China Red Ribs
After our experiment with the Chinese Pork Hocks turned out more than satisfactory, these succulent fall-off-the-bone sweet and smoky Chinese Spare Ribs were a logical next step. These Chinese pork ribs are coloured bright red by the typical Chinese / Cantonese Char Siu marinade.
Chinese bbq pork or Cantonese pork barbecue is also known as Cha Siu, Cha Sui, Cha Siew, Char Siu, Char Sui, Char Siew, Shao Siu, Shao Sui, Shao Siew, Tsja Siu, Tsja Sui, Tsja Siew, and a few more name variations - all meaning the same thing.
We first marinated these Chinese ribs overnight in a Char Sui marinade, then hot smoked them - slow and easy - for four hours on charcoal briquettes and chunks of oak smoke wood at a temperature in between 250F and 320F.
At Hot Smoke BBQ we like to smoke our porkribs for like 4 hours at medium smoking temperature until you can easily suck the meat right off the bone without using your teeth...
After 3 hours of smoking we started to apply our Hot Smoke BBQ Cha Siu Glazing until these Chinese pork ribs looked bright red and shining!
Actually, these are baby back ribs. In our local supermarkets and butcher shops it is not possible to buy the regular pork spareribs. No worry! From my American friends I understand that this is a blessing in disguise...
For this hot smoked Chinese spareribs recipe you will need the following ingredients:
|Baby Back Ribs or Spare Ribs|
|Cha Siu Marinade|
|Cha Siu Glazing|
China Red Ribs Preparation
Preparation of the meat
For these Chinese spare ribs the preparation of the meat goes as usual:
On the photo above you can see how the hollow side of the slab will look without the membrane. Notice the open structure of the meat!
If necessary, trim the length of the spare rib slabs to suit the size of your barbecue;
Put the spare ribs into the Cha Siu Marinade;
Here you can see clearly why we call this recipe China RED Ribs...
For marinating flat pieces of meat like this Chinese bbq meat I prefer to use a shallow sealable plastic container;
Allow the spare ribs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but prefereably overnight;
Take the spare ribs out to the fridge about one hour before you plan to put them on the grill; In this way you allow the temperature of the ribs to increase a bit already before you expose them to your hot barbecue.
How To Set Up a Weber Grill
Here's some info on how we set up our Weber Grill for maximum performance:
Juancho's Split Grill
To obtain sustained lower heat and improved temperature control, and to increase the grate area and be able to accommodate more meat or larger cuts, I developed an improved hot smoking method whereby the Weber Grill is set up for indirect grilling on one side.
Juancho's Double Grill
Here's the basics for a great BBQ session: China Red Ribs, Juancho's Split Grill, and basket of smoke wood.
Once the barbecue had been set up and pre-heated, I took the pork spare ribs out of the Chinese Cha Sui marinade, put them on the grate above the drip pan, and closed the lid of the barbecue.
China Red Ribs on the barbecue grate
While the top vent holes in the lid will always stay fully open, I shut the bottom vent holes to 1/4 open.
Note: Don't throw away the remaining cha siu marinade. It can be used to make a wonderful Cha Siu Glazing!
Hot Smoked Spare Ribs = Slow Food
As these slowfood pork ribs will have to cook on slow heat for a number of hours, I use a electronic thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature inside the barbecue.
By opening and closing the barbecue's bottom vent holes you can keep the temperature inside the barbecue within a certain range.
For hot smoking spare ribs my goal was to keep the temperature inside the barbecue within the 250F - 320F range (roughly 120-160 degrees celcius).
This may seem very easy, but you have to watch it...
With those bright red Cantonese spareribs sitting in that black backyard microwave, take it easy. Have a seat, have a drink, check the fire, look at that whisp of smoke.
While those ribs are smoking, read a book, listen to your favourite music. Relax.
Keep monitoring the temperature inside your smoker, and try to resist peeking under the lid too often. Every time you open your barbecue you will loose heat, and the cooking process will take longer.
On the other hand, if you have the time anyway, what the heck...
The ribs and everything else looked just fine. I only had to replenish the water in the evaporation bowl.
I then continued at slightly lower temperatures of 250F to 290F, and after about 3 hours of smoking I applied the first layer of Cha Sui Glazing Sauce onto the ribs using a wide brush.
As you can see on the picture, the spare ribs had turned a bit darker.
From this point onwards, the mopping with the Cha Sui Glazing Sauce was repeated every fifteen minutes or so. Meanwhile, the temperature inside the barbecue was kept in between 250F and 270F.
China Red Ribs - after 4 hours of hot smoking.
After 4 hours of hot smoking the bone tips were showing themselves to signify that these ribs were done.
You could leave them on the grill for a bit more, but from this point onwards the ribs will tend to dry.
I transferred the China Red Ribs from the grill to a cutting board, covered them with aluminium foil, and let them rest so the internal juices could redistribute inside the meat.
After four hours of indirect grilling these Chinese barbecue pork ribs turned out sweet and spicy, tender and juicy.
The Pitboss Suggests:
Chinese barbecue meat goes very well together with fried rice and stir fry Chinese vegetables.
You could also simply enjoy these Cantonese barbecue pork ribs with plain white rice and green beans.
Malaysian Rice with Ginger, Garlic and Shallots
Here's some more barbeque "technology", if you like: