party-of-five Recipes

hoisin-honey pork riblets

As should not be surprising, my parents have been a little concerned about me since I called them last Friday night and said I’d had a little run-in with the stairs, but I was fine, except I couldn’t really lift my left arm and I’d bumped my head a couple times on the way down but I didn’t really have to go to the emergency room, did I? Because surely this would all be better in the morning? Alas, in the ten days since they’d explained to me six different ways ’till Sunday why that was the wrong answer, but spared me the told you so when the diagnosis was dealt, all they have wanted to know is what they can do for me. You can only tell people “nothing, I’m fine” so many times before they threaten to storm your apartment and cook you dinner — how hard is my life, eh? — and that pretty much brings us up to tonight.

miso carrot ginger dressing

Except, I am apparently allergic to such fine treatment because when mom said she wanted to make Mexican-spiced chicken cutlets, I said I wanted to make pork riblets instead. She said she’d make salad but I said there was this miso-carrot dressing I’ve been itching to try. So, mom said she would make rice — rice, people — and I said, but we have all these little red potatoes to use up and she finally gave up and just brought cake. See what you get for trying to do nice things for me?

The cake is amazing. But I’m not going to tell you about it until tomorrow, because I am certain this entry has not yet amply exemplified what a pain in the ass I can be.

sugar snapwasabi roasted potatoes

Now, one of the most cardinal, basic rules of dinner parties, and the one I consistently break is that you should never try out recipes for the first time on your guests. But when those guests are your family and have to love you either way (right now, SantaDad is guffawing) I say go to town on them. Fortunately, everything worked like a charm. The cream of wild mushroom soup was great, really great, but I’m not certain lives up to the awesomeness exemplified in the Balthazar recipe I made last year. And it’s funny, because if I had tried this first I would have loved it endlessly, but it happened the other way around and now it only gets second billing. Woe is it. The carrot-miso-ginger dressing is excellent, and I’ll make it again and also, if you have any uses for fresh miso, please let me know because I have a freaking lot of it leftover. The hoisin riblets are utter riblet perfection. Go, print out the recipe, laminate and frame it. You can thank me, and by me, I mean Epicurious.com, later. Just don’t try to cook for me. I mean because seriously, nobody deserves that kind of punishment.

a pile of Good

Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets
Adapted from Gourmet, 1992

3 1/2 pounds pork of spareribs, halved crosswise, preferably by a butcher, and cut into individual ribs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

In a kettle of boiling salted water simmer the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes and drain them well.

In a large bowl whisk together the honey, the soy sauce, the garlic paste, the hoisin sauce, the mustard, the vinegar, and black pepper to taste, add the ribs, and toss the mixture well, coating the ribs thoroughly. Let the ribs marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Remove the ribs from the marinade, arrange them in one layer on the oiled rack of a foil-lined broiler pan, and broil them under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat, basting them with the marinade, for 3 minutes. Turn the ribs with tongs and broil them, basting them with the marinade, for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they are browned well and glazed. Discard the marinade.

Miso Carrot Dressing With Ginger
Adapted from the New York Times

Yield: About 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons white miso, sold at Asian markets and specialty stores
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into big pieces
1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Put all ingredients except salt and pepper into food processor and pulse a few times to mince carrots. Then let machine run for a minute or so until mixture is chunky-smooth.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to several days.

