Asian Pork Riblets

Difficulty Easy

Saucy, sticky, glazy. A little Korean, a little Chinese. These Asian Pork Riblets were one of my favorites from my Korean grandmother’s kitchen. Now they can be yours, too.

My Korean Grandmother or Halmoni grew up in North Korea, near the Chinese border. Her father was a businessman who traded goods with China. He spoke Mandarin, hired Mandarin-speaking servants, and liked to eat Chinese food.

Halmoni’s palate, like her father’s, was a mix of two worlds. Eventually, she became a grandmother who loved to eat and cook all kinds of fusion food.

Asian Pork Riblets was one of the dishes that Halmoni cooked on a semi-regular basis. Not exactly Korean and not exactly Chinese. Maybe a little bit of both? With soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and vinegar — these Asian riblets were always a saucy, sticky, glazy favorite of mine!

Today, they are a favorite with my own kids. We eat Asian Pork Riblets with rice and sauteed leafy green veg. And also, kimchi. There are rarely leftovers!

What are Riblets?

Riblets are commonly found in Asian cooking. They are smaller than regular ribs, with a little bit of bone and meat attached to each bite.

Riblets are actually regular-sized pork ribs cut across the bone into smaller chunks. Think of them as mini-ribs.

The smaller size makes them perfect for weeknight cooking. They cook quickly and taste good with the Asian flavor base of soy sauce and ginger.

Riblets are also small and nubby, perfect for picking up with chopsticks and eating with rice. They are fun to eat and very child friendly. My kids love them!

Ingredients:

  • Pork Riblets. Rich and flavorful, they cook quickly into tender little nubs of pork.
  • Ginger. The aromatic prevents the pork from tasting and smelling too gamey and porky.
  • Soy Sauce. Also known as Regular Soy Sauce or Light Soy Sauce, adds all kinds of umami depth and saltiness. Do not use the low-sodium kind!
  • Dark Soy Sauce. Thick and syrupy with more molasses flavor than regular soy sauce. Adds richness and dark, rich color.
  • Rice Vinegar. Adds that tangy, special flavor. Add some at the beginning of the cooking process — and a little sprinkle at the end, right before serving!
  • Brown Sugar. Makes for a glazy, syrupy, salty-sweet sauce.

How to make Asian Pork Riblets:

1. Cut pork riblets into 2-inch sections, between bone segments. The riblets should be roughly the same size.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp neutral oil in a large stock pot. When the oil shimmers, add ginger and stir until golden and crispy looking.

3. Add pork riblets and stir until slightly browned. Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir until riblets are well coated. Then cover and simmer on low heat until tender.

4. Remove lid and raise heat to medium. There will be a lot of liquid in the pot. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving a sticky, saucy glaze.

5. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp rice vinegar. Serve immediately and enjoy.

FAQ:

Where can I find pork riblets?

Pork riblets are easily found at the Asian grocery store. If you can’t find them, substitute with baby back pork ribs. FYI they will take longer to cook.

What kind of cooking pot should I use?

A stock pot with a tight-fitting lid works best. The cooking process involves covering the riblets and cooking at medium-low heat so the riblets steam until tender.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, this recipe easily doubles and triples. For my family of 5, I always make a double batch for dinner and pack leftovers into lunches the next day.

Why can’t I use low-sodium soy sauce?

You can certainly use low-sodium soy sauce if you like — but that’s not how the recipe was developed and tested. The final result will not taste the same.

Generally, I don’t prefer cooking with low-sodium soy sauce because the flavor is flat and somewhat lacking. Also, low-sodium soy sauce leaves behind a strange aftertaste. I prefer regular soy sauce, used in moderation.

Serve with:

For an easy dinner, serve with rice and kimchi. Or, add steamed vegetables or sauteed greens.

Other easy recipes:

hands holding dark plate with asian pork riblets

Asian Pork Riblets

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Saucy, sticky, glazy. A little Korean, a little Chinese. These Asian Pork Riblets were one of my favorites from Halmoni's kitchen. Now they can be yours, too.
4.91 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian, Fusion Food
Servings 4
Calories

Equipment

  • Large stock pot with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs Asian style riblets
  • 3 inch fresh ginger thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (regular white vinegar also works, if you don't have rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 (packed) cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (at end of cooking process)

Instructions
 

  • Prep riblets. Cut pork riblets into 1 to 2-inch sections, between bone segments. They should be roughly the same size. Set aside.
  • Saute ginger. Heat 1 Tbsp neutral oil in a stock pot over medium high heat. When the oil shimmers, add ginger and stir until golden and crispy looking, about 1 minute.
  • Cook. Add pork riblets and stir until slightly browned, about 2-5 minutes.
  • Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir until the pork riblets are well coated, about 2 minutes. Cover and lower heat to medium low. Simmer until pork riblets are tender, about 18-22 minutes. Stir about halfway through to make sure the riblets are evenly coated with sauce.
  • Reduce liquid. Remove lid and raise heat to medium. There will be a lot of liquid in the pot. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving a dark and sticky glaze, about 10-12 minutes. Turn off heat and immediately add remaininsprinkle tsp rice vinegar, stirring thoroughly.
  • Serve. Enjoy with rice and green vegetable of your choice. Enjoy!

Notes

*The extra 1 tsp rice vinegar added at the end of the cooking process adds TONS of flavor!  Don’t forget this important last step!
Keyword Asian, Ribs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
All Recipes, Asian, Korean, Main, Popular Recipes, Pork, Potluck, Weeknight Meals

16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is amazing! And so easy to make. Thankfully the first time I made it I did have riblets. I went to make it a second time today at my 11 year old’s request and they stopped selling the riblets at our store. I even asked an employee at the meat department! We live in a small town in rural east Texas, so we don’t have a lot of options. We decided to substitute chicken wings as it was the least expensive cut of meat we could think to substitute, and I didn’t think my knives would fare well with rib bones from babyback ribs. It turned out great! Looking forward to finding more riblets in the future though as the recipe is perfect as it is. Dark soy sauce is also super easy to make if you cannot find it in store. This is one of my son’s favorite meals now. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Where do you buy Asian ribleta!

  3. Diane White

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner and it deserves rave reviews. So delicious! My riblets took 45 min to braise tender. I also added water twice for the additional time it took to braise. Japanese rice vinegar cucumbers were the perfect side along with plenty of rice.

  4. Michelle Jayne FitzHenry

    5 stars
    Would you happen to have the nutrition information available for this recipe? Thank you 😊

  5. 5 stars
    This is the 5th time making your recipe. My family loves it! I go out looking for this specific rib cut just to make this recipe. So yummy!

  6. 5 stars
    Outstanding! The second time I made these I added 2 tablespoons honey and 3 crushed red chili peppers. Really added some good flavor. My family loves them.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Liz!
    I made these today and they’re absolutely amazing! I’m so glad I found this recipe online! I may try making these in the pressure cooker next. Thank you for sharing your recipe! God bless!

  8. 5 stars
    I have bookmarked this recipe and come back to it several times. Always always a hit.

  9. 5 stars
    Can I make this in a crockpot

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious! My husband is Vietnamese and I have been trying to find a recipe like this that would come close to what his mom would make for him growing up. I finally found it in this recipe. Thank you for sharing. We love it!

  11. Cecilia Cheung

    Delicious and easy to make!!

  12. I made these ribs for dinner tonight and they were a hit. Thanks for the recipe 😊

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