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Sticky Five-Spice Spare Ribs 

Food and Prop Styling Shiri Feldman
Photography Hudi Greenberger

I love, love five-spice, but I know it’s a bit of a strong flavor and not usually found as a pantry staple. Let this recipe change your mind! It’s a small amount, but it packs a serious punch. And once you come to love the warm clove/cinnamon/anise notes as much as I do, add a pinch to soy-sauce-based marinades and dressings for a little extra something special.


  • 4 lbs (1.8 kg) spare ribs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hot paprika (or sweet if preferred)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup stock or 1 cup water mixed with 1 Tbsp soup mix
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sweet sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Tonnelli Original BBQ Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).

Mix spices and oil and coat the meat in the mixture. In a separate bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Brush spare ribs with the sauce, reserving about half the sauce for later (I pour it out in advance, so it’s not contaminated). Place in a pan and add stock. Cover tightly and bake for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.

Remove pan from oven and raise oven heat to 400°F (200°C).

Transfer ribs to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush well with sauce. Bake for 15 minutes, brushing with sauce halfway through.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 859)

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