Copycat Chinese Restaurant Dry Garlic Ribs are a nostalgic buffet favourite. Every 80s and 90s Chinese buffet included these delicious ribs and this is a make-at-home recipe that’s better than the original! Get ready, because one taste of these ribs and you’ll be transported back in time!
When I die, I may not go to heaven, but I’ll be as close to heaven as I’ve ever wanted to be if you send me off into eternity with a big plate of these Dry Garlic Ribs. #nojoke That might seem a bit extreme to some of you, and if so, then you obviously have not tried these ribs!
A workmate of mine has been begging me to post a rib recipe, and I’m finally doing it. I’m really not sure why it took me so long to do so. I love ribs – both pork and beef ribs, although pork ribs are my favourite. I think it’s because I have this notion in my head that ribs need to be grilled. So wrong!
My mom used to make ribs often, but she never used a grill in her entire life! She baked ribs in the oven; and not just some of the time – I’m talking all the time!
Back in the day, my parents had very little use for a grill. It wasn’t until I was in my late teen years that my parents purchased an outdoor grill. From time to time, in my youth, we would grill outside, but we always used one of those red circular charcoal grills. And, even in those few instances, it was always pork chops.
It’s strange to think back on it now and think about how things have changed. I think everyone in Newfoundland now has an outdoor grill, or at least that’s what I can gather from the Facebook posts of family and friends who still live there. At the time of this post, I still don’t own a grill. That’s probably one of the biggest disadvantages to living in an apartment building in the city. Outdoor grills and balconies do not mix. With good reason, I guess. 🙁
Whenever we go to our friend’s cottage in the summertime though, I make up for the lack of grilling in my every day life. I grill pretty much everything at the cottage – beef, chicken, pork, tofu, veggies, and even halloumi. But, never ribs! I can’t give you a valid reason why.
One day I was at the grocery store and found pork ribs on sale. I had to have them, and bought them without thinking about how I would prepare them. And then, I remembered Chinese Restaurant Dry Garlic Ribs. Problem solved.
These are the ribs I remember most from my childhood. Growing up in a small town with just the one seasonal restaurant, we were eager to travel to the nearest larger town. That town is called Baie Verte and it has several restaurants and stores too.
I would wait in the back of our little blue station wagon for mom or dad to finish with a doctor’s appointment or with the shopping.
I would impatiently wait while mom checked out the sales at the craft store where she would stock up on yarn. Or impatiently wait while dad picked something up at the hardware store.
If we were shopping at Riff’s, then I would have all the patience in the world. Riff’s was/is a department store that had a toy section and I loved it. I would spend my time there while waiting for mom and dad to finish up.
Eventually, I would get to go to my favourite store and restaurant. I’m not sure if it still exists, but there used to be a corner store/Chinese restaurant combo called Jim’s. First, we would head into the restaruant where I would always order the same thing – Dry Garlic Ribs, Fried Rice, and an Egg Roll.
That was my order – every single time. The rest of my family would order a combo plate with chicken balls floating in sweet and sour sauce – which was great too – but, the ribs were what I craved the most.
By now, you might be jumping ahead to the recipe, since that’s most likely why you came here in the first place, but I’m going to take a moment to tell you about what happened after we finished our Chinese food.
Remember when I mentioned the corner store as well? That’s where I would go to next. While I’m typing this, I can imagine myself running to the door, jumping down the two or three steps, and briskly walking past the cash. The candy didn’t interest me. I was there for one thing only – comics!
Not just any comics! Only Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead and the rest of the gang would do. The Double Digest was like a drug; I loved it! Every night, I would read those comics over and over again until I fell asleep.
I get such a strong sense of nostalgia whenever I see one now in a store at random. And, my excitement for Riverdale on Netflix was over the moon! (At least for the first season; season two did nothing for me. I didn’t even finish the second season.)
I have to tie this up. I’ve gone on long enough. Here’s the recipe. Forget the grill. All you need is your oven and a little patience. Oh, and you’re welcome, Dear Reader. 🙂
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Copycat Chinese Restaurant Dry Garlic Ribs
- 6 pounds pork ribs, silver skin removed and rack cut into individual pieces*
- 1 1/2 cups broth (any kind will do – beef, chicken, vegetable)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Layer ribs on a rimmed baking sheet. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, mustard, and onion. Whisk until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove ribs from oven and remove the foil. Increase the heat to 350 degrees.
- Pour the sauce over the ribs and place the foil back on the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and discard the foil. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and turn each rib over. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Repeat two more times.
- Garnish and serve – perfect with steamed rice! It’s a great way to use up the extra sauce!