Chinese Roasted Ribs

February 7, 2023

My father was a cook and taught me how to make Chinese Roasted Ribs. During the 1970s, New York City residents flocked to the Catskills, where we were located, to enjoy the region’s many popular summer resorts. Now known as the Borscht Belt, I knew it as home.

My dad started in the food industry as a roast cook in these hotels. After that, he became the executive chef at a Holiday Inn in Liberty, New York, overseeing the kitchen’s continental and Chinese fare. The 12 oz. Junior Steak, Long Island Duckling, Cordon Bleu, and Chicken Marsala would be on one side of the menu, and shrimp in lobster sauce and Moo Goo Gai Pan would be on the other.

At first, it was just the locals, but word quickly spread about the Holiday Inn’s restaurant, and soon, Jewish tourists staying at the nearby Grossinger Resort came to try something other than Kosher. It was here that I began my career in the hospitality industry. I spent four summers working as a busboy. My duties included clearing and setting tables and kitchen work such as chopping vegetables for Caesar salads, boiling lobsters, and making shrimp toast.

The quality of a Chinese chef’s BBQ ribs quickly became the litmus test for my opinion of his overall competence. One of the measures of success as a Chinese (take-out-style Chinese, at least) chef back then was the quality of your Chinese roasted ribs. The recipe for the BBQ sauce was closely guarded and known only to the head chef.

When I was younger and not yet old enough to work, I visited my dad often, and I have many happy memories of our time together in that kitchen. As soon as the meat came out of the oven, I’d sneak to the back of the kitchen and use my trusty pocket knife to slice off a tiny piece. Even though I might get in trouble for stealing food, it was well worth it. Later, when he opened his takeout joint in New Jersey, my dad used this dish as a staple on the menu.

The original recipe for Chinese roasted ribs sauce called for a 5-gallon bucket, but I’ve reduced the quantities to make just enough for two racks. Find out how to succeed in life by reading this!


  • 5 cloves of garlic(minced)
  • 1 tbsp. of canned pineapple (minced)
  • 1 pc. of star anise (ground in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 tbsp. of salt
  • 5 tbsp. of sugar
  • 2 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. of peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp. of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. of ground bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato puree
  • 5 tbsp. of ketchup
  • ½ tbsp. of five-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp. of orange juice
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • ½ tbsp. of paprika
  • 1 large rack of ribs (or 2 racks of baby back ribs)


  1. To marinate the ribs overnight, spread half of the sauce on each rack. Put any extra sauce in the fridge or freezer for later.
  2. Set an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. After adding 2 cups of water, the pan should be half-filled. This will catch the juices and keep the ribs moist. In a roasting pan, set a roasting rack and add your ribs (rib side up).
  3. Cook the ribs in a low oven for about half an hour. Toss them and keep roasting for another hour. Since baby back ribs are smaller and more tender, less cooking time is required. As the water in the roasting pan evaporates, you should replenish it. If they need more color, there’s still time to broil the ribs for a few minutes.
Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.