Our salt and pepper spare ribs are seriously sticky and mouth-wateringly moreish.
These salt and pepper ribs are a classic Chinese specialty. The secret to their melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and crispy texture is to cook them twice. First, slow-cook them in a slow cooker or casserole dish in a low oven, giving the meat time to leisurely fall off the bone. Then toss them in salt and spices and deep-fry to seal in flavour, and make them extra sticky. You will need to plan ahead with this recipe, as for the best results, we suggest marinating these salt and pepper spare ribs for a couple of hours beforehand in Chinese rice wine and light soy sauce. Enjoy them on their own as a decadent starter, or make a meal of it and serve alongside some easy egg fried rice.
Read our tried and tested reviews of the best slow cookers.
- 1 rack pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
For the spice coating:
- 1tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 1tsp sea salt
- ½tsp Chinese five spice powder
For the marinade:
- 1tbsp light soy sauce
- 1tsp brown sugar
- 1tbsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grind all the ingredients for the spice mix in a coffee grinder to a powder.
- Meanwhile prepare the marinade by mixing half the spice mix and the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag or bowl. Add the ribs and leave in the fridge for at least 2hrs, or overnight.
- Add a little water to a slow cooker and cook the ribs and their marinade on low for 2-3hrs, until the meat is very tender, almost falling off the bone. If you don’t have a slow cooker, put the ribs and a little water in a casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and put them in the oven at 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 for the same length of time.
- Drain the ribs and pat dry. Toss again in the other half of the spice mixture to coat.
- Fill a large frying pan or wok with sunflower oil to a depth of 2cm and heat on the hob. When the oil is smoking hot, deep fry the ribs in batches for 1-2 mins. Drain on kitchen paper. Transfer to a plate and serve.
Top tips for making salt and pepper spare ribs:
Be sure to buy ribs that have already been individually cut to save you the time and task. Independent butchers or meat counters at supermarkets should be able to help you out with this.
Parenting advice, hot topics, best buys and family finance tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies.
Fortune cookie are actually pretty easy to make at home with our classic recipe. Also, when you make your own you can personalise the fortunes!
By Rosie Conroy Published
Make some traditional Chinese dumplings with this easy recipe. Fill Chinese dumpling pancakes with a mixture of pork, soy sauce, spring onions and cabbage for a fresh-tasting filling
By Octavia Lillywhite Published
Egg fried rice
This classic Chinese special egg fried rice is ready in minutes. Simple and easy to make, this dish would make the perfect side dish for a Chinese meal
By Jessica Dady Published
Our aquafaba pavlova is an egg-less, vegan twist on the humble dessert and it’s made in four steps.
By Rose Fooks Published
Our grape focaccia is delicious warm or cold and tastes similar to an oozy jam doughnut
By Rose Fooks Published
Orange polenta and olive oil cake
This orange polenta and olive oil cake has just a handful of ingredients and will taste even better if you can bake it a couple of days ahead.
By Rose Fooks Published
Kate Middleton has reportedly ‘FaceTimed’ her kids everyday while in hospital as Prince William holds down the fort at home
The Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery in The London Clinic
By Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse Published
5 easy ways to let children take risks (without your anxiety going through the roof)
Here's why allowing children to put themselves in 'healthy' risk situations is actually good for them
By Selina Maycock Published
I’m a child psychologist - this 2-step technique will stop your kids answering back… and it sounds so easy
We've spoken to a child psychologist and parenting expert about how to handle kids who answer back, and she shared a simple two-step tip.
By Ellie Hutchings Published