sticky maple spareribs

The origin of the expression "spare ribs" is not definitive. It is clearly not because they are actually "spare". (I'm sure the unfortunate pig or cattle would argue that they had none to spare!) It is most likely that thee word 'sparerib' is an English interpretation of a German butchers' term 'ribbesper', pork ribs roasted on a spear. Although "spare" might also refer to the fact that they are not usally very fatty, nor very meaty.

Spareribs have always been an inexpensive cut of pork or beef. My mother told me that her father had introduced his family to what were considered somewhat exotic dishes in 1930s Scotland; a taste for which he had acquired in the army serving in the Far East during the '20s. When my grandmother went to the local butchers in Greenock, to buy spareribs, the other women there would give her pitying looks for what they considered to be her family's apparent poverty. And probably the fact that she brazenly didn't appear to be keeping up appearances by trying to hide it!

It seems hard to imagine that this staple of barbecues and parties could be considered a hardship. Yes, there isn't much meat on the ribs, but half the pleasure is the sticky gnawing right down to the bone!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

1.4kg pork spare ribs
175ml maple syrup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ mustard powder
fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the maple Syrup, Worcestershire sauce, chilli sauce, red wine vinegar, onion and mustard powder in a pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  4. Pour sauce over spareribs and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, basting frequently until sticky.
  5. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess they are quite a cheap cut. But the amount we eat at home doesn't make it cheap! :D This looks fabulous - I can almost taste that sweet stickiness.