Chinese Sticky Ribs
2 racks pork ribs (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds each), preferably St. Louis cut or baby back ribs (Regular full-size spareribs will not work in this recipe; they are too large and fatty).
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 (6-inch) piece ginger , peeled and sliced into rounds
6 garlic cloves, smashed
strips of orange peel from 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
30 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves , stems chopped coarse (reserve leaves for glaze)
8 scallions , white parts cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve green parts for garnish)
1 (10-ounce) jar hot red pepper jelly (see related tasting)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Minced scallion greens greens
1. For the ribs: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. With tip of paring knife, loosen membrane on underside of each rack of ribs. Grab membrane with paper towel and pull it off slowly in single piece. Combine remaining ingredients in large roasting pan. Add spareribs to pan, turning to coat both sides, and arrange meaty side down. Cover pan tightly with foil and cook until just tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer ribs to large plate.
2. For the glaze: Strain 3 cups cooking liquid from roasting pan into large nonstick skillet (do not wash roasting pan) and discard solids and remaining liquid. Using wide spoon, skim fat from liquid. Stir in jelly and vinegar. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until syrupy and reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and cayenne.
3. Heat broiler (do not raise oven rack). Pour enough water into roasting pan to cover bottom and fit pan with flat roasting rack. Reserve 1/2 cup glaze for serving. Arrange ribs on rack meaty side down and brush with glaze. Place roasting pan back on middle rack in oven and broil until beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip ribs over, brush with more glaze, then broil, brushing ribs with glaze every 2 to 4 minutes, until ribs are deep mahogany color, 9 to 12 minutes (watch broiler carefully). Transfer ribs to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Slice between bones, transfer ribs to platter, and brush with reserved glaze. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve.
Make Ahead: The ribs and glaze can be prepared through step 2 up to 2 days in advance. Wrap the ribs tightly in foil and refrigerate. Transfer glaze to microwave-safe bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Before serving, allow ribs to stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Heat glaze in microwave on high power until warm, about 1 minute. Proceed with step 3 as directed.
Hoisin sauce can be found in the international aisle of your supermarket. Use a vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of orange peel. For tips on removing the membrane from the ribs as directed in step 1, see related quick tip.
Removing the Membrane
Many rib recipes require that you remove the tough membrane from the underside of the rack. Here’s how we do it:
1. At one end of the rack, loosen the membrane with the tip of a paring knife.
2. Grab the membrane with a paper towel to keep it from slipping. Pull slowly-it should come off in 1 piece.