Hidden Potential

Sometimes you try a recipe and think, hey, this is pretty good…but it could be better. It’s tasty enough, but immediately on the first bite, those foodie gears start turning and you can’t help but think of ways to improve it. It’s a recipe with hidden potential.

That’s what happen this recipe. A couple weeks back, my grocery store had a great sale on boneless country style pork ribs. It’s not a cut a typically buy, mostly because I worry about them being tough. But since it was a such a great deal, and I’m always up for something new a different, I snatched them up and then searched out a way to prepare them in the crockpot. Turning tough cuts of meat into tender morsels of yumminess is what the crockpot does best! πŸ™‚

I loved the flavor combo in the sauce for these ribs, sort of sweet and spicy with a bit of an Asian flair. But IΒ  found adding all the sauce at the beginning of cooking resulted in a dryer texture at the end. I like my ribs wet an’ saucy, I guess. Heh. Next time, I’ll reserve half the sauce to add to the crockpot just before serving. Also, you’ll notice there’s no real cooking liquid added to the crock. I think this is a mistake. There needs to be a least a tiny bit of liquid to keep the meat from drying out. I didn’t find the meat to be overly dry without the liquid, but the ribs did not get as tender as I think the would have if there was a bit of liquid. Next time, I’ll add just a bit of beef broth to bottom of the crock, not enough to cover the meat, but just enough to keep the cooking environment moist. I made both of these changes to the recipe below.

Hidden potential…UNLOCKED!

SLOW COOKED SESAME COUNTRY STYLE RIBS (Recipe adapted from: About.com)


  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless country style pork ribs (I only used about 1.5 pounds. This was enough for two with a some leftovers. I would still make all the sauce though)
  • 1/2 cup of water or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion, with green


  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about half the mixtured into an airtight container, refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Line bottom of slow cooker with onions. Add water or broth. Place ribs in sauce and turn to coat. Add to slow cooker on top of onions and pour sauce over ribs.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Pour reserved sauce over ribs and cook until just heated through. Place ribs on serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion.


One year ago: Tomato Soup with Pasta and Basil – This is delicious! Use up those summer tomatoes and fufill that fall soup craving all at the same time!


Filed under pork

10 responses to “Hidden Potential

  1. I have yet to find boneless ribs. Sounds delicious!

  2. oneparticularkitchen

    Yum! I love that this is something different than BBQ sauce. Sometimes you need to shake it up! πŸ™‚

  3. Caitlin

    Looks great! I totally agree with adding some liquid- beer and lemon juice both work really well and add some flavor.

  4. I just bought four pounds of country style pork ribs at the store yesterday and I was going to use a bottle of BBQ sauce…I think I’ll try your way instead!

  5. Hey Q. Just wanted to throw a couple ideas at you, when you’re looking for an Asian flair.

    The basic Chinese “Trinity” (Soy, ginger, garlic) is the base for a lot of flavors in Chinese cooking. Also, some ingredients for different flavor elements:

    Heat – Siracha, sambal, Sichuan peppercorns, dried chili peppers, white pepper
    Acid – Lime, rice wine vinegar
    Sweet – Honey, brown sugar
    Fragrance – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, 5-spice powder
    Earthiness – sesame oil, black bean paste

    My default Asian-style barbecue/dipping sauce: hoisin (sort of a cheater way to incorporate a lot of flavor), ketchup, siracha, lime juice, ground ginger, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground pepper, sesame oil.

    But, it’s definitely taste as you go, and figure out what flavor/balance you want.

    • themilkmanswife

      Thanks Roland! These are great tips! I’m always a bit nervous about these kinds of flavors because my husband (claims) he doesn’t care for them. I’m slowly wearing him down – he liked the flavors of these ribs. Maybe we can finally move on to something a bit more authentic!

      Hope you’re loving NOLA! πŸ™‚

  6. The flavors in this look delicious!

  7. Chris

    I adore country ribs – any which way you can make them! These sound wonderful – I’ll have to add to my “to make” list!

  8. Pingback: Play Dough « Milk & Honey

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