Gordon Ramsey's Sticky Ribs

I usually avoid these “Sticky” ribs when I see them on a menu – with all that stickiness often comes a certain lack of sophistication, the sweetness isn’t enough to overcome the blandness. Not so with these ribs – sticky, sweet, sour and full of mind-blowing flavor.

Gordon Ramsey's Sticky Ribs
Gordon Ramsey’s Sticky Ribs – mind-blowing flavor!

I have made a few alterations to Gordon Ramsey’s recipe – I found the first time I made them there was just way too much sauce (I did some cutting back) and, yep, I’m gonna say it, they just weren’t quite as sweet as I’d have liked. I stirred in a bit more honey at the end and fiddled with the method and temperature just a bit to get the most tender ribs. It’s all in the recipe, below.

See, I think ribs shouldn’t “fall off” the bone, nor should they be chewy – there’s a “sweet spot” right in the middle that allows you to take a bite without the whole rib coming apart and slapping you on the chin! You’ll want to test when the rib is close to being done as ovens can vary a bit.

Ramsey says, “The secret to this dish is to get the ribs really well caramelized before you add any of the other ingredients. As they braise in the oven, all that colour will turn into the most amazing flavour. The glaze is packed full of vibrant, citrusy flavours, with the sweetness of the honey counteracting the spices.”

Pork Fried Rice
Pork Fried Rice from Leftover Pork Shoulder or any other type of pork you’d like to use

He’s not wrong! 🙂 And I do have to say I’ve never seen a rib anywhere like these. They’re like amped up super ribs. They’re really no more difficult, either than any of the “easy” crockpot sticky ribs made with ketchup, etc. But they’re better – oh, so much better. I took one look and skipped the napkins and served with dampened towels. 🙂

These are made with St. Louis style rib, a style that’s been harder to find here in the Twin Cities, lately. I find an average, trimmed rack runs about two pounds, but this varies by area, and if they’re skimpy or you’re big eaters, you may want to make two racks. The ribs I bought (on sale, of course) were untrimmed and included the flap meat, cartilage, and tips. Believe me, none of that will go to waste at my house after the ribs have been trimmed.

Posole, Pozole, a rich pork and hominy stew.
Pozole – Sometimes spelled Posole, a Pork & Hominy Stew

As the ribs cooked, I had already started the broth for my Green Chili and Posole. While ribs really don’t “stretch” well, I’ll set aside one or two for some marvelous Pork Fried Rice, which needs very little meat and make sure everyone has a few marvelous sides to go with the ribs. They’ll never even know I’ve squirreled a couple away. I’m thinking Wasabi mashed potatoes and Asian slaw, both budget dishes!

Since I’m making Asian Slaw (which is very cost-effective, and I have three to choose from here) the extra cabbage can go into my Fried Rice and be used in the Pozole, too. The green onion will do double duty, too.

Gordon Ramsey's Sticky Ribs
Gordon Ramsey’s Sticky Ribs – mind-blowing flavor!

Gordon Ramsey's Sticky Ribs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Note: even if I double the recipe and cook two racks, I only increase the sauce by another half.

  • 1 rack Pork Spare Ribs, trimmed, membrane removed, cut into individual pieces*
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes, to taste
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup honey (this is an increase)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce  (this is a decrease)
  • 2 plus tablespoons rice vinegar (go by taste)
  • 1 cup Shaoxing rice wine or medium-dry sherry (this is a decrease)
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (slight decrease)
  • Several Green Onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Have all ingredients measured and at the ready, especially the liquid ingredients added in after the honey is added. At the high temperature needed to brown the ribs, the honey will caramelize very quickly and any bitter or burned taste cannot be remedied. The liquid will need to be added immediately when the honey caramelizes to cool it down.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, massaging the seasoning into the meat.

Heat a roasting tray (my large cast iron pan worked well for one rack) on the stove top with a little olive oil and brown the ribs for 5-10 minutes, turning, until they are nicely browned on all sides.

Remove pan from heat and add the garlic, ginger, chili flakes, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and honey. Return to heat and cook for two minutes or so until the honey begins to caramelize.

Immediately add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and Shaoxing wine and bring to the boil, simmering for 1 minute. Taste and adjust the flavours, adding a little extra honey or vinegar or other ingredients to balance to your liking, if necessary. Be very careful as this will be extremely hot.

Add the spring onions and stock and bring back to a boil. Cover and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover, turn ribs over and cook an additional 30 minutes (you may wish to turn one more time) until the ribs are tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and place ribs on a platter, lightly covered with foil. Bring the marinade to a boil and reduce for 8-10 minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy, stirring often towards the end. A flat spatula works well for this. Keep in mind that the sauce will be a little thicker once it begins to cool slightly. Turn off heat and turn the ribs in the sauce to coat them well.

Garnish with thinly sliced green onion and serve.

Any leftover ribs should be left in the sauce, which will continue to improve! Reheat, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

* Ribs:

  • If your ribs are untrimmed, find the point where the rib ends and the cartilage begins. Using a very sharp knife, turn ribs on edge, flap side up and run the knife (going away from you) across the top. It should separate quite easily.
  • Before separating ribs, turn them over and remove the tough membrane on the “backside.” This is easily done by making a small slice under a corner, then gripping it tightly with a towel or paper towel, pulling it slowly and firmly. Usually, it will come off in one piece.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time, buying at the best prices and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings!
Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:

Gordon Ramsey's Sticky Ribs are like ribs you've never seen or tasted - they're like the la brea tar pit of sticky ribs. The flavor is incredible!!


16 Comments on “Gordon Ramsey’s Sticky Ribs

    • Thanks! And thanks to Gordon Ramsey! I often try out new recipes and they never make it to my blog – so many are flawed, but this one will be in my rotation for sure. I think I’ll also try this same method of cooking for other flavors of ribs because the texture was so perfect!

  1. Hello lovely! Thank you for joining the party this week – have you brought finger bowls too? I reckon there’s going to be lots of sticky fingers!!!! 😉 love that sauce 😀

  2. the Hungry Dad would be droooling if I served up these! Sometimes a little mess at the dinner table is a good thing 🙂

  3. Yum! Haven’t had ribs for ages, but now very tempted by your recipe…! 🙂

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