The BEST Sticky Ribs Recipe

When I was pregnant with Hux I tried not to subscribe to the whole ‘eating for two’ thing. One, because it’s not true, and two, because when I was pregnant with Elfie I ate two Pret pastries a day and it took me a year to lose three stone of pastry weight. I didn’t know about sticky ribs back then, it could have been dangerous.

Breastfeeding, however, is a whole other matter. Someone told me you burn an additional 500 calories a day when breastfeeding and my appetite will tell you that’s not far off. I am always hungry, always thirsty. I’m trying not to indulge in ‘bad’ calories bar one daily treat (usually one of those cinammon whirl cake things from Tesco’s bakery) and have loved tucking into lots of bread, pasta and potatoes, white carbs being previously avoided for their bloating properties. Somewhere else I’ve loved indulging is in the field of slow-cooked meats, including sticky ribs. Mmm.

Sticky ribs recipe

These ribs are one of those such indulgences.

You know you’ve had a good meal when you have a sticky face and can’t pick your plate up because your hands are too filthy. You know, when you have to kind of use your wrists to grab a piece of kitchen roll to attempt to clean yourself up then give up and stick your face under the tap?

Sticky Ribs Recipe

Sticky ribs recipe Sticky ribs recipe

That’s what these sticky ribs do to you. They are the sort of food you should probably eat with someone you know well (that lip smacking ain’t attractive) and you will wind up with sauce all over your chin (and in Will’s case, your trousers). These ribs are comfort food at its best.

Sticky ribs recipe

The recipe originated from Masterchef Australia 2010 – which I fell completely in love with during my maternity leave with Elfie. The best of all the Masterchefs in my opinion.

Sticky ribs recipe

I’ve left the original chili measures in though I tend to use half the amount of chili powder and omit the chili as I am a wimp.

Sticky ribs recipe

Sticky ribs recipe

5 from 1 vote

Sticky Ribs Recipe

Don't be put off by the epic list of ingredients: I found most of them in my spice draw.


  • 1.5 kg pork spare ribs quartered
  • 2 tbs Olive oil

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • ½ brown onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped

Cooking Marinade

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 250 ml malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp hot English mustard powder
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 125 ml bourbon
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 to mato finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 jalapeno chilli finely chopped
  • 1 orange peeled rind


  1. Combine rub ingredients in a large bowl. Add ribs to the bowl, using your hands, rub the mixture into the meat to coat completely. Set aside in the fridge for 2-3 hours to marinate.
  2. Heat a frying pan over high heat. Drizzle olive oil onto ribs and toss to coat. Place ribs fat-side up and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until sealed.
  3. Place cooking marinade ingredients and a tsp of salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until thickened slightly.
  4. Transfer ribs to a large, non-stick roasting pan and pour over hot marinade. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 1½ hours or until falling off the bone, turning 3-4 times throughout.
  5. Serve ribs with kitchen roll - you'll need it.


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  1. Steph (@imcountingufoz) wrote:

    Alice that looks OUTRAGEOUS! I want to bury my face in those ribs.

    The promise of a lie in alone is enough to get me nipping to the shops for Jalapenos.


    Posted 6.29.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      In marriage bartering terms I reckon a lie-in is equivalent to a man’s blowjob.

      Posted 7.1.12 Reply
  2. Chloe wrote:

    I’ve emailed this to Sam. We are fans of ribs in this house. He once slow cooked a rack on the barbecue for six hours because he is a crazy man.

    Was this the Great Eastern Road Pret you used to frequent by any chance? I used to go there on an almost daily basis whilst pregnant with Arlo. My weakness was a steak and mustard baguette and millionaire shortbread bar.

    Posted 6.29.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      It was that exact Pret! I used to get free tea and knew the staff by name as I religiously went in twice a day. Shameful.

      Posted 7.1.12 Reply
  3. Carolin wrote:

    5 stars
    This really is the BEST recipe for sticky ribs. We use it all the time and everyone just compliments on the great flavours and asks for the recipe. Shame we didn’t come up with it…

    Posted 6.29.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I know! I LOVE Aus Masterchef for recipes, so many excellent things on there.

      Posted 7.3.12 Reply
  4. Julie's wrote:

    The looks amazing! Please can you come and be my wife! Hehe

    Posted 6.30.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      heheh – how many lie-ins would you let me have?! I could be convinced!!!

      Posted 7.1.12 Reply
  5. Josie wrote:

    I dream about food like this. How do you have time for this kind of meal with 2 kids?!

    Posted 7.1.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      1. CBeebies and 2. baby carriers!

      Posted 7.3.12 Reply
  6. Honest Mum wrote:

    Absolutely delicious. I eat these sometimes at my brother’s restaurant and they are scrumptious! Agree with you on not bingeing pregnant-all about healthy eating as losing baby weight not easy.

    Posted 7.2.12 Reply
  7. dave h wrote:

    must be an easier way than this

    Posted 12.31.16 Reply
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    Posted 11.20.17 Reply