Chinese Garlic Ribs

Chinatown New York City NY

A recent conversation about the old-style Chinese restaurants that were so popular in the U.S. and Canada as far back as the 1940s gave me a hankering for some of those classic American-Chinese dishes.  As our society has diversified and choices for a vast array of Asian cuisines have grown, the popularity of that hybrid fare, concocted for the conservative North American palate of the mid twentieth century has faded like an old post card.

I’ve always loved those traditional favourites like moo goo gai pan, chop suey, chow mein and egg rolls but those garlic spare ribs have always been a hit and miss.  It’s often because they get overcooked or the ribs are an inferior cut of meat.  The spare ribs come from the belly side of the pig, and are less bony but much fattier and grislier than the back ribs.  Having had much success with slow roasting baby back ribs, I’ve decided to marry the back rib technique with the sweet Chinese garlic coating.  I hope you’ll find this recipe to be a welcome addition to your next at-home Chinese buffet.


Chinese Garlic Ribs
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
175 calories
44 g
0 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
84 g
758 g
40 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 175
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 758mg
Total Carbohydrates 44g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 40g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Ribs
  1. 1 slab pork back ribs (about 2 lbs)
  2. ½ tsp garlic salt
  3. ½ tsp fresh black pepper
The Sauce
  1. ¾ cup brown sugar
  2. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp ginger powder
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. ½ cup water
  7. 1 tbsp corn starch
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove membrane from the underside of the ribs. Cut ribs into serving portion size. For dinner plates, this is usually three bones per serving; as finger food, one bone per serving.
  2. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over both sides of the ribs.
  3. Place ribs in a large roast pan, bone side down, cover and roast for 1½ hours.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
  5. In a medium bowl dissolve the starch in about ¼ cup of cold water.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well.
  7. After the ribs have cooked for 1½ hours, drain the grease from the pan then pour the sauce over the ribs.
  8. Return to ribs to the oven and roast, covered for another 60 minutes.
  1. Serve with Jasmine or fried rice and stir fried vegetable.
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