Oven-Baked Asian BBQ Riblets

from Emily (who loves food)

Riblets. Such a silly word.

These are actually what I would refer to as ribs, because here in New Zealand, this particular cut of meat (short, little ribs with not-much-meat clinging to the bone) are what are labeled as ‘ribs’ in the supermarket. However, to the rest of the world, the idea of ribs brings up images of the American cut – longer, fleshier, heavier. So, to keep my blog world-friendly, I shall call our wee ribs ‘riblets.’

This marinade is sticky, sweet and tasty, though it’s much lighter than normal rib fare. It’s not grossly sweet, nor is it so heavy that it overwhelms the meat – so if you like your ribs coated in a few centimeters of caramelized sugar or gooey barbeque sauce, this probably isn’t for you. Don’t get me wrong though, these riblets still pull their weight in the finger-licking department.

One of the major benefits of these ribs is the fact that you can bake them in the oven – quick, easy and painless. The marinade caramelizes slightly on it’s own to create an amazing golden colour, and you only need to flip ’em over once. Forget about grilling and broiling and messy clean-up.

The fact that these are so healthier than normal ribs means that they’re perfect for painless dinners – pair them up with a crispy stir-fry and some rice, and you’ve got a meal that everyone will love.




Oven-Baked Asian BBQ Riblets – Serves 4

Prep time: 5mins  Cook time: 30-40mins

  • 1 kg pork riblets (New Zealand rib cut)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (or ketchup, if you’re not a bbq fan)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 large/2 small cloves of garlic, grated finely
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

To make it a meal:

  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 4 cups stir-fry vegetables of your choice (I used broccoli, capsicum, snow peas, bean sprouts and green onion)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 1 1/4 cups white rice

Combine the riblets (whole and uncut) in a ziplock back with all the marinade ingredients, ensuring all the meat is getting it’s fair share of juice. Marinade for a minimum of four hours – ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C, and line a roasting dish or baking tray with non-stick foil. Place ribs on the foil, ensuring a little of the marinade remains on top of the ribs, and doesn’t all make a puddle at the bottom.

Bake for 15-20mins, then flip the ribs over to brown the other side. At this stage, you can use some of the marinade that has accumulated on the bottom of the tray to baste the ribs – using a meat baster, or like me, just scooping it up with a dessert spoon and pouring it back over the top.

Bake for a further 15-20mins until golden and sticky, then cut into individual ribs and serve.

To make it a meal:

While the ribs cooking in the oven, and before you’ve flipped them, put  3 cups of water on for the rice to boil. Chop up your vegetables, and heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.

Flip the ribs.

Put the rice in the water, give it a stir then immediately turn the heat down to low and cook, covered for 12mins.

Add the chopped vegetables to the oil (if you’re using broccoli, add this first, as it takes a bit longer to cook – conversely, if you’re using bean sprouts, add them at the last minute, because they don’t need to cook at all!) and stir fry until slightly coloured but still crunchy. Turn the heat down to very low to keep warm.

Drain the rice, then slap back in the pot to keep warm while you cut up the ribs.

Divide the rice, ribs and veggies between four plates.

There, wasn’t that easy?

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