Smoked Asian Style Sticky Ribs is the perfect combination of Asian flavors and traditional American style BBQ technique. Warm aromatic spices pair beautifully with wood smoke to create these sweet and tangy sticky ribs.
I am so excited to finally bring this recipe to my site! It’s my brother’s favorite rib recipe I’ve ever made and he has been requesting an update for years. These ribs have a fantastic balance of flavors with just enough sweetness and smokiness to balance out the heat. My kids love teriyaki anything and the flavor notes are similar enough in these ribs that they devour these sticky ribs every time I make them!
Sticky Ribs Recipe Technique
These sticky ribs vary a little from a traditional smoked rib, because I don’t use a low and slow process throughout the length of the cook time. The first step gives these ribs the benefit of low temperatures and smoke exposure at the beginning and then tenderize in a higher temperature braise.
The ribs are tightly foiled in a hoisin and soy based sauce during the braising period and are simultaneously infused with the flavors from the liquid while the tight connective rib tissue softens. After the braise, it’s time for the ribs to get sticky!
Each rib is individually dipped in a sweet BBQ sauce made from the reserved braising liquid, red pepper jelly, and a kiss of tangy vinegar. A final sear on a hot grill takes these ribs from awesome to indescribably delicious. As a last note, don’t be too intimidated by the ingredients list, everything here is generally simple to find at your regular grocery store. Enjoy!
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 4 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup white grape juice or apple juice
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 inch fresh ginger root peeled and sliced
- 6 scallion whites diced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 10 oz red pepper jelly
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- sesame seeds to taste
- 6 scallion greens cut on a diagonal
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with a fruit wood smoke like apple or cherry wood.
Trim the ends of your baby back ribs and remove the membrane from the back. Combine all of the ingredients for the spice rub and sprinkle liberally on all sides of the ribs.
Place the ribs on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 2 hours.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Whisk to ensure all of the sugar crystals have dissolved.
Remove the ribs from the smoker, place them in an aluminum pan, and increase the heat in your smoker to 325 degrees F.
Pour the braising liquid over the ribs and flip the ribs over a couple of times to coat all sides. Flip the ribs so they are meat side down, cover tightly with foil and return to the grill. Cook at 325 degrees F for 3 hours, or until you see the bones sticking out of the meat about 1/2 inch.
Remove the pan of ribs from the grill and increase the heat again to 400-450 degrees F.
Carefully remove the ribs from the pan to a cutting board. Strain 2 cups of the remaining braising liquid into a medium saucepan. Add in the red pepper jelly and the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has reduced by 1/3.
Slice each rack of ribs into individual ribs. Using tongs, dip each rib into the pan with the BBQ sauce until they are coated on all sides with the BBQ sauce.
Return the ribs to the grill for 3-5 minutes, flipping each rib once to tighten the sauce and add just a little char to the edges of the ribs.
Remove all of the ribs to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the scallion greens. Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired.