Chinese Dry Rub Ribs

4.84 from 6 votes
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These super-simple dry rub ribs come out with a texture that melts in your mouth and a sweet yet spicy taste that makes them impossible to resist!

A slab of juicy Chinese dry rub ribs with a few sliced off

Dry Rub Ribs: Super Easy + Tasty BBQ in the Oven

Want an easy BBQ recipe that delivers big results? These Chinese dry rub ribs are the answer you’re searching for!

This easy recipe takes just a few ingredients to create ribs that are crispy outside yet melt-in-your-mouth tender inside, guaranteeing a wonderful sensory experience for everyone you share them with. While they take a bit of time to cook, there’s very little hands-on time. All you need to do to make these dry rub ribs is to mix the spices, rub it onto the meat, wrap it up in foil, and bake!

Juicy, spicy Chinese style pork ribs with sliced green onion

Low and Slow, Then Turn it Up

The key to these dry rub ribs is to roast them covered at low heat for most of the cooking time. After two hours, you’ll remove the foil, crank up the heat, and let them get crispy under the broiler.

Step-by-step process for making Chinese dry ribs

The luscious texture and luxurious flavor you’ll get from it will certainly surprise you.  It’s a must-make for barbecue lovers of all kinds!

Tender, juicy dry rub pork ribs sliced on a cutting board

A Simple Spice Mix with Huge Flavor

The spices you’ll use are likely in your kitchen too. You’ll mix salt, sugar, cumin, gochugaru (a Korean chili pepper), black pepper, garlic powder, and five-spice powder for this dry rub ribs recipe. If you don’t have gochugaru, you can use paprika!

Easy oven baked dry rub pork ribs

There are some dry rub mixes with dozens of ingredients in them, but not this one. The flavor profile here is slightly spicy (both chili and black pepper), warming (from the cumin and five-spice), and umami, with just a touch of sweetness. 

It’s a nicely balanced profile that leans Asian, but these ribs fit right into a traditional BBQ meal spread, too.

The Best Dry Rub Ribs Are Nicely Marbled 

The best results for these dry rub ribs will come from well-marbled slabs. Look for an even layer of meat too, one that isn’t too thin or too thick. I used St. Louis ribs because they’re flatter, so they crisp up evenly at the end. This cut of ribs is also fattier, so the end result is that your ribs will be super tender after the fat melts away.

A raw rack of pork ribs with spices for rubbing

If you can’t find St. Louis ribs, you can use baby back or spare ribs. They will come out delicious just the same. And while I’d love to say this recipe is good for meal prep, I can’t, because it is just too delicious – I have never been able to have any leftovers when I make these Chinese dry rub ribs. They go fast!

Close-up of oven baked Chinese ribs

Make it a Feast with These Pairings 

Since you’ll have two hours while the ribs are baking at low heat, this is a perfect recipe to make if you’re going to prepare some sides to go with the ribs. This will work great with any of the traditional BBQ sides you typically see (slaw, mac ‘n cheese, collards, etc.).

Here are a few Asian-inspired sides that will go perfectly with the ribs:

Tender, juicy Chinese pork ribs with spicy dry rub
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These super-simple dry rub ribs come out with a texture that melts in your mouth and a sweet yet spicy taste that makes them impossible to resist!

Chinese Dry Rub Ribs

4.84 from 6 votes
These super-simple dry rub ribs come out with a texture that melts in your mouth and a sweet yet spicy taste that makes them impossible to resist!
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: restaurant-style
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours
Total Time: 14 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 rack (about 3 lbs / 1.4 kg) St Louis ribs (or baby back ribs)

Rub

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (or paprika for less spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper (or 1/2 tablespoon ground Sichuan peppercorns)
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder

Instructions

  • (Optional) Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs by slicing the edge with a knife, then pull off the membrane sheet using your hand.
  • Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle evenly all over the ribs, front, back and sides. Gently pat and rub in the spice using your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleaning. Place a rack on top.
  • Place the marinated ribs on the rack. Cover with a large piece of foil that’s enough to cover the baking sheet. Fold the foil along the edges of the baking sheet to seal the ribs.
  • Bake covered for 2 hours.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Turn on the boiler to 550°F (280°C). Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the surface of the ribs are charred. You should stay close to the oven during the time and check on the ribs from time to time, to prevent it from burning.
  • Once done, remove the baking sheet and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve the ribs and serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 328kcal, Carbohydrates: 5.5g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 20.1g, Saturated Fat: 7.6g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 2188mg, Potassium: 59mg, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugar: 3.3g, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 3mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

More Chinese-Inspired BBQ

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Matt Robinson says:

    These look amazing, Maggie, love the flavors!!

