Vietnamese Caramel Spare Ribs
  • Marinade:
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 4 cups cooked rice, for serving
  1. Marinade:
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Pour marinade into a gallon-size zip top bag, then place the ribs inside the bag (depending on the size of the ribs, you may have to divide this into two bags).
  3. Place bag(s) inside a baking sheet in case of leaks and place in the refrigerator for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
  4. Sear on the Grill:
  5. Heat the grill to around 400 degrees. Brush grill clean and spray grill cooking spray or lightly oil with a clean vegetable oil-soaked paper towel.
  6. Place ribs onto grill and cook uncovered for several minutes on each side (just enough to get a good sear and some charred grill marks). Remove ribs to a clean platter, then place into the crock of a slow cooker set to low.
  7. Caramel Sauce:
  8. In a medium saute pan, combine 1 cup packed brown sugar, ¼ cup water and ¼ cup fresh lime juice. Bring to a medium boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often until the mixture is liquified. Now that the mixture is liquid, continue to cook for about 3 additional minutes or until slightly thickened and beginning to coat the back of a spoon.
  9. Pour caramel mixture over ribs in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours.
  10. Right before serving, carefully remove ribs to a serving platter (they will be falling off of the bone, so using a pair of tongs, carefully lift out each rib, keeping them intact as much as possible; set aside. Loosely tent with foil while finishing off the sauce.
  11. With a ladle or serving spoon, skim off as much fat as possible that has floated to the top of the sauce and discard fat.
  12. Pour remaining sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, reducing the sauce to a syrup-like consistency. Once consistency is reached, immediately remove from heat and whisk in cold butter to finish the sauce.
  13. Pour sauce over the meat on the serving platter and serve immediately with hot cooked rice.
I have recently fallen in love with Botan rice, which is a soft sticky rice that is often also used in paella, risotto, pilaf and sushi. Any rice you like would be great with these delicious ribs.
Recipe by Jennifer Cooks at