This post has been sponsored by Wisconsin Pork Producers Association. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sticky, fork-tender Asian Garlic Sesame Baby Back Ribs. Juicy melt-in-your-mouth oven-baked wet back ribs are fall off the bone delicious and simple to prepare. We love to serve these Asian baby back ribs with cooked rice.
Pork ribs are not hard to make at all. They are incredibly easy to make at home. To prepare ribs, apply my dry rub recipe then place ribs meat side up in a baking dish. Cover it with foil and bake the ribs in the oven for a couple of hours. Once done, slather them in my honey garlic sauce then return to the oven to broil for a few minutes. The result is sticky fork-tender ribs.
Perhaps you are under the impression that ribs are hard to make? I’ve included everything you’ve ever wanted to know about ribs that include how to prep ribs, safe temperature consumption, pork production, and more information that will answer every question you may have.
NEW AGE FOR PORK FARMERS
I grew up in Wisconsin and spent most of my life living in the country surrounded by pork farmers and producers. Many pig farms are transparent about how they raise pigs. When I was growing up, we could visit the farms and learn about the process. It was so neat to see how much they cared for the animals and the consumers.
Pork farmers are committed to food safety, pork quality, and continuous improvement. Certification programs provide pork producers, and caretakers the tools they need to do what’s best for the consumers, pigs, and the environment. Did you know that many pork producers across the United States operate as a family-owned business? Generations of families have taken part in raising pigs.
Over the past 50 years, farms have changed and have made advancements in farming methods, technology, and economics. This has significantly transformed farming. Producers are better equipped with farm tools that make it easier to raise pigs. They care about the health and well-being of the animal as well as what it’s being feed. Providing a humane environment that promotes the well-being of its animals is of the most importance. With continued education, farmers are provided with a variety of tools that yield high-quality pork products. Today’s pork is 16% leaner and 27% lower in saturated fat compared to two decades ago thanks to the efforts of feeding a better big diet. Pork contains key vitamins and minerals and is part of a healthy diet.
HOW TO MAKE BABY BACK RIBS
Baby back ribs can be cooked a variety of ways. From grilling to smoking, to slow cooking, braising, pressuring cooking, and oven roasting, to name just a few. As an experiment, I headed to a local butcher shop to purchase baby back ribs. I asked the butcher his preferred method of cooking and he said he really loved oven baked ribs as do I. His trick to making juicy, fork-tender ribs? Cook it low and slow. He suggested a low cooking temperature for about 2 hours which is exactly how I cook my oven-baked baby back ribs.
REMOVING THE MEMBRANE
Pork ribs can come with a membrane attached. If you head to a butcher shop to purchase ribs, they can remove the membrane for you. If it’s not already removed, it can easily be removed at home. Removing the membrane is NOT required but I take this extra step because it’s easier to eat the ribs otherwise it can be tough to chew. This extra step also allows any dry rub or sauce flavor to lock into the meat. To remove the membrane at home, flip the ribs over so the meat is faced down. On the back of the ribs is a thin opaque tissue. Run a knife along it to loosen it then peel it off.
BABY BACK RIBS VS. SPARERIBS
Baby back ribs are cut from the loin section of the pig. They are much shorter in size in relation to spareribs. Baby back ribs are very tender, less meaty and lean which means they are not as flavorful as spareribs, however, they have a higher price tag than spareribs. Baby back ribs are commonly called pork loin back ribs, back ribs, or loin ribs. The back ribs are what is left when the loin meat is cut away. The loin meat can be used as a loin roast, tenderloin, or pork chops. Head to a local meat butcher or ask for them behind the meat counter at a local grocery store if you can’t find them in the pork section of the store.
Spareribs are the ribs cut from the belly of the pig. They are thicker, meatier ribs from the leftover pork belly after the bacon has been removed. Many butchers remove the breastbone (sternum) and connecting cartilage, leaving a narrower slab of ribs called St. Louis Spareribs. Spareribs are tougher and because they are bigger, they require more cooking time. Most grocery stores sell St. Louis Style Spareribs in the pork section while baby back ribs may be harder to find.
