Dry Garlic Spare Rib Recipe – 幹燒大蒜排骨

Dry Garlic Spare Ribs - 幹燒大蒜排骨

Dry Garlic Spare Ribs, or 幹燒大蒜排骨, are a restaurant favorite featuring rib sections, quickly fried, then finished with a sweet, garlicy glaze.

I have previously posted a recipe for Restaurant-style Honey-Garlic Ribs which recreates the fairly standard version in which the ribs are braised in copious amounts of the sweet, dark sauce. I like those, and order them frequently from Westernized Chinese Restaurants, but they are very often cooked, or held over, for so long that the meat loses texture and no longer clings to the bone. Here, the Dry Garlic Spare Ribs have the same sweet, garlicky flavor as the long braised type but they are only glazed with a very small amount of sauce and are better suited to being served as an appetizer.

By the way, the term ‘Spare Ribs’ refers to ribs taken from the belly side of the rib cage. They are also called ‘side ribs’ and are roughly equivalent to the ‘short-ribs’ taken from beef. The spare ribs are to be contrasted with the ‘Baby back ribs’ (which actually come from pigs, not babies) and are a favorite for grilling and barbecuing. Most people agree that the Spare ribs are the more tender.

How to Make 幹燒大蒜排骨

Marinating browned ribs with garlic.

You first need to brown your ribs in a little oil. Just cook them until the meat is longer pink and don’t overdo it. Remove them to a bowl and, when they have cooled, stir in minced garlic and let them sit for not less than one hour (longer is better).

Making the sweet glaze

When you are ready to cook, heat a pan over a moderately high flame and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the sugar and the soy and let it all come to a bubbling boil.

Finally (and apologies for forgetting to photograph the last step), add the ribs along with the vinegar and continue stirring until the sauce reduces to a nice glaze. Plate and serve hot.

Your Recipe Card for 幹燒大蒜排骨:

Dry Garlic Spare Ribs

Dry Garlic Spare Ribs are similar to the classic ‘Honey Garlic Spare Ribs’, except are lightly glazed rather braised in sauce and make a better appetizer.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Garlic, Pork, Ribs, Sugar, Vinegar
Author: John Thompson


  • 3/4 lb Pork Spareribs in 1” lengths (about 24, in all)
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic


  • Lightly brown the ribs in a little oil until just cooked through and then remove to a bowl.
  • When the ribs have cooled, stir in the minced garlic and let sit for at least an hour
  • When ready to cook, heat the vegetable oil in a pan over moderately high heat and stir in the sugar and the soy sauce.
  • When the sauce is bubbling and begins to thicken, add in the ribs and the vinegar and continue stirring until the sauce has reduced to a glaze.
  • Plate and serve while hot.


  1. These remind me of my favorite Chinese restaurant appetizer. Thanks for sharing

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!