3 ratings

Glazed Sweet-Sour Spareribs Recipe


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.


  • 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.