Paean for Pig

Sweet & Spicy Ribs

Yesterday, we decided to prepare a small feast to kick off 2007 Chinese New Year, the Year of the Pig, mostly because T and I had a hankering for a little side o’ pork. I’m pretty sure baby back ribs aren’t one of the traditional symbolic good luck foods associated with Chinese New Year. If we’ve trashed our shot at happiness and prosperity this year, we have only our pork passion to blame.

My daughter A has a thing for pigs; specifically a whimsical creature called the Flying Pig. I’m not sure how she developed this attraction. All I know is that her collection of winged, fluffy pink pig iconography seems to be growing by the day, along with, I might add, a growing sensitivity toward the eating of pigs or any other cute farm animal. I’m afraid we have a budding vegetarian in our midst. Which is interesting, considering how my kids lust after meat.

She didn’t have any problem inhaling these ribs though. The recipe comes from Steven Raichlen’s book Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs. I’ve made a few things from it, and I have to conclude that the man is a genius. The sauce is perfectly salty-sweet and tangy.

To round out the meal, I stir-fried some mushrooms and Chinese broccoli, otherwise known as gai lan. It’s one of my favorite greens, which I’ll tell you more about later.

Chinatown Ribs

Adapted from Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs by Steven Raichlen
Feeds four to six

5 pounds baby back pork ribs (2 racks should do it)
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Chinese rice wine, dry sherry, sake or white wine
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a heavy knife
5 thin slices peeled ginger, smashed with the side of a heavy knife
3 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced

Arrange the ribs in a large pan or baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
Set aside a scant 1/2 cup of the mixture; pour the rest over the ribs, turning them to coat evenly.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours, the longer the better.
Set up a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling, or heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place on the grill rack (or a shallow baking sheet if cooking in the oven), bone side down. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are dark brown, crisp, and the meat is tender enough to pull off the bone with your fingers.

Place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and simmer for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to serve alongside the ribs.

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Bruno said...

These look gooood Karen... Happy New Year! Does eating pig bring you good luck?

Dana said...

Oh my gawd, I actually think I can smell it. I'm waiting for pasta water to boil as I write this and now I want to dump it out and go get ribs.

Karen said...

Bruno, pigs are lucky in my book. We'll see if I/we get some good fortune this year.

Dana, eat some ribs!

Anonymous said...

Why would you eat pigs on that day? Happy New Year! The ribs are really good we made them! Will it really bring us good luck? I sure hope so!