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34 comments on hoisin-honey pork riblets

  1. Hey Deb-
    Love your site, have been following you around the internets for a while (but not in a stalker-y way), and I’m loving the food-centric-ness of this new one. I’m de-lurking to share another honey hoisin marinade that I use for pork that might be of interest to you and your readers:
    Honey Hoisin Pork Marinade (from Cooking Light):
    2 tablespoons sliced green onions
    2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    2 tablespoons sage honey (I use regular honey since grad student budget + backwoods Indiana does not equal fancy honey)
    1 tablespoon hot water
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    Combine all ingredients. Use 1/4 cup to marinate your cut of pork of choice. Marinate for however long you want (recipe suggests 30 min, I’ve done it for much longer). Cook pork how you would like, using the leftover marinade to baste during cooking. Voila!
    I always wanted to say that I recently tried both the spinach quiche and the stewed lentils recipes that you posted here and they were great! It’s nice to see your hanging in there, busted arm and all! :)

  2. Pork riblets…not ever seen them. This looks really excellent – most of the ribs is done ahead. You certainly are singing high enough praise.
    Sorry about the pain in the ass thing-we all take our turns.

  3. OMG, these riblets looks absolutely decadent! I think that women are more prone to endure pain + daily activities than men. I’d rather make my own chicken soup when I am sick than go and buy a can.
    The whole meal looks great!

  4. lol I pity your poor mom and I can´t wait for the cake recipe.
    I´m gonna try the ribs recipe but with some “minor” modifications, that is, without any honey, since I don´t like sweetness in my savory meals, and replacing the pork with a tender veal cut.
    Thanks for the miso sauce. I bought a miso can a while ago in one of my Chinatown trips in one of my exotic food days and haven´t found a way to use it and enjoy the results. My miso is somewhat brownish, will it work anyway?
    Yesterday I was feeling exotic as well and bought some krein. Any suggested recipes for it other than in a sort of potato salad?

  5. I read backwards a bit to catch up on what I missed, and why is it that I’d SWEAR I smell banana bread in my office right now?!?!?!?!

    Divine. The riblets look delish. And I don’t like people cooking in my kitchen! :)

  6. Luisa – Our poor guests, indeed. My need for constantly *new* things to discuss has back-burnered some really flawless classics. And seriously, shame on me for ditching Balthazar’s Cream of Wild Mushroom soup for one with more of that new car smell. Tsk tsk.

    Ellen – That looks excellent! I especially like the addition of green onions.

    Jocelyn – So, like, percoset pancakes instead of hash brownies? I’ll get right on that.

    Tanna – The riblets are just pork spareribs, cut crosswise into shorter pieces, and then cut into separate pieces. And yes, it was super-easy because 99% was done in advance, and even that didn’t take a lot of labor.

    Helen – I completely agree about the chicken soup; likewise, I insisted upon making lunch every day last week rather than just picking up or ordering something. But, it also seemed like further insult to injury to not even get a good meal on top of being laid up. Perhaps we just approach these things different than boys.

    Marce – Ooh, try the honey. They’re really not sweet it in the end; I think it keeps them from becoming a salt assault. (Heh, I’m a poet.) My miso is beige-ish, too. And now I have to Google krein because I have no idea what it is!

    Yvo – Heheh. Go, make some! Let us know what you think of it.

  7. Okay. I just made the riblets recipe (but with huge country-cut spareribs) and it was freaking amazing. Caramelized beautifully. With my larger cuts, I had to boil for about an hour and forty-five minutes instead of thirty. And I used mustard powder instead of mustard. Worked out great!

    Here’s a blurry night-but-no-flash shot:

  8. Wow, this is a great marinade! Like Noah, I used country-style ribs (sliced into 4 individual ribs and boiled for 45 minutes) and marinated them all day – nothing like pre-cooking dinner so as to shorten the distance between work and dinner! AWESOME. Merits gluing into my homemade cookbook, the most respectable location in my kitchen for found recipes (like no-knead bread), rather than spending purgatory in the “I need to try this recipe” file.

    The leftover giant hunk-o-rib was great chopped up and stir-fried into soba noodles with green onions and oyster sauce.

    Thanks again Deb.

    PS I am in awe of your food photography – your site is my favorite source for work-safe (food) porn!

  9. These pork riblets were amazing. I just made them last week and am already getting requests for another batch. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  10. Deb, another instant favourite! I’ve twice cooked the riblets in the last month – it’s super easy, we always have the ingredients in the cupboard, it’s low cost and my local butcher already has teeny tiny racks, so I don’t even need to have them cut. The best part – the golden silence at dinner broken only by sighs and lip-smacking. Mmm mmm.

    Thanks again!!

  11. I love, love, LOVE this post!!! Sometimes I swear you are my long lost twin!! I enjoy your blog so very much. I hope to one day get my act together & try my hand at doing one as well. Thank you for being such an inspiration & for making my day every day!

  12. Hi, Sorry if I am dense, but what is the Miso carrot dressing with Ginger for? Salad or do I put it on the ribs after they’ve been broiled? Thanks.

  13. Made these for a going away appy party last week and they were a hit. I ended up with ribs that were not 100% what I would choose but the butcher did cut them in half for me … they were fattier than I wanted. At any rate, great recipe

  14. I tried these tonight and they came out tough and chewy. I have my ideas on why this happened, first of all I marinated in a bowl (instead of a flat dish) overnight so not all the pieces were sitting and stewing in it. But my problem may have started before that – they all looked shriveled and dry straight out of the water…should I have simmered longer? Or shorter? Any thoughts/ideas/feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Hanna — With ribs, tough and chewy usually means it needs to cook longer. Great ribs almost fall off the bone when they’re done.

  15. Sorry if I missed it, but about how many servings does this make? My kids will actually eat Pork so I want to make sure I’m making enough :) Thanks!
    Oh and seriously, looks delicious!!

  16. The original recipe was intended to make 50 hors d’oeuvres. For a dinner meal, it will really come down to what else is being served and how many ribs most people like to eat. I’d estimate 4 to 6 servings for a main.

  17. This is a really stupid question, but if you tell a butcher exactly how the recipe describes how or wants the meat to be cut, will they know what your talking about? I don’t really know what it means by cutting the ribs crosswise in half r cutting then into individual ribs. Sorry, I don’t cook meat that much

  18. Do you think this recipe would work well in the crock pot? Are there any suggestions for modifying to make it so, or am I speaking sacrilege?

  19. How tender are they supposed to be? I think mine ended up being tougher than I expected…

    I followed your directions. Not sure what went wrong.

  20. I have tried this recipe both as written and with a substitute of Almond Butter in place of the Peanut Butter. Both ways are superb! The Almond has a little lighter flavor than the Peanut, and it’s a great way for people with peanut allergies to still enjoy Hoisin. Thank you Deb for providing such a wonderful resource for those of us who take our home cooking seriously. In three years of following your blog, I have tried many of your recipes and never has one of them failed me. Your website is my 1st stop every time I search for a recipe. Thank you, so very much!

  21. There was a breakfast spot here in Seattle called Crave that had an amazing miso cured salmon platter with a bagel, cream chese, capers, pickeled onions etc. Crave has been closed for several years now but I still…ah crave that dish along with their Mimosa Benedict. I would imagine curing salmon would use up a lot of leftover miso, deliciously.

  22. I really enjoyed your humour and your recipe. I’m not that great a cook, and on the admittedly rare occasions when we entertain, I usually try something new – it’s fun!

  23. Hi, i am from New Zealand & have just come across your web site,I really like your type of humour & recipes. Tonight I am having the Hoisin Honey Ribs, the are smelling good in the marinade right now. I would also like to make the Miso Carrot Dressing with Ginger but can you tell me what you would put it over eg a lettuce salad or something else. Thank you Lynette

  24. I know I’m late to the party but I’m trying to use up hoisin sauce and have a miso use suggestion. Equal parts miso and apricot jam/orange marmalade with just enough soy sauce to loosen the miso up (like scant .5 tsp per Tbsp miso). You want enough to spread fairly generously on whatever meat you choose. Makes a great marinade and sauce in one, especially for pork and dry boring chicken breasts. It sort of melts in the skillet as the meat cooks and slightly reduces to a sort of gloss.