Maple roasted ribs with apple, cucumber and orange salad recipe

Posted on May 27, 2013


Three things I like:

  1. the maple and bacon combo
  2. sweet and spicy meat on the bone
  3. easy ribs recipes

Mash that all together and I give you maple roasted ribs served with a tangy apple, cucumber and orange salad. This creation was inspired by elements of the three recipes linked above. Maple, a bit of spice and ribs = yum. The finished sauce has a beguiling sweetness and just a hint of heat, just hot enough to suggest the presence of the chilli. This recipe is pretty easy to whip up and will ready in less than 90 minutes from prep through to finish. It’s practically a 1-pot dish if your roasting tray can be used on the flame, which means less cleaning up to do as well. So really, it’s not too far fetched to serve this up for a weeknight dinner and imagine the looks of awe you’ll get if you put this on the dinner table after a day at work. Quite a weeknight winner if I do say so myself.


While this is not a slow cooked recipe the meat is tender, which just goes to show you don’t always have to cook your ribs for hours on end to achieve a delicious outcome. Spare ribs are quite a fatty cut and will thus allow you to get away with shorter cook times; back ribs are leaner, generally requiring longer cooking times and won’t be a suitable substitute. And please use real maple syrup, not the ‘maple flavoured’ rubbish that plagues our supermarkets. An easy indicator is that genuine maple syrup will cost quite a bit more than the imitation products (~$3 versus $9+ in Australia). If in doubt, flip over to the back to read the list of ingredients, it should always say 100% maple syrup.

RECIPE – Maple roasted ribs with apple, cucumber and orange salad (serves 4)


  • 2 racks of pork spare ribs (appox 1.5kg)
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 80mL maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise


  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 medium cucumber, or 2 small ones
  • 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Chop ribs up into individual pieces (single bone portions). In a large pot of boiling water, add in spring onions and chopped ribs. Blanche ribs for about 5-7 minutes then drain. Discard spring onion.IMG_6577
  3. In a small bowl, mix together maple syrup, dark soy, soy sauce and chilli powder. Reserve.
  4. Heat up a large pan on high heat and coat base with 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is smoking, add in ribs to brown. Cook ribs for about 3 minutes each side until ribs develop a golden crust.IMG_6627
  5. Pour in maple syrup mixture and toss ribs around until they are evenly coated. Turn off the heat, pour in chicken stock then add cinnamon stick and star anise.
  6. Place tray in hot oven and cook for about 50-60 minutes. The ribs are ready when most of the liquid has evapourated, leaving a rich brown glaze with a consistency similar to maple syrup.IMG_6634
  7. While the ribs are cooking, prepare salad by thinly slicing apple and mixing well with lemon juice to prevent apple from oxidising. Slice cucumber thinly on an angle then peel and segment orange. Toss ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.IMG_6629
  8. Spoon sauce on top the ribs, garnish with coriander and serve with salad.IMG_6637

The ribs are so satisfying and paired well with the tangy salad. The salad provides some freshness to the meal, cutting through the richness of the meat. Great dish to sate the carnivores.