Stupendously sticky ribs and chunky coleslaw


  • 1 rack pork spare ribs
  • For the marinade:
  • 150ml coca cola
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chilli
  • 6 tbsp muscovado sugar (use dark for licorice tones, light for less intense)
  • 6 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup (proper not blended)
  • 6 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Chinese five spice
  • For the coleslaw:
  • 1/2 small white cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 200ml light mayonnaise

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Cooking Time: 150 Minutes
Serves: 2
let's get started

We promise that if you go to the trouble of making these ribs, you will never look back. Time consuming, rather than difficult, they are SO worth it. And the sauce is something you could make and bottle to serve with everything. Just omit the marinade stage and cook it down; hoi sin meets barbecue, with a tiny hint of smoky heat. You actually won't find ribs this good anywhere. Being able to cook well is a bit of a double edged sword, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives You never want to eat out as your food is so much better; sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse. Coleslaw off the shelf has become slightly better than it used to be, but when you make your own it is still best and you have more control over how it is cut. It doesn't need bits of pineapple, or pepper, or anything else; carrot, cabbage, onion and mayonnaise is all you need.


1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and pour over the ribs. Cover with cling film and place on the bottom of the fridge for at least 24 hours. Ours went for 48 hrs and were stupidly good.

2. Next day, or so, remove the ribs from the marinade and lay on a roasting rack. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 170/Gas 3 for about 2 hours, or until tender. Strain the marinade into a saucepan.

3. Leave the ribs to cool. You don't have to, but it does make them easier to carve and then move onto the final sticky roasting stage. You have come this far so you may as well go the whole hog.

4. To make the sticky sauce, bring the marinade to the boil. You need a big pan as at first it will bubble and rise like boiling milk. Eventually it will calm down and reduce to a thick sticky sauce. Give it the occasional stir but just leave it to cook down; it will take about 30 minutes and you will know when it is there. Taste it; awesome huh?

5. Make the coleslaw. If you don't want far too much, as we generally do, use the recipe as a guide and follow your own instinct. A small amount of cabbage makes a deceptively large amount of coleslaw. Coleslaw is all about the cut, and by hand is the only way to go. Cut your cabbage in half, and then into quarters. Chop out the central stalk and remove any outer leaves that are puny, or have huge ribs. Working along the side of the quarter, so you get long thin shreds, slice the cabbage as finely as you like it. About 3 to 4 mm (ish) is a good size. Fill the bowl with the amount of cabbage you want.

6. Now the onion. This is important. You don't want to feel slices of onion going off in your mouth, but coleslaw does need the bite of onion. Take your whole onion, and slice it lengthwise through the centre. Place each half on the board and cut off the root end and the leaf end. Now peel off the skin and the first layer of flesh. Two halves of an onion, perfectly peeled without any stress or shards under the fingernails. Cut each half across the centre, horizontally. Now slice really thinly down the vertical length so you get thin slices of onion, but half the length. Chop it all and add it to the bowl.

7. Carrot. Peel it. Here, you can use a knife for the whole process or you can cut the first slices with a peeler. What you want is to break that carrot down into long thin strips. Once that is done, slice the strips into thin shreds (fine julienne). If they are too long, cut them in half. Don't grate them; it is just too fine.

8. Mix the whole lot together with your hands, incorporating it all evenly. Do not add salt; commercial mayonnaise is salty enough.

9. Mix in enough mayonnaise to your liking.

10. To finish the ribs, bring the oven up to 200C/Gas 6 and get the roasting rack ready. Cut the ribs down beside each bone so that you have a pile of separate ribs. Brush each one with loads of sauce, all over, and place them on the rack. A pastry brush makes light work of this.

11. Roast the ribs for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with the rest of the sauce, and serve hot with plenty of napkins. Or if you are posh; finger bowls. Forks for the coleslaw please.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 2641 calories, 1674 calories from fat, 185.6g total fat, 554.3mg cholesterol, 3300.2mg sodium, 2500.5mg potassium, 132.5g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 112.5g sugar, 106.9g protein.