Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs Recipe

Staff Writer
Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs Recipe
Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs
Jason Wyche

Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs

I suppose you might call these barbecued spareribs, but they’re a long way from true barbecue cooked long and slow over hickory coals. No matter. These ribs are succulent and full of flavor. The perfect accompaniments? Coleslaw and fresh-baked corn bread.

Adapted from "Falling off the Bone" by Jean Anderson.

Click here to see Braising Basics with Jean Anderson.

Deliver Ingredients


  • 6 pounds meaty spareribs, divided into 2- or 3-rib widths
  • Cold water to cover ribs by about 1½ inches
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7/8 cup cider vinegar (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably a dark Asian one
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground hot red pepper (cayenne), or to taste


Place ribs, water, and salt in a large heavy Dutch oven, bring to a boil over moderate heat, reduce heat till water barely bubbles, cover, and simmer until ribs are tender — 1 ¾-2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a small, heavy, nonreactive saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, just until butter melts and sugar dissolves — 3-5 minutes. Taste for cayenne and adjust as needed. Set off heat, cover, and reserve.

When ribs are tender, preheat broiler. Lift ribs from Dutch oven and arrange in a single layer in a very large shallow nonreactive roasting pan. Brush well with the reserved sauce. Discard Dutch oven liquid.

Slide pan into broiler, setting about 5 inches from heat, and broil until brown — 5-6 minutes, brushing at half-time with more sauce. Remove ribs from broiler, turn, and brush flip-sides generously with sauce. Broil 5–6 minutes longer, again brushing with sauce at half-time. Don’t be stingy.

When ribs are glistening and brown, arrange on a heated large platter and spoon any remaining sauce over ribs.

Rib Shopping Tip

Most cattle are fed a diet of grass until they are sent to a feedlot – where they are finished on corn. When possible, choose beef from cattle that are “100% grass fed” - it will be more expensive, but better for your health.

Rib Cooking Tip

The method used to cook beef is dependent on the cut. Cuts that are more tender, like filet mignon, should be cooked for a relatively short amount of time over high heat by grilling or sautéing. While less tender cuts, like brisket and short ribs, should be cooked for a longer time with lower heat by braising or stewing.