Rib of the Week: Tasty Honey Cinnamon Beef Ribs

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We’re in serious winter hibernation mode at The Mouse House. Baking bread. Roasting meat. Flouncing about in all manners of fleecy attire. The whole happy and delicious nine yards.

Since the last storm, Boston is basically frozen over. The snow’s long been shoveled, but it’s still too cold for it to melt. It’s just hardened into miniature glaciers all over our street.

When the temperature drops into the teens and single digits like this, we tend to spend a lot of time tucked up on the couch with a good movie and a bottle of wine, waiting for dinner to be done.

These ribs get a quick bath in a fragrant marinade, then get dusted with spices and roasted for just about an hour at a few different temperatures. The combination of spices makes the house smell amazing.

The heat from the cayenne combined with spiciness of the cinnamon, anise, and clove is warming through and through. The honey adds just a wee bit of sweetness to balance the pepper, and a drizzle of mushroom soy imparts a rich, earthy saltiness.

It may seem like an unusual combination, but the spices all work together and the whole thing is amazingly delicious. I did this with beef spare ribs, but the marinade and rub would work just as well on pork.

Serve them with cooling and creamy sides, like buttery mashed potatoes and a crisp garden salad.

A note on ingredients for Tasty Honey Cinnamon Beef Ribs

For rice vinegar, I like Marukan brand a lot. Lots of major American grocery stores carry it (check their store locator to find it near you.)

If you can’t find powdered Chinese star anise, Penzey’s sells a half-cup jar for $4.99. For mushroom soy sauce, Pearl River brand is my favorite.

These ribs are fairly hot. For less heat, cut down on the amount of cayenne.

Tasty Honey Cinnamon Ribs

8 meaty beef back ribs
spray oil

For the marinade
2 Tbls. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbls. honey
2 Tbls. mushroom soy sauce
1/2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbls. olive oil

For the spice rub
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. ground Chinese star anise
1 1/2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and set aside.

Prep the beef ribs

Grab your ribs from the fridge.

Toss them in a gallon-size zip-top bag.

Set the ribs aside on the counter to knock the chill off them while you make your marinade and rub.

Make the marinade for the beef ribs

Put the rice vinegar in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the honey to it.

Toss in the mushroom soy sauce, minced garlic, and olive oil.

Whisk well to combine. Be sure to scrape at the bottom of the bowl to get all the honey.

Coat the beef ribs

Pour the marinade into the bag with the ribs.

Seal the bag well. Smoosh it around between your hands to coat the ribs.

They should look about like this:

Set the bag aside and let the ribs soak for a few minutes while you throw together the dry rub.

Make the dry rub for the beef ribs

Put all the spice-rub ingredients in a medium-sized bowl (garlic powder, kosher salt, onion powder, white pepper, dried parsley, cayenne, ground anise, cinnamon, and ground clove).

Mix the spices together with a dry whisk or a fork, until the rub is fairly uniform.

Spice the beef ribs

Lay the ribs out on your prepared sheet pan (don’t wipe the marinade off).

A little marinade will drip onto the pan. That’s just fine.

With your hands, lightly sprinkle the ribs with the spice rub.

Pick each rib up to get it on all sides and underneath.

Into the oven!

Right before you roast the ribs, lightly (as in, very lightly) mist the tops of the ribs with spray oil. This is to give the ribs a little boost in developing a nice crust.

Pop the pan into your preheated 450 degree oven for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes, drop the heat down to 350 degrees. Roast for another 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, drop the heat down to 325 and roast for a final 25 minutes.

At this point, your ribs should be done. (Timing can vary slightly here, depending on how big/meaty your ribs are.) Give them a little test. With a fork, pull at the meat on the end of one rib. If it comes away easily, yank the pan out of the oven. If not, leave them in for another 5 minutes and test again.

You want them to look about like this:

Serve and enjoy!

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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. just addresses to my taste of beef. Great method of marinade and mixture of spices. Cinnamon is a bit unusual on beef for me, but worth trying. Thanks for this appetizing recipe.
  2. I find it quite ironic that all of you have commented on "This fantastic recipe", "It looks so yummy" and "now I'm hungry", but NOT ONE OF YOU HAS ACTUALLY TRIED IT! Amazing. I think I'll stick with Epicurious.
    • My, rather hostile, aren't we? Luckily, there's a ton of content on the Internet, so I'm sure you'll find some that's more suited to your taste. Your presence won't be missed. :D +Jessie
    • Good news Brad! My girlfriend made these and they are fantastically delicious! The crust on these ribs are great, I prefer dry ribs so these are perfect for me, and the recipe is quite easy according to my girlfriend. We didn't add the Chinese star anise but it tasted great without it.
  3. I saw your Angry Chef a couple weeks ago, to which he answered the question, "What's happy in your life these days?" by telling me about your food blog (well, that wasn't the only answer). I find it totally delightful! (i loooove cooking! and seeing people enjoy it!) The amount of effort you put into this is nothing short of amazing. Incidentally, I was going to cook dinner with some friends that weekend and we settled on this recipe. The grocer we went to didn't have beef ribs so we used pork, and it did turn out fantastic! (i'm eager to try it with the beef now too!) Soooo tasty. At one point we were in the kitchen as the scent of it cooking wafted out and we all agreed it smelled like Christmas. I am totally a fan of unusual mixes of spices and meats (and sometimes fruit). Also a possible tip for those searching for powdered star anise: if you can find it whole and have a blender, pulverize the hell out of it! (This is what we ended up doing. Before realizing there was a blender to utilize, we were just going to smash it up with something heavy and try to ignore how chunky it would have been.)