These addictive slow-roasted ribs are slathered in a complex spicy-sweet marinade and so moist that they fall off the bone.
2 racks pork back ribs (about 600 g each)
2 tbsp achiote paste*
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soybean sauce**
2 tbsp sherry
2 tsp crumbled Mexican oregano, or regular oregano*
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp Asian chili oil**
2 tbsp liquid honey
Step 1: Put the achiote paste in a large glass or ceramic baking dish large enough to hold the two rib racks in a single layer. (If you don’t have a dish large enough, make the marinade in one dish, then divide half into another dish to marinate the second rib rack).
Step 2: Gradually add the cider vinegar to the achiote paste while using the back of a spoon to mash out the lumps. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the honey.
Step 3: Coat all sides of the ribs in marinade and leave meat-side down in the baking dish. Cover and chill at least 6 hours (but preferably overnight).
Step 4: To roast the ribs, preheat the oven to 300ºF. Meanwhile, tear off four lengths of foil about 6" longer than the rib racks. Place a rib rack onto the foil (it’s easiest to wrap the racks individually), meat-side up. Spoon the marinade left in the baking dish over the ribs. Cover the ribs loosely with the other piece of foil, being careful that the top foil doesn’t touch and smear the marinade, seal the edges of the foil together to form a package. Repeat with the second rib rack. Place the wrapped ribs on a large baking sheet and roast on the middle rack of the oven for 2 hours.
Step 5: After 2 hours, remove the sheet of ribs from the oven and split the foil to reveal the ribs. Spoon any unscorched marinade from the bottom of the foil packs over the ribs. Return the ribs (with the foil opened) to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Step 6: Take the ribs out and use a pastry brush to dab the tops of the ribs with the honey plus any unscorched marinade and juices from the bottom of the foil. Let stand about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
* Available in Mexican or Latin groceries.
** Available in Chinese groceries. Also called bean sauce or garlic bean sauce. Not the same as black bean sauce.