Dhruv Baker's Spare ribs

I have always been a sucker for spare ribs – they are devastatingly moreish! This recipe will show you how to achieve beautifully tender ribs, coated in the most gorgeous spice mix. If you have any leftovers, strip all the meat off the bones and use the following day as a filling for sandwiches.

Serves: 4 as a main or 8 as a starter


For the marinade
5 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, whizzed in a blender
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp smoked paprika
100ml cloudy apple juice
50ml maple syrup
1 tbsp English mustard
4 tbsp demerara sugar
100ml ketchup
20ml brown sauce
50g apricot jam
100ml water
Pinch salt

2kg pork belly ribs
2 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco


1 Start by grinding the fennel seeds, black peppercorns and coriander seeds using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder.

2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the blended onion along with the ground spices. Fry for 10–12 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown slightly. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes.

3 Add all the remaining marinade ingredients and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, for 15–20 minutes. You should end up with a gorgeously thick, glossy and fragrant sauce. Take off the heat and allow the sauce to cool then rub over the ribs and leave to marinate for as long as possible (overnight is ideal but an hour or two will do if you don’t have the time).

4 Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas mark 1.

5 Place the ribs in a deep roasting tin and cover tightly with foil. Cook in the oven for 3–4 hours until the meat is meltingly tender but still holding on to the bones.