This recipe is based on one that appears in the Joyce Chen Cook Book (J. B. Lippincott, 1962) by the author of the same name. For this dish, we like to use leaner, Chinese-style spareribs, also called St. Louis style, from which the breast bones and flaps of cartilaginous meat have been removed.
- 1⁄3 cup hoisin sauce
- 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. dry sherry
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 3⁄4 tsp. red food coloring
- 1⁄4 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
- 1 (2 lb.) slab spareribs, preferably St. Louis style, cut into individual ribs
Whisk together hoisin, soy, sherry, garlic, sugar, food coloring, and spice powder in a large bowl. Add ribs; toss to coat with marinade. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, to let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350°. Arrange a baking rack on top of a rimmed, foil-lined sheet pan. Remove ribs from marinade (reserve marinade); arrange on the rack, meat (not bone) side up. Place pan on middle rack of oven; pour in enough water that it reaches halfway up the sides of the pan, making sure the water does not touch the ribs. Bake ribs for 35 minutes. Baste ribs with reserved marinade; flip and baste again. Bake for 35 minutes more. (Add more water to pan if it dries up.) Raise heat to 450°. Flip ribs again; baste with remaining marinade. Continue baking until ribs are glazed, browned, and tender, about 20 minutes more. Serve with Chinese mustard or duck sauce, if you like.