I’ve made these ribs hundreds of times. I love demoing it at food festivals, I’ve taught it in dozens of cooking classes, and I make it at home regularly. Friends and family clamor for the recipe, and are surprised at just how easy this dish is to whip up at home. You can find the black beans at Asian grocery stores. Make sure you buy the unseasoned version.


  • 5 lbs pork spare ribs, cut into 3" pcs by the butcher
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 7 tbsps fermented black beans, (not the seasoned variety)
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • 15 cloves garlic, whole, smashed & peeled
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup rice wine
  • 8 dried chili peppers
  • ½ cup minced scallions


1. Combine the beans, garlic, soy, sugar, hoisin, oyster sauce, sake, and water. Place a large cast iron pot or heavy enameled casserole on high heat.
2. Add oil and swirl. Add the scallions and chilies. Swirl and add the ribs. Toss for 4 to 5 minutes. DO NOT SCORCH.
3. Give the seasoning a stir and add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir. Lower to a simmer. Cover. Cook for 1 hour stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Pour off sauce and degrease.
5. Transfer ribs and ‘cleaned sauce’ to a second pot and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Sauce should reduce to a rich consistency. Serve.




Andrew Zimmern


4 servings




Asian : East Asian