Sunday, November 8, 2009

Easy Spare Ribs

Spare ribs or spareribs are a variety of pork ribs cooked and eaten all over the world forming major part of various cuisines, including Chinese, American and Filipino. They are a long cut from the bottom section of the ribs and breastbone of the pig, just above the belly and behind the shoulder as oppose to baby back ribs which are from the top of the rib area along the back. It includes about 11 to 13 long bones. After the removal of the bacon part or belly cut (“liempo”), there remains a covering of meat on top of the bones as well as between them. It is considered to be more meaty and succulent than baby back ribs. A slab can weigh between 1 and 2 kilograms, with heavier slabs usually cut into smaller and more manageable racks.

The term spareribs does not refer to extra ribs. The name actually came from the German term “Rippenspeer” which literally translates to "spear ribs," as this cut was traditionally roasted on a spit or spear. In English, it became ribspare which later on became spareribs. The term not only refers to the practice of roasting the meat on a spear or spit, but it is the reasonable description of the cut itself, being spare of meat.

In Chinese cuisine, spare ribs are generally first cut into 3-4 inch sections, then may be fried, steamed, or braised. In the Cantonese cuisine of southern China, they are generally prepared red in color and roasted with a sweet and savory sauce called “char siu”.

In American cuisine, spare ribs are generally cooked barbecue or grilled on an open fire and are served as a slab, bones and all, with a sauce. It is often feature as a part of an appetizer platter.

In Philippine cuisine, spare ribs are popularly cooked by stewing with vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes and “saba” banana in a dish called “linaga”. It is also cooked on barbeque or grill. The marinade usually composed of soy sauce, calamondin (“calamansi”) or lemon juice and garlic. Sometimes brown sugar is added making the resulting dish similar to that of the Chinese “char siu”.

I have a pretty simple way of cooking spareribs when I’m in a hurry and have very limited time. The dish results to very succulent ribs with sweet and savory sauce. For the 1 kilogram of spareribs cut up to 2 inches squares as shown above, the other ingredients needed to make the dish are: 1 head garlic, 2 tbsp vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup soy sauce, ¾ cup broth (not shown), 1 tbsp beer and ½ tsp ground pepper.

Crush, peel and mince the garlic. Place in a deep bowl and mix all the other ingredients. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar and blend everything into a dark sauce like this:

Then in a deep casserole, place the washed and thoroughly drained spare ribs. Pour the sauce mixture and cook on medium heat. Once the liquid boils, lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender with occasional stirring. The sauce will be reduced and sticky, basically coating the pieces of spare ribs. Transfer to a large platter and serve with steamed rice.

This is a fool proof dish. Even beginners can cook this. It’s so easy and yet so yummy. Enjoy! c“,)

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