Spareribs can be prepared in many ways and with a variety of spices, seasonings, and sauces. When you're choosing side dishes for your sparerib meal, consider the textures and tastes of your selections to best complement the flavors of the ribs and ensure they stay the star of the meal.
Spareribs grilled on a charcoal or gas grill are usually lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. The minimal spices allow the natural flavors of the meat to shine through as the fat on the ribs crisps and the interior remains succulent. A side of thick-sliced beefsteak tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and topped with a sprinkling of fresh basil is a classic side dish, as are whole or sliced potatoes lightly oiled and grilled alongside the ribs.
Spareribs With Barbecue Sauce
One of the most traditional ways to serve spareribs is with a sweet, tomato-based sauce either brushed on during the last few minutes of grilling or served separately and slathered on after cooking. Because the rib sauce is typically bold, it's best to accompany the ribs with simply seasoned sides. A mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette or cold pasta and asparagus salad pairs well with these ribs, as does fresh, sweet corn on the cob roasted on the grill or steamed on the stovetop. A basket of crispy-crusted cornbread muffins plays well against the soft, succulent ribs.
When you braise spareribs in a moderately hot oven for several hours, they become so tender they fall off the bone. They are particularly tasty when braised with sauerkraut and sliced onion tempered with a sprinkling of brown sugar and whole allspice. The slow cooking method and fat from the ribs tempers the bite of the sauerkraut. All you need to round out this meal is a mound of freshly mashed potatoes mixed with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, or baby red potatoes cooked until fork-tender.
Asian spareribs are conventionally flavored with sweet Mandarin-style seasonings or spicy Sichuan tastes. Both versions shine with a side of freshly steamed rice that soaks up the rib sauce. The sweeter rib tastes are complemented by a snow pea and red onion salad dressed with sesame vinaigrette. To bring out the best in the Sichuan ribs, serve sliced cucumbers tossed with rice wine vinegar topped with crushed, roasted peanuts.
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