The Best Grilled Asian-Style Ribs
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Asian-Style Ribs on the Grill

Are you craving that unique flavor you get from Asian-style food? That flavor is specific to this type of cuisine is called “umami.” Umami is the Japanese word for “savory,” which is one of the five universal human tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. If you love the taste of teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce, then you are in for a treat; this recipe calls for succulent ribs, thick, tangy sauce, and just the right amount of salty and sweet. It’s not our only rib recipe on Backyard Boss. But it’s my favorite.

This Asian BBQ recipe can be altered to make it more spicy or tangy. The following basic steps will help you get your first batch of perfectly cooked and seasoned meat in that delicious flavor you love so much.

Asian-Style Ribs: What You’ll Need

The below recipe will serve 6 – 8 adults.

Meat Ingredients

  • 8 pounds chopped (in half) pork baby back ribs. These pieces are known as “riblets,” and they are basically half-size or quarter-size ribs.
  • ¼ cup adobo or soul seasoning

Sauce Ingredients

Mixing bowl and whisk

We are BBQ sauce experts here at Backyard Boss. This one hits all the perfect notes.

  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • ⅕ cup rice vinegar
  • Chopped green onions *to taste*
  • 1 tbsp crushed ginger
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Some Alternatives

  • To make the meat sweeter: Add ¼ cup peach preserves to the sauce mix.
  • To make the meat more savory: Double up the amount of hoisin sauce.
  • To make the meat spicier: Add more ginger and ¼ cup hot pepper flakes, or chili paste.

Tools & Technology

Meat thermometer

  • Meat thermometer
  • Charcoal or electric grill
  • Mixing bowl and whisk
  • Serving tray
  • Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • Clean area for seasoning and handling raw meat

Asian-Style Ribs: The Process

First, prepare the meat:

  • Wash the meat, and set it on a clean surface for seasoning. Pat dry.
  • Sprinkle adobo all over the meat. Cover everything.
  • Place the meat in a serving tray, wrap it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and put it in the refrigerator while you make the sauce.

The marinade

  • In a bowl, first add the dry ingredients that will make the marinade: brown sugar, cornstarch, green onions. Mix them and blend them together.
  • Slowly incorporate the liquid ingredients, once by one, including the crushed ginger.
  • Whisk everything together until the ginger starts to dissolve in the liquids.
  • Refrigerate the sauce by covering the bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and take the meat for cooking.

Start Grilling

The optimal temperature for the grill is low heat, 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the ribs facing down, or with the meatiest part facing the heat. However, you do not want to cook them over the direct flame. Grilling time ranges from 3 to 4 hours. Remove them when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit; 190 degrees for well done.

While the meat cooks, bring the ingredients of the marinade to a boil, whisking and stirring so the cornstarch thickens the mixture. Once done, bring the sauce to low heat and simmer, eventually removing the sauce from heat as your wait for the meat to finish.

After the meat cooks, get a clean mixing bowl and add the meat; you can also use a large gallon zip freezer bag. Mix the sauce and riblets together. If they are in the bag, zip the bag and shake it vigorously to coat the riblets.

If you want to add a touch of extra Asian flavor, sprinkle with a small dash of sesame seeds, roasted pineapple slices, or red pepper flakes.

Plate Your Ribs

ribs with sauce on cutting board

These delicious riblets go well with a fresh side dish that does not overpower the umami. Something like a house salad, roasted veggies, and water chestnuts. You can also include roasted potatoes or oven-baked fries, both delicious but not overpowering.

White rice is a very popular Asian side dish, as well. If you are new to trying this savory flavor, white rice can help to calm the flavor a bit while adding a different texture. If you have kids, this is also a side dish win!

Do you have a favorite savory umami-tasting BBQ recipe? Be sure to sound off in the comments section and share your great ideas with us.

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