If you browse this blog very much, you’ll see that I go a little gaga over Asian, Mexican and Cajun foods. I think it’s because I’m drawn to bold and spicy flavors. Vietnamese Pork Spare Ribs, also known as thịt kho or sườn kho, have the very flavors I crave: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and garlicky.
These tender ribs are really very easy to make, they just take a little advanced preparation to marinade them overnight, which makes them outstanding.
I took the additional step of grilling the ribs to add a smoky depth of flavor, which brings out the taste I get when I’m at a Vietnamese restaurant. You can skip this step if you want. I think they’ll still be very good, however I like the flavor of the char on the meat that contrasts with the sweetness of the glaze. Enjoy Vietnamese Pork Spare Ribs over steamed Botan rice.
Vietnamese Caramel Spare Ribs
- 2 large shallots minced
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
- 1/2 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons cold butter
- 4 cups cooked rice for serving
- 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).
- Place bag(s) inside a baking sheet in case of leaks and place in the refrigerator for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
Sear on the Grill:
- 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.
- 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.
- In a medium saute pan, combine 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 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.
- Pour caramel mixture over ribs in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour sauce over the meat on the serving platter and serve immediately with hot cooked rice.