Sticky Pork Ribs

Homemade Pork Ribs

Whenever I hear the word Summer, I can hear the sizzling sounds of meat cooking on the fire. I smell the alluring smoke from the braai that brings the promise of a good plate of food when I come to dine al fresco in my back garden in the late midday sun. The clinging of ice cubes invite you to come closer as it sing their happy song in a glistening pitcher of homemade Pimms.

Eating outside means that you don’t have to worry about being messy. True messy eating can only come from eating ribs with your hands. As you slide the flesh off the bones the sauce will stick not only to your hands, but to your face as well. Now that is a good rack of ribs!


  • 1kg rack of pork spareribs
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 15ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 80g soft dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 bottle tomato ketchup (I think they’re about 500-600g)
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • 50ml Mrs Ball’s peach chutney


  1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius if you are not leaving to marinate.
  2. Chop the onion and crush half of the garlic cloves (keep the other half intact).
  3. Fry the onion, garlic, chilli and fennel in the olive oil over a very gentle heat.
  4. Combine the sugar with the honey, ketchup, soy sauce and chutney and pour into the saucepan with the onion mix.
  5. Cook over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Take an oven dish or roasting tray and line it with foil, ensuring that there is enough overhang to cover the ribs later.
  7. Place the ribs in the tray and pour the sauce over, ensuring it is well-covered. Scatter over the remaining garlic and cover. I normally would leave the ribs to marinate overnight, however, it is not necessary.
  8. Once the ribs are covered in the foil, I pour water in the roasting tray (outside the foil packet) to ensure that my ribs don’t dry out. I top this up as needed throughout the cooking process.
  9. The ribs go into the oven for around 2-3hours at 150 degrees.
  10. If the weather is miserable outside, I increase the temperature to about 190 degrees Celsius and bake for another 30 or so minutes until the ribs are gloriously sticky. If it is great weather and we are having a braai, I will finish them off on the fire outside.
  11. Serve with potato salad and pasta salad (recipe to follow). Don’t forget to pop those little garlic cloves out of their skins and spread them over a slice of homemade bread for an instant garlic bread experience.


6 Comments on “Sticky Pork Ribs

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