Suong heo nuong xa – Vietnamese lemongrass spare ribs

3-4 lbs pork spare or baby back ribs
3 lemongrass stalks, tough layers removed and finely minced
1 Thai chili pepper, minced (or 1 tsp sambal olek)
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1.5 cups water

In a mini-prep (or food processor or blender), pulse the scallions, garlic, shallot, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey and black pepper.  In a small bowl, combine marinate mixture with minced lemongrass and chili pepper. Place pork ribs into a large glass baking dish; pour marinade over pork over ribs and rub in gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up 4 hours or overnight. Bring ribs to room temperature before cooking.

Heat oven to 450F. Add 1 1/2 cups water to the dish and cover tightly with foil. Cook at 450F for 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350F and cook for another 60-75 minutes. Remove foil and braise for another 10 minutes.

Remove ribs and place on baking sheet. Pour pan juices into a sauce pan and reduce by 1/2. Brush reduced pan juices onto ribs and broil on high (about 4 inches from broiler) to brown, about 5-10 min per side. Slice ribs and serve with pan juices, rice, and a vegetable of your choosing.

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