meat is very tender, basting with the reserved marinade 3 times during the cooking process, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Drizzle the ribs with honey, move them to the direct heat side and quickly char each rib to caramelize.
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