It took me a minute to get around to writing this one up but here it is, my BBQ ribs. I remember my mum making me ribs that were sticky and delicious and, inevitably laced with sugar and I'd devour them. I wanted to recreate this for Archie, part of my journey to keep him and my mum connected through food, but I also wanted to try and do it without loads of sugar. It's near impossibly to make sticky, glossy sauces without sugar or syrups but you know me, love a challenge. I've tried this recipe lots of ways and found that a little maple syrup works a treat so, this isn't sugar free but it's better than many rib recipes.

Gently cooking the ribs in stock for a couple of hours achieves two things. Firstly, it means you get meat that falls off the bone rather than being tough as old boots which pork can be. Secondly, the cooking liquid makes an amazing ramen base for chucking any leftover ribs into the next day. parental WIN, WIN.

500g Pork ribs
1 Teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Carrot roughly chopped
1/2 an Onion roughly chopped
1 Stick of celery roughly chopped
Approximately 500ml of stock (I use Marigold vegan bouillon reduced salt or chicken)

3 Tablespoons of BBQ’D Kidchup (or whichever brand you fancy but watch out for the sugar content)
1/2 Teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 Teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice
1 1/2 Tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey  
1 pinch of salt (I'm loving the Maldon smoked one)
1 Tablespoon of water

Preheat your oven to 160C

1. Put the ribs in a roasting tin, add the fennel seeds, chopped onion, carrot and celery, then top with enough stock to cover the ribs. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for two hours or until the meat looks tender and pulling away from the bone when you touch it with a fork

2. Mix all your marinade ingredients together

3. When the ribs are nicely tender take them out of the stock and then drain the stock using a sieve to catch all the veg and leave it to cool. This stuff is gold so don't chuck it, see below for another meal idea.

4. Turn your oven up to 180C fan or 190 electric

5. Put your ribs back into the same roasting tin, it doesn't matter if there are still some fennel seeds etc still in it. Pour over 2/3 of the marinade but hold back a little to top them up, brush the ribs to make sure they're well coated. Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil and put back into the oven.

6. Cook the ribs in your oven for roughly 20 minutes, until they look juicy and tender. After 10 minutes, brush them with a little more marinade. Don't let them over cook and dry out, if they seem ready sooner take them out.

7. When they are done, take them out and let them rest for a minute, before serving top them up with any leftover marinade you have but don't use the same utensil you used when the ribs were raw and serve with brown or wild rice

I serve them with brown rice stir fried with a little soy, some fresh pineapple whatever veg I have and some fresh carrot grated in at the end.


I make a delicious ramen with the leftover stock and ribs the next day, kiddo loves it! Just let the stock cook with any leftover ribs in it on low then take the meat off the bone when ready to serve.  I then add egg noodles, a hardboiled egg and some veg.