If there’s a part of pork that I like, it’d be the ribs. When cooked well, they are juicy, sweet and succulent to the bone. And there’s nothing simpler to eat pork ribs than with one’s fingers. Pork ribs is very versatile and one can  use it in soup, deep fried or stir-fry with condiments. My preferred way of cooking ribs is to cook them slowly in low heat so that the meat absorb all the flavors from the marinade or spice rub. I like to see the meat effortlessly falling off the bones when I tear the meat apart.

I have a few recipes for roasting or BBQ baby back ribs, but I’m sharing my recipe here for ribs cooked with home made spicy sweet sauce, which will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The roasted baby back ribs in spicy sweet sauce can be eaten on its own with tangy coleslaw and potatoes, or made into pork sliders with mini bread buns.

There are two parts to the cooking process. First, the marinated pork is wrapped in foil and baked in low heat for two hours, before basting with the spicy sweet sauce and roasted under high heat for 20 minutes. This two-parts cooking process will thoroughly cook the ribs while sealing the juiciness of the pork with a crusty exterior. It may sound complicated but it really isn’t because most of the time it’d be the oven that does the work for you, and there’s no big mess to clean up thereafter, which is really a big plus for busy city-dwellers like me.

Roasted Baby Back Ribs in Spicy Sweet Sauce

Roasted Baby Back Ribs in Spicy Sweet Sauce

Serves 2-3


  • 1.3 lb / 600g baby back ribs
  • A few stalks of rosemary or oregano or both
  • Some olive oil
  • Some maple syrup

For the marinade

  • 1 tbs Djion mustard
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parika powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce

For the spicy sweet onion sauce

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ – 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder



  1. Clean and pat dry the baby back ribs.
  2. In a bowl, combine the ingredients of the marinade into a paste.
  3. Take a large piece of foil (which should be of a sufficient length to wrap the baby back ribs completely), drizzle some olive oil, place the baby ribs on the foil and rub the marinade thoroughly on every part of the ribs. Place the rosemary/oregano stalks on the ribs. Wrap the ribs with the foil and set aside for an hour.
  4. Place the baby back ribs which is still wrapped in foil on a baking tray, and place it in a preheated oven of 320°F/160°C for 2 hours.
  5. To prepare the spicy sweet sauce, take a small pot and heat up the oil. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pot and stir fry it for a few minutes till soft but not browned. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper powder. Continue to gently stir and simmer to a gentle boil. Taste and add salt or pepper to taste. Turn off fire and set aside.
  6. Remove the baby back ribs from the oven, and carefully unwrap and remove the foil (it’s hot!). With a brush, generously baste the spicy sweet sauce on the ribs.
  7. Return the ribs to the oven, now at the temperature of 420°F/220°C for 20 minutes.
  8. (Optional) After 10 minutes, remove the ribs and baste it with maple syrup, and return the ribs to the oven for the final 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving with the remaining spicy sweet sauce.
Roasted Baby Back Ribs in Spicy Sweet Sauce