Spicy Baby Back Ribs

This recipe, adapted from A-Frame, chef Roy Choi’s restaurant in Culver City, Calif., is part of a menu inspired by Hawaiian cuisine. Choi encourages diners to eat with their hands, so toss etiquette out the door and connect with these spicy ribs with reckless abandon.


  • ½ orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 whole star anise
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ sprig each thyme, rosemary and oregano
  • 1 small knob peeled ginger
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 ½ pounds baby back pork ribs
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • cup oyster sauce
  • cup black bean chile-garlic sauce
  • ¾ cups sambal chile sauce
  • cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¾ cups orange juice
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

      2227 calories; 184 grams fat; 41 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 81 grams monounsaturated fat; 50 grams polyunsaturated fat; 75 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 40 grams sugars; 71 grams protein; 237 milligrams cholesterol; 9528 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

2 servings


  1. Juice the orange and lemon; reserve the rinds. In a large pot, combine the juices and rinds with the remaining braising liquid ingredients and 8 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Strain, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids.
  2. Place the ribs in a large pot, cutting them up, if necessary, to fit. Pour the braising liquid over, bring to a simmer over high heat, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, until the ribs are tender, but not falling off the bone, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove ribs from braising liquid and discard liquid. Cool ribs for about 1 hour. Slice into individual ribs and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, at least 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: in a bowl, whisk the hoisin, oyster and black bean and sambal chile sauces with the rice wine vinegar and orange juice.
  4. In a large heavy pot, heat enough peanut oil for deep-frying, to 350 degrees. Fry the ribs in batches until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss the ribs with the sauce in the bowl until completely coated. Serve garnished with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

3 hours, plus cooling

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