Rib of the Week: The Angry Chef’s Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs

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I’ve said it before: My husband can work absolute magic with the barbecue.

When he made these mouthwatering pork loin chops for us the other night, I asked him if he could do something similar with pork spare ribs—inside, in the oven. (You know how we love ribs at The Mouse House.)

He kindly obliged, and quickly turned out these Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs.

And all I can say is: Oh. My. Goodness. I’m embarrassed to say that if I could have crawled into the oven with them, I think I just might have.

For these ribs, traditional flavors of New England and the Orient blend together, then get a Cajun kick in the pants. They were fall-off-the-bone tender, and coated in a fire-y mahogany crust. The meat itself was moist, slightly sweet, and scented with sesame and maple.

If you have a dog, the smell of these cooking just might make him insane.

Iron Mouse, Battle Spare Ribs

Now, normally, when I make ribs for our Rib of the Week feature, more often than not, I cook them in a marinade or glaze.

The Angry Chef’s method of indoor rib cookery, however, is a little different. He gives them a leisurely soak in flavorful marinade in the fridge—then dries them completely and dusts them with a spice rub.

He blasts them in a super-hot oven for about 13 minutes (which I could never do with a sweet glaze because the sugar would burn)—then drops the heat lower to finish cooking.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs

2 1/4 lbs. pork spare ribs (about 5-6 meaty ribs)
spray oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
coarse sea salt

Asian Maple Marinade

1 tsp. ginger, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
5 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. powdered chinese anise
1 shot triple sec (1 oz.)
3/4 shot dark mushroom soy (Pearl River)
1 1/2 Tbls. dark amber, grade-A maple syrup
8 – 10 splashes of tobasco (1/4 tsp.)
8 – 10 splashes of liquid smoke (1/4 tsp.)
3 Tbls. sesame seed oil

Medium-Heat Asian Spice Rub

1 Tbls. onion powder
1 1/2 Tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
3/4 tsp. white pepper
3/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
3/4 tsp. crushed oregano leaves
1 Tbls. powdered chinese star anise
3/4 tsp. ground clove
1 Tbls. chipolte chili
3/4 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 Tbls. ground Ancho pepper
3/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1 1/2 Tbls. cayenne (give or take, depending on how hot you want them)

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs, Part 1: Marinate the pork ribs

You want to marinate the ribs anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.

Grab the ginger, clove, ground anise, and garlic. Put them in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.

Measure out the triple sec, mushroom soy, maple syrup, tabasco, liquid smoke, and sesame oil. Add them to the zip-top bag.

When all your marinade ingredients are in the bag, seal it up and give it a shake to mix everything. Then grab your pork ribs and add them to the bag.

Seal the bag well and smoosh it around between your hands to coat the ribs with marinade. Squeeze all the air out of the bag, reseal it, and stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs, Part 2: Spice & roast the pork ribs

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil (not parchment paper, which will catch fire at this high temp). Spray the foil lightly with oil and set it aside.

After your ribs have marinated for at least 2 hours, grab the bag out of the fridge. Leave them on the counter for a few minutes to knock the chill off them. In the meantime, make the spice rub.

Measure out the spices and put them in a mortar & pestle. (If you don’t have one, you could also use a coffee grinder or regular old blender in a pinch.)

With the pestle, grind the spices against the mortar (the bowl) to break them down, release their essential oils, and combine them well. Your finished mixture should look about like this:

If you have an extra spice jar lying around, put the mixture in that. The rub is much easier to apply if you can shake it on.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs: Apply the spice rub to the spare ribs

Grab your ribs and a bunch of paper towels. Remove each rib from the marinade. Dry each rib as well as you can with the towels.

Pick off as much of the minced garlic as you can. It can get bitter at high heat in the oven.

Don’t fret about getting rid of the marinade. It’s done its job. 😀

Get them as dry as you can, like this:

Sprinkle each rib on all sides with the spice rib. Press the rub into the meat with your hands.

Lay the spiced ribs out evenly on your prepared pan. Spritz the ribs oh-so-lightly with the tiniest bit of spray oil.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs: Blast the ribs in a super-hot oven

Slide your pan into your preheated 475 degree oven for 13 minutes.

After 13 minutes, they should look about like this:

Drop the heat and cook the ribs for a half-an-hour

After 13 minutes, drop the heat down to 325 degrees. Leave the ribs in the oven this whole time. Cook at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

At this point, they should look about like this:

They’re well on their way to developing a glorious crust.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs: Sprinkle the ribs with salt and walnuts and finish roasting

After 30 minutes, take them out of the oven and sprinkle quickly with sea salt and chopped walnuts.

Slide them back into the oven. Finish cooking for another 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Maple-Asian Fusion Pork Ribs: Serve & enjoy!

After this last 30 minutes, your spare ribs should be done, and look about like this:

They should have a deep brown crust, and the meat should come away easily when pulled at with a fork.

Transfer to serving plates. Scoop up some nuts off the pan and pile them on top of the ribs as a garnish.


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Hi Jessie! Love these type of recipes plenty of flavors and aromas…. impossible to not be drooling with these outstanding ingredients Hey Jessie not only the dog will be insane ;) Gera .:. sweetsfoods
  2. Jessie! Seems like your week begins AND ends with meat! Can you please adopt me? :-) I'll do anything, dishes, etc. ;-) Worth Stumbling!!! Cheers! Gabi