SAFE TEMPERATURE CONSUMPTION
Pork does not need to be overcooked and it’s important to follow the recommended cooking temperature. Pork ribs are safe to eat at an internal temperature of 145° F. Often times, I will pull ribs out of the oven and tent them in foil. The extra steam helps it to be extra fork tender and juicy. A good way to check for rib doneness is to slice it with a knife. If the rib is difficult to slice with a knife, return it the oven. Of course, you can use a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a thick meaty section of the rib to check for an internal temperature of 145° F without touching bone. Pork will continue to cook when removed from its heat source. I always let my meat rest for 3 minutes before serving. This extra step allows the meat to lock in moisture.
Pork may have a slightly pink appearance in the meat and it’s safe to eat. For a variety of pork cuts, head to the Pork Board and check the pork cooking temperature for popular cuts.
HOW TO PREPARE RIBS
This oven-baked rib recipe features both a dry rub and a wet sauce. The flavors do not compete and they complement each other well together. I love the combination of honey, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce. It’s my go-to sauce when serving meaty dishes like these pork ribs. To ensure the maximum flavor, mix the dry rub together and rub it on both sides of the ribs. Once they are done cooking, baste it in the Asian sauce then return it to the oven. The wet sauce flavor will lock in while it cooks. Then, baste it well in the sauce again and return it to the oven under a high broiler for 5 minutes. The sugars in the sauce will thicken the glaze under high heat. Allow the sauce to cook until it’s sticky and thick, but not burnt.
The key to cooking perfectly juicy, tender-fork ribs is to cook them low and slow in the oven. It’s important to bake them in a shallow dish top covered in foil to lock in moisture.
HOW TO SERVE RIBS
Ribs can be cut once they are done cooking. Simply run a knife along the meaty section of the ribs between the joints.
Each half pound of ribs typically serves 1 person. Most baby back ribs come with 2 sets of ribs that can weigh a combined total of 1.5 pounds to 4 pounds. A set of baby back ribs that weigh 3.5 pounds will typically serve 7 people. I like to serve these Asian Garlic Sesame Baby Back Ribs with cooked rice. Any leftover rib meat gets tossed into a stir-fry or sandwich the next day.
Sticky Garlic Sesame Baby Back Ribs
- 3.5 lbs. (2 racks) baby back ribs
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
Honey Garlic Sesame Sauce
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 7 stalks green onions, diced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a baking dish with foil.2. Remove membrane off ribs. Turn ribs over; meat side down. Carefully slide a blunt knife under the membrane at one end of the rack. Lift to loosen it off then peel it off the back of the ribs. Some ribs may have this removed already.3. Rub 1/2 tbsp olive oil on ribs, covering both sides. Combine salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Generously rub seasoning all over both sides of the ribs.4. Place ribs in a prepared baking dish, meat side up. Ribs may overlap slightly, this is fine. Tightly cover the top with foil.5. Bake ribs in oven at 300° F. for 2-2.5 hours. Alternatively, ribs can be baked at 350° F for 75 minutes.6. Ribs are done when fork tender or at an internal temperature of 145° F. Remove from oven, keep covered in foil 15 minutes. This will make them incredibly tender and juicy. For even more tender ribs, keep covered in foil up to 1 hour. I find 15 minutes is enough but this step is optional.7. In a medium bowl, combine minced garlic, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Whisk sauce until fully incorporated.8. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Use a basting brush to cover entire ribs with Asian sauce. Return to 350° F. oven uncovered for 10 minutes.9. Remove from oven. Glaze ribs again with sauce. Broil on high for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and is sticky.10. Remove ribs from oven. Allow to rest for 3 minutes. Top with diced green onions, chopped parsley, and sesame seeds. To cut the ribs, run a knife along the meaty section between the joints.11. Serve with cooked rice and remaining garlic sesame sauce.