Caramel Pork Ribs 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Book Report May 14, 2014

Chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz says the French love to eat ribs as much as Texans do. This rendition starts with a homemade caramel that offsets the slight heat in the sauce. The ribs are one-pot, easy and delicious.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2-inch piece peeled ginger root, minced
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons harissa, Sriracha sauce or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds pork ribs, cut into 3- or 4-rib portions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the granulated sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large pot with a cover, such as a roasting pan or a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, undisturbed, until the sugar starts to melt around the edges.

Once the liquefied sugar starts to darken to a pale copper color, gently stir the sugar inward and continue to cook, stirring until the sugar is completely moistened. Cook, stirring infrequently, until all of it is a deep copper-colored liquid, similar in color to dark maple syrup, and smoking but not burnt. Turn off the heat and stir in the brown sugar, then carefully add the beer; steam will rise. The mixture will seize and harden, which is okay.

Let the mixture cool a bit, then stir in the bourbon, cider vinegar, ketchup, ginger, soy sauce, harissa or Sriracha, mustard and pepper. Put the ribs in the pot and turn on the heat until the sauce boils and bubbles up. Turn the ribs a few times in the liquid to coat evenly. Cover and transfer to the oven; roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the ribs are tender but not falling off the bone. Two or three times during roasting, remove the pot from the oven and turn the ribs over.

Uncover and continue to roast, turning the ribs a few times, for 30 minutes or until the juices have thickened a bit and the sauce has created a glaze on the ribs.

Skim any visible fat from the surface of the sauce. Serve hot or at room temperature; pass the sauce at the table.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories," by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2014).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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