5-Spice Pork Ribs with Smothered Onions and Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce

Finger-licking ribs served with a piquant cranberry sauce make a great dish in Tom Berry's festive American classic
5-Spice Pork Ribs with Smothered Onions and Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2.1666666666666665 hours 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight soaking
  • Effort: easy



  • 2 tbsp chinese five spice
  • 200 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 kg baby back pork ribs, (about 2 whole racks), each rack cut in half
  • 2 medium onions, cut in half and then sliced ½cm thick
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt, and freshly ground black pepper

For the spicy craisin BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 165 g craisins, (sweetened dried cranberries)
  • 500 ml cranberry juice
  • 125 ml mirin, (Japanese rice vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp chipotle chillies, (ideally canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce), chopped
  • salt, and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pan, place the Chinese 5-spice powder, sugar, sea salt and a generous amount of cold water. Mix together until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

2. Add the bay back pork ribs into the liquid, so that they are totally covered. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

4. Line a roasting tray with enough kitchen foil to completely cover and seal the pork ribs. Evenly spread the sliced onions on the foil and place the butter on top. Remove the ribs from the liquid and season both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper.

5. Place the ribs in one layer on top of the onions, and fold the foil over making sure to tightly seal the package. Roast undisturbed for 2 hours.

6. Meanwhile heat the canola oil in a small saucepan. Add in the onion and garlic and fry gently, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

7. Add in the sugar, craisins, cranberry juice, vinegar and chipotle peppers.

8. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Puree the sauce in a blender until very smooth, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

9. Remove the ribs from the oven, unwrap and baste them with Spicy Craisin BBQ Sauce.

10. Increase the 180°C/gas 4. Bake the ribs uncovered for 10 minutes until the sauce is lightly browned.

11. Divide the smothered onions onto four plates and serve with one half rack per person.

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