- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 rack of pork baby back ribs or pork spare ribs
- 1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed, but any will do)
- 1 Tbsp. orange zest
- 1 scallion, chopped
Asian Barbecue Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp. fresh orange zest
- 1/8 tsp. dried chile flakes
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1-inch square of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbsp. hickory bacon salt
- 1 Tbsp. five-spice powder*
- 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the spice rub by combining all the spices.
- Prepare the rack of ribs by peeling away the membrane on the concave side of the bones. To do this, loosen the membrane from the end of the rib bones with a butter knife.
- Use a paper towel to secure a grip on the membrane and pull it away from the rack. You don’t have to remove the membrane, but it prevents the flavor of the spice rub from penetrating the meat, and it's tough when cooked.
- Score the ribs, making very shallow slices into the rib meat between the bones. Rub both sides of the rack with the vegetable oil. Sprinkle 1 – 2 Tbsp. of the rub on each side of the rack, rubbing in gently with your fingers.
- Place the ribs on the stovetop smoker rack. Prepare the stovetop smoker by sprinkling 2 Tbsp. of smoking chip dust on the bottom. Place the drip pan into the smoker and put the rack with the ribs on top of the drip pan. Turn the heat to medium-high. When you start to smell smoke, cover the smoker and smoke the ribs over medium heat for one hour, after which, the ribs should be fragrant and cooked. Check the drip pan to make sure nothing has burned in the pan. If it has, remove the pan and wash it.
- Otherwise, pour the orange juice into the drip pan and press a piece of aluminum foil down onto the top of the ribs, making a close-fitting tent to trap the orange juice vapor.
- Cover the smoker with the lid and transfer it to a 250°F oven for 2 hours for baby back ribs, and 3 hours for spare ribs.
- Meanwhile, combine all the barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer for 2 – 5 minutes. Remove the ribs and brush with the Asian barbecue sauce.
- Cut the rack into serving-size portions and serve with orange zest and chopped scallions to garnish. Serves 2 – 3.
*If you can't find five-spice powder, you can make your own — it's well worth it. In a dry skillet, toast 3 star anise, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 3 Tbsp. of Sichuan peppercorns (use white peppercorns if you can't find Sichuan), 2 Tbsp. fennel seeds, and 1/2 tsp. whole cloves in a dry skillet for 2 – 3 minutes. Let the spices cool, then grind them in a spice grinder until finely ground. Store them in a covered jar.