If there’s a Mother’s Day, I guess it’s only fair that there be a Father’s Day, too. Stereotypes aside, while recipes for Mother’s Day tend to be on the dainty and feminine side of the spectrum, for Father’s Day, bold and hefty flavors seem to be the order of the day.
Here’s a recipe that dads would probably enjoy on this special occasion: grilled spareribs with orange-honey sauce.
The key to successfully pulling off this recipe—and probably any spareribs recipe—is tenderizing the meat and making the sauce. Both tasks are easy enough, thank goodness, but the process does take time: about an hour for the former and 15 minutes for the latter.
Still, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’d say the efforts are worth it. This dish makes a hefty, satisfying meal, on Father’s Day or any day of the week.
One caveat, however: baby-back ribs are not easy to find. Someone once told me that the best ones are mostly supplied to restaurants, leaving the consumers with less choice. A friend buys hers in a big supermarket in Alabang, but those who don’t live anywhere near there must find their own reliable supplier.
An alternative would be premium spareribs, which are more readily available.
Also, if the ribs come in big slabs, you may want to just cut them into four-rib portions yourself when you get home (four-rib portions being about one serving). Or else, if you want the butcher to slice it for you, make sure he understands your instructions clearly.
In my case, I was shocked to find, upon coming home, that the meat had been cut into horrible, messy slices. This after I had clearly specified how they were to be done. I then had to go out and buy spareribs the next day all over again—and this time I pointed out very, very clearly how they were to be sliced. Luckily this meat seller got it right.
So, when you buy the meat, be vigilant. Bring a photo of how you want the ribs cut, if necessary, or perhaps a sketch, to make sure you’re understood by the meat seller. You may also want to check how the ribs have been cut before you leave the meat counter.
Father’s Day Grilled Spareribs with Orange-Honey Sauce
For the ribs:
2 k baby-back spareribs or premium pork spareribs
Salt and pepper
¼ c water
For the orange-honey sauce:
¾ c brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 c orange marmalade
1 c orange juice
½ c soy sauce
½ c honey
1 tbsp Dijon or whole-grain mustard
Suggested side dishes:
Corn on the cob
Steamed baby carrots
Buttered green peas
Tenderize the spareribs:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) for about 15 minutes. Cut the ribs into 4-rib portions. Arrange them in a single layer in a large oven-proof dish, meaty side up. (If they don’t fit in one dish, use two dishes.) Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
Pour in water. (If using two separate dishes, pour ¼ cup water into each dish.) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Cook the ribs in the preheated oven for about one hour or until tender. Remove the ribs from the dish.
Make the orange-honey sauce:
While the ribs are cooking, mix together all the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid thickens slightly, around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Grill the ribs:
When ready to cook: Brush a griller with cooking oil or spray it with nonstick spray to keep the meat from sticking. Preheat the griller to medium-low heat. Measure about 1½ cups of the orange-honey sauce and set aside. Brush the tenderized ribs with the remaining orange-honey sauce. Grill the ribs, basting both sides frequently with the sauce, until the ribs are slightly crusty on the outside, around five minutes each side (do not grill the ribs too long so they don’t toughen).
Reheat the 1½ cups of orange-honey sauce that had been set aside. Serve the ribs with the reheated sauce and the desired side dishes. Makes four servings.
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If you don’t have an oven, you can tenderize the ribs over a stovetop instead. Put the ribs in a large pot then add enough water to cover and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer until ribs are tender, about one hour. Drain the ribs and follow the procedure for grilling.
When cooking the sauce, watch it carefully so it doesn’t boil over.
For the sauce, use orange juice, not orange juice drink.