Caramel Pork Ribs – Cook-the-Book-Fridays

We haven’t had pork ribs for a long time; we haven’t had pork ribs this good for even longer. Succulent, tender to the bone with a rich decadent sweetness to them. More than that, I like this simple recipe from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. You start with making the caramel sauce in a Dutch oven. Put in the pork ribs. (I did not get 4 pounds of ribs as called for in the recipe. I bought about 3 1/2 pounds, just enough to cover the bottom of a large Dutch oven in a single layer.) The pot then goes in the preheated oven for about two hours. It doesn’t get more simple than that.

You can’t tell that so little effort is needed to deliver something so spectacular. The change in the aroma in the kitchen certainly had heightened my expectation. From the stringent vinegar aroma in the beginning, to the unmistaken smell of meat roasting in the oven, to the smoky barbecue smell at the finish line, you knew some delicious food will appear on the table. What you might not have expected was how amazingly tender, juicy, and finger-licking good these ribs were.

It’s hard to put my fingers on what makes these ribs so delicious. The flavor, the scent, the texture or all of the above?

There were a lot of ingredients that went into the sauce braising the pork ribs: granulated sugar, brown sugar, beer, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, minced ginger, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce (or any hot sauce), Dijon mustard and ground black pepper. Every ingredient served as an integral part of the finished sauce, and naturally, the ribs. Making the caramel sauce base was a worthwhile experience. You poured the cold beer into the smoking hot copper-color caramel, followed by the bourbon, vinegar and the rest of the ingredients. The mixture expanded like a rising tide, seized and then hardened. It raised my heart rate just watching this spectacle unfolding before my eyes and almost to my face. Anyhow, I do look forward to doing it again, albeit with greater caution. That was fun!

The ribs went into the Dutch oven, covered and roasted in a 350°F oven for about two hours. In the final 15 minutes (30 minutes would have been too long in my case), the lid was removed to allow the juice to thicken in the pot. The sauce was every bit as delicious as the ribs. I tried to remove the last drop from the pan. I went further and deglazed the gluey sticky goodness that was left at the bottom and around the pot, with some water. Reduced it and strained out the liquid. I even scooped out the remaining scraps inside the strainer, normally headed to the garbage bin. That became the sumptuous ragu which we ate the next day with some soccas (chickpea pancakes). I try not to waste anything realizing that food from waste can be stupendous. In my mind, the closer I can get to attaining zero waste, the better it is for me and the planet! We have a long way to go.

Please visit Cook-the-book-fridays to see the comments and discussions on the caramel pork ribs from the online group, a community of engaging home cooks, who are working through each and every recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. You are welcome to join the group and cook along with us.

You may not need any sauce; but it’s delicious too
The ribs are served with a watercress salad

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    March 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Yes the sauce making was quite the heart stopper, wasn't it?

  • Reply
    lisa brown
    March 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Your ribs look great, especially on the greens. I thought the seizing of the sauce was amazing too! A first for me, and something I thought I had to fix right away. I am so glad it resolved on its own

  • Reply
    March 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Beautiful looking ribs and so delicious too. I like that you strained the sauce and made a ragu from it. Great idea. This is definitely a repeat recipe for the winter months.

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    March 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Your ribs looks delicious! Great idea to deglaze the sauce stuck in the pot! We love this ribs and the sauce, but will be cutting down on the sugar the next time.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Your post contents do describe the grandeur of the ribs as per your pictures, awesome! When I pluck out from the air…my memory of what went into the ribs I made… the person straight away exclaimed XO ribs – top notch!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Cutting down the sugar always works for me, cooking or baking!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    You are right, the leftover glue tastes just like XO sauce.

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    March 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    commenting late like this, and seeing all the wonderful photos of this dish, make me want to cook it again! I enjoyed it as well and, yes, that sauce-making when adding the beer was a little nerve-wracking. And thank goodness for his note about it, though the nonchalance of that note didn't quite fit with the bubbling, foamy mass that was emerging in my Dutch oven. 🙂 Love the idea of little food waste. It's so disturbing at times to see how much there is. I also love that in France there's those grocery stores for imperfect produce and I wish very much we had that here.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Food waste is getting to me, prompting me to do better!

  • Reply
    Karen @ From Scratch
    April 5, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    These ribs were a huge hit at my house too. I think they may be my new go-to ribs recipes (at least when it's not grilling season!).

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I was surprised how much I liked these. I really love this cookbook. I've enjoyed almost every recipe we've made so far. I continue to look forward to the next one.

  • We're open to your comments and suggestions!