Holle loves to cook. She creates a lot of delicious recipes and enjoys sharing them.
You Don’t Know What You’re Missing
I’ve been experimenting with spareribs today by making fried ribs. Yes, I can hear my arteries clogging as I type. Pork ribs were on sale, so I bought two pounds of trimmed spareribs and two pounds of baby back ribs.
I always thought it was sort of a sacrilege to cook baby back ribs with any method other than grilling or smoking, but I changed my mind some time back. Still, I’d really rather use pork spare ribs for frying and save the baby backs for something else. Not that deep-fried pork ribs aren’t like the most awesome culinary awesomeness ever! I’m serious. Have you heard the old saying that when food is amazingly tasty, it’s good enough to make you slap your grandma? Well, these recipes for spare ribs that I’m sharing with you here today are spectacular enough to make you want to slap your grandma, her doctor, her mailman, and her dog!
If you’ve never experienced the culinary glory of deep-fried pork ribs, you don’t know what you’re missing. This ain’t health food, my friend. This is a “heart attack on a plate” that should be a rare treat. That’s okay—it just makes the fried ribs all the more special!
How to Cook Spare Ribs
So . . . you’re wondering how to cook spare ribs. You’ve heard a lot about them, and maybe you’ve eaten them in restaurants, but you haven’t tried cooking them yourself. A slab of pork ribs can look pretty intimidating. It’s big, and it’s full of bones. If it hasn’t been trimmed, the bones go in two different directions, and there can be “flaps” of flesh that you’re not sure how to handle.
I suggest making it easy on yourself by purchasing rib fingers for your spare ribs recipe. These are individual ribs. The racks have been trimmed and sliced into single rib bones, and they’re ready to marinate, rub, or cook.
How to cook spare ribs depends on what type of results you want and how fast you want them. It also depends on how much trouble you’re willing to go to.
- Oven: The easiest way to cook spareribs is probably in the oven, and that’s also one of the quickest ways.
- Grill: Pork ribs on the grill can be tricky, and if you don’t what you’re doing, you can ruin a perfectly good slab.
- Crockpot: Ribs in the crockpot are easy and practically foolproof, but they take hours to get done.
- Fryer: What are the quickest recipes for spare ribs? Fried ribs! Fried pork ribs can be done and ready to eat in less than twenty minutes.
Recipes for Spare Ribs
Below are four recipes for spare ribs. Actually, you can turn these pork recipes into lots more dishes by tweaking them. For example, the last recipe in this article can be used to create some super appetizers, party foods, and snacks. Get creative and have some culinary fun by making your own rib sauces!
To me, pork flesh willingly accepts other flavors, and the meat is adaptable enough that it goes well with scores of different ingredients. Perhaps the following table will give you some ideas!
Ingredients for Recipes and Sauces
bottled BBQ sauce
Pork Rib Rub Recipe
Do you ever use a pork rib rub when grilling or smoking spareribs? You do? Well, a rub for pork ribs that are going to be fried works just as well. I actually experimented with several different rib rubs before I found just the right combination of sweet, salty, hot, and savory.
Remember, though, it’s the right blend for me—it might not be for you. I found that if I left the rub on the ribs for several hours, the flavors would survive the frying process. All the rib rubs I used were dry rubs, and this one turned out to be my favorite for fried ribs.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Mix everything together and use it as a rub for pork ribs, Boston butts, pork chops, or pork loins. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, as needed.
Pork Rib Marinade
Why use a marinade for pork ribs? A pork rib marinade can impart practically any flavor or flavors you choose into the meat. It can also tenderize tough muscle tissue and whip it into juicy, tender submission.
Just be sure your marinade includes some acidic liquid. Also, if the meat you’re marinating is lean, you’ll need to add some oil to the marinade. Because ribs are fatty, your pork rib marinade won’t need extra fat.
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Combine all ingredients, and pour over spareribs or baby back ribs.
- Use a plastic bowl or bag or a glass container for marinating.
- Leave pork ribs in the marinade for at least four hours. I sometimes let my spareribs marinate all night.
Simple Fried Pork Ribs
These fried pork ribs are sort of like the “plain jane” version. They’re easy to make since they don’t require a rub or a marinade. This is so simple that it doesn’t need to be written in actual recipe form. I’ll just tell you, instead.