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Matt! I love its flavor too, very appetizing!

  2. Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    I have still never made ribs at home! I don’t know why I’m so intimidated by them. Yours look fantastic and I love that you used five [email protected]

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Leah, thanks for stopping by! I totally understand the what you mean and I share the same feeling too. Cooking ribs require a lot of practice and experiments, and I feel so wasteful if I failed it.
      Have a great day! 🙂

  3. Meldy says:

    Just a question on the chili powder. Is it the chili powder normally used in Mexican cooking or Chile powder that is ground from Chile peppers (like ground cayenne pepper)?

  4. Meldy says:

    Do you mean chili powder or chile powder (as in ground from Chile peppers lime ground cayenne pepper)?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Meldy, I used chile powder in this recipe.

      • Meldy says:

        Thank you! Sorry for posting twice. I thought I messed up the first time and it didn’t go through so I posted a 2nd time. I will be making it this week.

      • Maggie says:

        No worries! Happy cooking Meldy 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Love it, used your marinade but grilled it on a gas grill with low temperature (inspired by 3-2-1) method.. And I love your cookbook, already tried a lot of your recipes! E. G. La Zi Ji ❤️

  6. Carol Burdick says:

    I do not have a recipe for my favorite ribs, but always order them as an appetiser. Dry and ate cold. Could you tell me how to make these as I no longer live near this resturant.

  7. Rachel says:

    Hi there! Did you recently change this recipe? I remember it being a little bit different and I really enjoyed it!

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      Yes I did update the recipe! The old one was developed long time ago when I was living in China and had to cook with a toaster oven. I thought I’d retest it in a proper oven with a slightly refined method, because the old recipe never got many positive feedback. I’m glad to hear you like the old one! I hope you have a chance to try out the updated version too because I really like it 🙂

      • Rachel says:

        5 stars
        Ok great!! Excited to try this for BBQ tomorrow! Do you think it will work just as well wrapped in foil on the grill and finish it off out of the foil on direct flame?

      • Maggie Zhu says:

        Yes! I think it will work very well on a grill. Happy cooking and can’t wait to hear your feedback 🙂

  8. Jon Park says:

    Have you tried smoking the ribs?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I haven’t but I definitely think it will work and the taste will be great.

  9. Andrea Lin says:

    4 stars
    5 stars for flavor but mine were super tough after two hours baking. I had two racks St Louis ribs on one baking sheet so that may have made a difference. The broil step did a great job caramelizing the top. We’ll definitely use the dry rub again (I used smoked and Hungarian paprikas and Sichuan peppercorn) but probably cook them in the smoker next time. To get the leftovers tender I threw them in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes’ cook and now they will be used to make some great fried rice! Can’t wait to try this again with a little more time to cook!

  10. Elliott says:

    5 stars
    These were great and easy. The 5 spice was well balanced against the other flavors. I have smoked ribs and cooked them in a crock pot. These were by far the most flavorful and least greasy.

    I paired them with the Chinese coleslaw recipe. I modified the sauce by adding a teaspoon of chunky peanut butter to cut the sharpness of vinegar. Thank you for both recipes.

  11. Elliott says:

    5 stars
    Update – I made the ribs in a slow cooker. I cooked them on slow for 7 hours with no liquid added to the pot. Great taste and falling off the bone tender. I did finish them on the grill. Love this recipe as it is tasty without being overpowered by the star anise flavor of the five spice powder.

  12. Glen C says:

    5 stars
    Seriously the best Chinese five spice recipe flavor profile. I actually cooked these on my Traeger at 250. 2-hours smoked, one hour wrapped in foil, then turned up to high for the last 20-30 minutes.

    Tender, juicy and delicious! I don’t know why this recipe isn’t 5 stars just for how tasty they are. Great recipe.

  13. Glen C says:

    5 stars
    Seriously the best Chinese five spice recipe flavor profile. I actually cooked these on my Traeger at 250. 2-hours smoked, one hour wrapped in foil, then turned up to high for the last 20-30 minutes, uncovered, to finish them.

    Tender, juicy and delicious! I don’t know why this recipe isn’t 5 stars just for how tasty they are. Great recipe.

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      So happy to hear you like this one! It’s one of my favorites 🙂

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