Crispy Pork Riblets Made from Cows

Do you guys remember in my last cooking entry where I mentioned that maybe my genius is I’m so manipulative that I manipulate myself? My genius sub-conscious has struck again!

Or maybe I’m just bad at taking notes/paying attention to detail.

It’s probably the latter, but you know what? Reality sucks. It blows. I kind of just want to be a delusional girl living in a material world. That’s what everyone else does and they seem happy.

Alas, I cannot delude myself for too long. I start out delusional about things and then my matrix plug gets taken out. I start out all happy and delusional, but then Morpheus comes along and is all like, “Hey Rachel, would you like to take this red pill?”

“Yeah! Hit me with some truth Morphman!”

“Are you sure? You could stay in this world where you think you made a recipe correctly or that the good you see in people actually does exist?”

Morpheus can’t even complete this warning to me, because as he’s talking I up and snatch that red pill like Violet does to Willy Wonka.


I don’t blow up or turn violet, but soon after I’m already wishing I stayed in the Matrix and continued to delude myself with fake steak like this guy.


It wouldn’t have taken me that long even

As you may have guessed from the title, I accidentally made beef riblets instead of pork riblets. This is because when I was writing my ingredients list I just wrote, spare ribs, about 3 pounds. I mean cows are the only animals we eat with ribs to spare right?

I don’t actually believe that. I’m not that ignorant.

Despite this, the recipe still turned out well, but I’m sure it’s even better with pork. Being that this is a recipe from the Portlandia cookbook, though, it’s nice to have something comedic to say. I guess. I don’t know. Can I go back to the matrix now?

Here’s what you need

  • 2 medium racks (about 3 pounds) of PORK spareribs, cut lengthwise in half
  • 6 smashed large garlic cloves
  • 1 quartered onion
  • 1 halved serrano or jalapeno chili
  • 4 lightly smashed lemongrass stalks
  • 8 1/4 inch slices of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Korean chili flakes or Aleppo
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt

The first step is to make the ribs by preheating the oven to 350. You then place your ribs in a large dutch oven with garlic, onion, chili, lemongrass, ginger, broth, soy sauce, and 4 cups of water. If you don’t have a dutch oven by the way, you can use a large pot, as long as it’s oven safe that is. Whatever cooking tool you use, you’re going to bring the contents in it to a boil.

Once it’s at a boil, cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours. Every once in a while check up on the ribs by turning them over too.

Now here’s where the directions in the cookbook confused me, because after the two hours are up it says to place the riblets aside on a platter and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. That seems straightforward enough but I was a bit confused as to whether I was supposed to drain the liquid or not. It states to drain the liquid after noting the fridge part, but it confused me as to why I would need to transfer the meat if that step was listed later. So I ended up keeping everything together and letting my meat set for four hours. It didn’t seem to ruin anything, so I think I made the right choice.

Unfortunately, when I did strain the liquid after refrigerating, I also threw out the drain. Don’t do this because you’ll need it later for the glaze.

Anyway, after removing the meat from the liquid you’re going to prepare the meat for a little shake and bake. The cookbook says to place the  meat in a large paper bag. I did not have a large paper bag, so I used the less fun method of mixing it in a bowl. If you’re not fun or cool like me you can do that as well. If you use the paper bag method, you will need to get a bowl and mix the cornstarch and flour together and then pour the mix into the bag for shaking. Otherwise just add the meat to the bowl. It does the same thing, it’s just not as fun.

The next step is to prepare your spareribs for frying. To do so, heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan for a degree of 375. Once you’ve reach that level of intensity, you will fry the meat until they are brown and crispy. This should take about 6 minutes.

Once fried, remove the meat from the oil and drain the excess oil off with paper towels.

While this is happening, you can make your glaze by combining the marmalade, the leftover cooking broth, ketchup, mustard, sesame oil, and fish sauce in a food processor. If you accidentally threw the cooking broth down the drain, you can do what I did and add 1/4 of a cup of water. It won’t add as much to the flavor, but it helps with the mixing.

When everything is properly mixed, you add the mix to a saucepan to simmer for about 5 minutes. You want it to simmer under medium heat and it should look glossy when it’s ready.

Once it’s ready, you then take 2/3 of the sauce and mix it with the ribs by tossing in a large bowl. Once that’s complete, arrange your meat on a platter of your choice and sprinkle it with the chili flakes and salt.

The remaining sauce can be used for extra dipping or you can just ignore that like I did and glaze the crap out of it because you know you’re going to pour the extra on there anyway so why not do it sooner rather than later.

My final result, despite it being beef instead of pork was scrumptious. In the Portlandia cookbook this is supposed to consumed as an appetizer, but I made some rice and ate it as an entree. It ended up being a nice, full-filling meal and I do recommend trying it out!