- Cut the ribs into individual bone sections.
- Sprinkle or rub the meat with salt and pepper, along with any other dry seasonings you like.
- Shake or roll the ribs in plain or self-rising flour.
- Fry in about one-half inch of oil, over medium heat. For softer, less crispy ribs, place the lid on the pan for part of the cooking time.
- Turn the ribs frequently to ensure even cooking and browning.
- Check a rib for doneness after about 15 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels or racks.
- Use some of the cooking greases to make pan gravy, if you like. When the gravy has thickened, add the ribs back to the pan. Put the lid back on and simmer until the ribs reach desired tenderness.
Deep-Fried Pork Ribs
These deep-fried pork ribs are rubbed and breaded. Of the four recipes for spare ribs included here, this one is my favorite! Seriously, these deep-fried ribs are “off the chain,” as my students liked to say. I mean, really—what more could you ask of a humble food? These succulent fingers are a little sweet, a little hot, a little salty, and a little chewy. They’re crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside—just as fried foods should be!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
about 4 servings
- 2 pounds trimmed spareribs
- Rub for pork ribs (from above)
- Self-rising flour
- Oil for frying
- Rinse ribs and pat dry. Remove silver skin from the backs of ribs and cut into individual bones or fingers.
- Make the rib rub from the recipe I included above. Cover all sides of each pork finger with the rub. Place rubbed ribs in a rectangular glass dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours for the best results. If you don’t have time to wait, you’ll still get some awesome fried ribs!
- Pour flour into a bowl or bag. Dredge seasoned ribs in flour and set them on a plate or dish, not touching each other.
- Pour about two inches of oil into a Dutch oven and heat to 360°F.
- When ribs begin to look “pasty,” dredge them again and fry them in the hot oil. Don’t crowd.
- Fry until ribs are brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels.
Naked Fried Ribs
For this recipe, the ribs are fried naked, without any type of dredging or breading. I did, however, use the pork rib rub recipe from above. The sugar content resulted in some wonderfully sticky ribs!
I cut the ribs into fingers and rubbed them with the seasoning mixture. Okay, I know what you’re thinking here: It would be easier to rub the ribs before slicing them. Easier, yes, but not as tasty. The sliced ribs have four sides, while the ribs in the slab have just two sides. Four sides mean more yummy rub sticks to the rib! I left the rubbed ribs in the fridge for less than an hour.
Heat about one inch of oil in a large iron skillet or Dutch oven. 360°F is about the right temperature for frying pork ribs, in my opinion. When the oil is hot, add a few ribs and fry until brown. Drain on wire racks. As I discovered, the sticky ribs will stick to paper towels.
Marinated and Deep-Fried Pork Ribs
This fried ribs recipe is really tasty. It has sort of an Asian flavor, due to the marinade. The longer you leave the ribs in the marinade, the more pronounced the marinade flavor will be. You might want to try leaving the pork in the liquid for just an hour until you find out whether or not you like the flavors.
- 2 pounds spare ribs
- Pork rib marinade recipe (from above)
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Oil for frying
- Slice ribs into fingers and place them in a large plastic food bag. Pour rib marinade over the meat and leave it in the fridge for up to six or eight hours.
- When you’re ready to fry the ribs, pour about two inches of oil into a large, heavy pot. You want the oil to reach around 360 degrees before adding the ribs.
- As the oil heats, remove ribs from the marinade and allow excess to drip away. Shake or roll ribs in the flour-cornstarch mixture. Fry until golden brown and crisp, around 15 to 18 minutes. Drain on paper towels or racks.
For an even yummier version of these fried ribs, toss the fried and drained pork fingers in a sauce. This version is perfect for serving at parties, by the way. You can use regular ketchup-based barbecue sauce, honey mustard, or sweet and sour sauce. The thick type of teriyaki sauce works well, also. You can make your own sauce or glaze, too, if you like. In fact, use the pork rib marinade as the start of a great rib sauce. Just omit the peppercorns and increase the amount of brown sugar. Add the ingredients to a small pot or pan and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness. Place pork in a bowl or dish and drizzle with sauce. Toss to coat. This works best if your bowl has a tight-fitting lid. When all the pork has a nice coating of the sauce, the fried ribs are ready to serve.