Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Experiment: Beef Ribs with Black Cardamom

Ever since I posted my Oven Barbecued Beef Ribs ‘Experiment’ a while ago, I wanted to cook Beef ribs again as they were so delicious on that occasion. This time, though, I used a few more ribs because the last time the little rack I cooked wasn’t quite enough. The other reason I wanted to revisit the dish is because I wanted to experiment with a different sort of rub that included Black Cardamom as this really lends a lovely smoky taste to beef…

These are the ribs I selected. There was only one package on the grocery shelf when I visited our local store but I asked for more and the butcher produced another one. It was, unfortunately, coated with a Montreal Steak Seasoning, but the butcher assured me that he had only applied it just 5 minutes earlier so I washed the spice off as soon as I got home and I am pretty sure that it won’t have interfered with the spice rub I want to try here.

The Spice Rub Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Pink Peppercorns
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3 Black Cardamom Pods
  • 3 or 4 small pieces of Dried Lemon Peel
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp.  Dried Porcini Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Fenugreek Seed
  • ½ tsp. Dried Thyme
  • A tablespoon or so of cooking oil (not shown)

The Method

Remove the seeds from the Cardamom pods and then grind them with the peppercorns, lemon peel, fenugreek seeds and thyme. Next, mix them all in a small bowl with the other spice rub ingredients.

Rub the ribs with the spice mixture and then set aside for at least 2 or 3 hours. You will find, as I did, that you need only about half the mixture for this many ribs but it is better to make too much than too little and the excess can always be used elsewhere.

As for the rest of the process, it is exactly the same as in my Oven Barbecued Beef Ribs ‘Experiment’, so I won’t bother to reproduce it here. The only additional instruction I will include here is to toss the ribs with a little vegetable oil before cooking…

The Verdict

I served this dish with a very simple stir-fry of sugarsnap peas with mushrooms and sweet red pepper in a little oyster sauce, garlic and lemon juice. Rice or potato would have been a bit much for the light supper my wife and I wanted so I just included a few slices of crusty bread with butter.

Well… the vegetable dish was fine (although really nothing new in our house) but the ribs didn’t really tickle the fancy of either me, or my wife. I’m not writing the experiment off as a failure though because the meat was nicely cooked and the spice blend, though not delicious to us, may very well be popular with others. Our complaint was that this particular blend of spices ending up giving a very similar flavor to Chinese five-spice powder, which neither of us cares for very much. There was no Star Anise in the current mixture but I think it was the combination of fenugreek seed and black cardamom that produced the same taste effect as though anise was an included component. Anyway, I would like to hear reports from others who try this spice blend but I doubt that I will try it exactly the same way again…



I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

9 thoughts on “Experiment: Beef Ribs with Black Cardamom

  1. Black cardamon is a difficult spice to use. I have used it in several recipes and have not really been happy with the flavour. Green cardamon I love, love, love, but I’ve discard the black cardamon from my spice cupboard. The Beef Ribs look tender and moist. Virginia

    1. We both like it in other preparations… There was just an of interaction with one of the other spice in this case … I was just guessing that it may have been the fenugreek…

  2. How interesting! Isn’t that funny how you can combine two different ingredients and end up with the same taste as 5-spice powder? The ribs do look nice and tender though. and I bet your wife was happy to have a home-cooked meal!

    1. The taste effect was unusual… Actually, we ate this over two weeks ago. I tend to do experiment posts well ahead of the actual posting date. I have to have a backlog of posts for the times that I am travelling.

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