Thai Ribs and Legs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ribs and Legs: 

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

About 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

About 2 tablespoons fish sauce

4 cloves garlic, cracked from skin

2 serrano chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Fresno chile pepper, sliced

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 pounds pork loin ribs, cut into single bones

8 chicken drummers (drumsticks), skinned

1 stalk lemongrass, white part chopped

1 lime, sliced 

Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce:

1/3 cup superfine sugar

One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 

About 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 Fresno chile, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews or peanuts, finely chopped

1 bunch scallion tops, thinly sliced (reserve the whites for the Thai Cucumbers, recipe follows)

Jasmine rice, for serving

Thai Cucumbers, recipe follows, for serving

Thai Cucumbers:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons superfine sugar

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Juice of 1 lime

1 carrot, grated

1 seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 bunch scallion whites, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 Fresno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped


  1. For the ribs and legs: Combine the cilantro, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, chile peppers, ginger and the white part of the lemongrass in a blender or food processor. Puree until a fairly smooth, thick sauce forms. 
  2. Put the pork ribs and chicken drummers in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow plastic storage container and slather the marinade over the meat. Add the lime slices and the top part of the lemongrass to the bag and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. 
  3. For the sweet and sour sauce: Combine 1/2 cup water, the sugar and ginger in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for a couple of minutes to infuse the syrup with the ginger. Pour the syrup into a small bowl and let cool. Remove the ginger, then stir in the vinegar, cilantro, mint, Sriracha, fish sauce, chile pepper and lime juice.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Arrange the ribs in an even layer in a baking dish, and add the marinade and lime slices. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the baking dish from the oven and add the drumsticks. Cover and bake for 30 more minutes.
  6. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Uncover the baking dish and bake until the ribs and drumsticks are deeply browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with about half the sweet and sour sauce. Top with the nuts and scallions. Serve with rice and Thai Cucumbers. Pass the remaining sweet and sour sauce at the table.

Thai Cucumbers:

  1. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sea salt and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the carrots, cucumbers and scallions, and toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to a plastic food storage container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the mint and chile pepper just before serving, and toss to combine.
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