American Chinese Main Course Pork Recipes

Chinese Garlic Ribs

Slow roasted baby back ribs with the classic Chinese restaurant-style sweet and savoury garlic sauce. | Share

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 postcard.

Chinatown, San Francisco, CA. USA. Photo: Brett Sayles

I’ve always loved those traditional favourites like moo goo gai pan, chop suey, chow mein and egg rolls but those garlic spareribs 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 roasted baby back ribs, I’ve decided to marry the back rib technique with the classic Chinese restaurant-style, sweet garlic sauce.  I hope you’ll find this recipe to be a welcome addition to your next at-home Chinese buffet.

Chinese Garlic Ribs

Chinese Garlic Ribs

Kevin Lamoureux
Slow roasted baby back ribs with the classic Chinese sweet garlic sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 477 kcal


The Ribs

  • 1 slab pork back ribs about 2 lbs
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp fresh black pepper

The Sauce

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch


  • 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.
  • Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over both sides of the ribs.
  • Place ribs in a large roast pan, bone side down, cover and roast for 1½ hours.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
  • In a medium bowl dissolve the starch in about ¼ cup of cold water.
  • Add the starch mixture and remaining ingredients to a small pot, stir well, and bring to a low boil until well blended and slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
  • After the ribs have cooked for 1½ hours, drain the grease from the pan, turn over the ribs (bone side up), then pour the sauce over the ribs.
  • Return the ribs to the oven and roast, covered for another 60 minutes.


Serve with Jasmine or fried rice and stir fried vegetables.
Keyword garlic, ribs

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