Sticky Bourbon Pork Ribs

Summer or winter, lunch or dinner – there’s no such thing as the wrong time to eat these ribs! A little preparation goes a long way here, so if you can get organised enough to get them in the marinade the night before, the ribs will be all the more scrumptious for it.

I absolutely love the flavour of star anise; if you’re not quite such a fan, just use one star anise not two.

Sticky Bourbon Pork Ribs

Ready in 45 mins (exluding marinading time). Serves 2


  • 1.5kg pork ribs, cut into singles

For the marinade:

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 2 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon each: five spice, ground turmeric, ground ginger, ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch red chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups good chicken stock
  • ½ cup golden syrup
  • Freshly-ground black pepper & toasted sesame seeds, to serve


Mix barbecue sauce and bourbon well, and pour over ribs. Marinade ribs for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, turning often so all the meat is well covered.

When ready, preheat oven to 180°. Spray the bottom of a baking tray lightly with oil and place marinated ribs evenly on the tray. Retain the marinade. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove tin foil from ribs, and turn them over. Cook for another 15 minutes.

While the ribs are cooking, make your sauce. Place the leftover marinade in a small saucepan and add the star anise, spices, cayenne, chilli and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add golden syrup and stir to combine. Turn heat up a little and heat until sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, around half the original amount.

Transfer cooked ribs to a bowl and pour sauce liberally all over the top. Finish with a twist or two of freshly-ground black pepper and some toasted sesame seeds. Serve with a crispy green salad or coleslaw and crusty bread.