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Spare ribs recipe slow cooked in a rich sauce


spare ribs with rice

Photo: Spare ribs with rice

Before Danny met me he lived in America for three months. Often he refers to the spectacular spare ribs that he ate there.
“One guy spent three days cooking just one pot of ribs. They were superb.”

Unfortunately Danny didn’t get the recipe.

When D’s brother came to visit he made some stunning ribs. His secret ingredient was black bean sauce. Unfortunately we didn’t note down the recipe.

I had a longing for slow cooked spare ribs this week and I had two packs in the freezer that I’d picked up from the Waitrose *CFC which would be a glorious pig out for two but could easily feed four with a starter. The slow cooker (crock pot) is the perfect place to cook spare ribs as long slow cooking certainly enhances the flavours. I was determined to create a recipe that would get the thumbs up from Danny.

This means that there was a lot of snaking upstairs to The Rat Room with tasting teaspoons. The Cottage Smallholder version if an egg and spoon race – with me being the sole runner.

So this recipe was crafted and tweaked by us both and guzzled beside the pond with chilled beers to hand. Full of deep flavours and very moresish. I served it with Basmati rice and a crisp baby raw turnip and pepper salad.

Spare ribs recipe slow cooked in a rich sauce

900g of pork spare ribs
800g of bottled or tinned tomatoes (I used half home bottled and tinned of tomatoes)
65g of brown sugar
1 tbsp of dried coriander powder
I tsp of garlic granules (or one fat clove chopped fine)
3 heaped tbsp of black bean sauce
2 heaped tsp of molasses (black treacle)
1 tsp of vegetable stock powder
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
Half a tsp of smoked paprika
Quarter tsp of cayenne pepper
Half a tsp of salt
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of red wine

At the end
2 tsp of corn flour


Put all the ingredients (apart from the corn flour) in the slow cooker. Set the switch to auto and cook for 5-6 hours (lid on). Alternatively set the switch to high until the sauce is bubbling (this took about an hour) and then switch to low for a further 4 hours or so.

When the ribs are tender, remove them to a dish in a warm place to rest. Pour the sauce into a bowl and skim off the fat – I used our fat and lean gravy boat. Mix the corn flour with a little of the sauce to make a paste and stir this into the sauce. Simmer the sauce gently, stirring every now and then until it thickens. Pour over the ribs and prepare for rapturous applause.
* Condemned food counter

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  1. Paula

    They both sound good, and my tumbly is rumbly, but maybe that’s just because I haven’t eaten breakfast yet…

  2. Danny

    Wow, Natasha, you dad’s spare ribs recipe sounds really mouthwatering. I love star anise and I am with you on thickening or reducing the sauce. We do not cook ribs often enough to be good at it so we will definitely try this next time and report back. Thank you very much.

  3. Natasha

    Oooh you have inspired me to share my daddie’s ribs recipe…its something else.

    12 spare ribs
    one large tbspn honey
    2 large tbspns soy sauce
    4 star anise
    one onion cut in half and speared with cloves
    one red chilli
    6 cloves garlic lightly crushed
    handful peppercorns
    2 tbpsn dry sherry
    one inch thick slice ginger
    dollop of ketchup (sometimes I use chilli jam instead)

    Cover ribs in water and bring to boil, simmer for about one hour.

    Drain water and rinse ribs, add back to pan.

    Add all other ingredients to the ribs and top up with fresh water so they are just covered.

    Simmer for 2-3 hours until they are reduced.

    Now you can either remove ribs at about 2 hours cooking, strain sauce and have as a wet sauce style like you have

    Or (and this is my fave option tbh!)

    cook down until sauce is very sticky but still spoonable. Grill ribs on bbq spooning over excess sauce

    Finger licking good!

  4. Victoria

    That sounds delicious! I’d never thought of doing ribs in the slow cooker, that’s definitely a good idea.

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