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Chinese Style Sticky Ribs

Posted by Traeger Service on January 19, 2014

In celebration of the Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) we whipped up a batch of these delicious Chinese-Style Sticky Ribs. We love this recipe for the classic combination of asian inspired flavors like garlic, ginger, and soy layered under a deliciously sticky red pepper glaze. Smoky, savory, sweet and ridiculously tender... these ribs will become a regular in your Traeger rib rotation. Serve alongside some sticky rice and a stir fried veggie for a tasty way to celebrate a new year!


Difficulty: 2/5
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 4-1/2 hours
Serves: 4 to 6
Pellet recommendation: Cherry or Apple


2 racks pork spare ribs or baby backs, membrane removed
4 Tablespoons Traeger Asian BBQ Rub
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake, Chinese cooking wine, or sherry
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of a knife
One 3-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into coins
6 scallions (green onions), trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal, white and green parts separated 

One 10-ounce jar red pepper jelly or apple jelly
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Toasted sesame seeds, for serving


  • Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4-5 minutes). Generously rub each rack of ribs with Traeger's Asian BBQ Rub. Place directly on the grill grate, close the lid and smoke for 1 hour.
  • Line a large roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil (for easier clean-up) or use a disposable aluminum foil roasting pan. Add the smoked ribs to the pan, close the lid and turn the temperature up to 300 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sake, orange juice, brown sugar, five-spice powder, and cayenne. Whisk until the sugar crystals dissolve. Add the garlic, ginger, and the scallion whites. (Reserve the scallion greens for a garnish.)
  • Pour evenly over the ribs, turning the racks to coat them. 
  • Place the ribs meat-side down in the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Roast the ribs until they are tender, about 3 to 3-1/2 hours. You'll want to see the rib meat pulling away from the bones about 1/2 inch.
  • With tongs, move the ribs to a cutting board and let rest. Leave the grill on. Make the glaze: Strain the cooking juices into a heat-proof container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, and measure 3 cups. (Discard any solids or extra liquid.) Skim off any excess fat. Add the cooking liquid to a large saucepan or skillet. Stir in the jelly and cider vinegar and bring to a boil on the stove-top over medium-high heat until reduced by one-third. Remove from the heat.
  • In the meantime, using a sharp knife, slice the rib racks into individual ribs. (Each rack should yield 10 to 13 bones.) Working in batches, add the ribs to the glaze, turning them to coat with tongs. Arrange the ribs directly on the grill grate or return them to the pan they were cooked in and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, turning as needed to warm the ribs and “tighten” the sauce. (Watch carefully so they don’t scorch.)
  • Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion greens and toasted sesame seeds, if using.