Babi pangang or sweet and sour pork ribs

Babi pangang is a Dutch/Indonesian style of grilled pork. It’s sweet and sour taste is something the Dutch appreciate a lot. We had a recipe for babi pangang for a long time. The taste was great, but we were not satisfied with the texture of the meat. However, the sauce was perfect. We used this sauce combined with spare ribs, which turned out to be a golden combination.

For this recipe, we use spareribs. You could also use baby back ribs, but then you will have to take into account that everything will be on the table faster. It took us about 4 and a half hours to prepare this recipe. With baby back ribs, you may be ready in 3 and a half hours.

Regardless of the type of ribs, we first remove the membrane from the ribs’ bone side. We do this by inserting a dull knife between a rib and the fleece roughly in the middle. If you now put your thumb under it, you can pull the membrane right off.

Because we had to do something else, we used the Signals. In combination with the Billows we didn’t have to worry about adjusting the kamado, and we can keep an eye on the temperature wherever we have internet.

After about 2 hours and a core temperature of 70°C (158F), we start packing the spare ribs. We do this in aluminum foil and the juice of 1 orange. The moisture in the package causes the meat to soften.

The acidity of the juice also cooperates, and the taste of the spare ribs also improves. We would say win-win. We never really say that at all, but you know what we mean.

Now that the spare ribs are on the barbecue, you can make the sauce. That is actually very easy. Just throw everything together and let it simmer. After half an hour, remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

This babi pangang sauce contains 1 tablespoon of sambal manis. That seems like a lot, but sambal manis really isn’t that hot. During heating of the sauce, this heat also flattens out somewhat. If you want the sauce a bit spicier, add sambal oelek instead of sambal manis.

After an hour, you check the doneness of the spare ribs. We like our ribs with a little bit of bite. The meat should still be on the bones. You can check this by sticking a toothpick through the packaging and the meat.

The meat may resist a bit if you poke it. If in doubt, remove the meat from the packaging for the next step. The meat is allready cooked, and it will taste great too. If you notice when you eat that you would have liked the meat a bit more tender, just make it again. With a little experience, you will know precisely when the ribs are to your liking.

This is the reason we don’t want the meat to be too soft. We want to cut them by bone. If they were too far now, the meat would fall off the bone. What you do then is not cut the ribs, but return it entirely to the barbecue.

Now grill the meat while regularly brushing it with the sauce. Turn and turn them frequently, taking care not to burn the sauce. If you see some grill edges here and there, they can be served.


  • Spare ribs
  • 2 tbsp 5 spice herbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of 1 orange

Babi Pangang sauce

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sambal manis
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 300 ml of water
  • 75 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 75 ml of ginger syrup
  • 3 scoops of stem ginger
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  1. Remove the fleece from the bone side of the spare ribs.
  2. Mix the 5 spice herbs, the salt, and the brown sugar and sprinkle it on both sides of the ribs.
  3. Prepare a barbecue with an indirect heat between 110 and 130°C (230 to 266F) and place the spare ribs on the barbecue to a core temperature of 70°C (158F).
  4. Then wrap the spareribs with aluminum foil and the juice of 1 orange and then put the wrapped ribs back on the barbecue.
  5. Slice the stem ginger fine and make the babi pangang sauce by mixing all the ingredients, except the cornstarch, and let it boil gently. Then mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of warm water and pour this into the sauce to thicken it.
  6. After an hour, check whether the spare ribs have become more tender by pricking through the foil and the meat with a toothpick. The toothpick should go in and out with some resistance.
  7. Cut the spare ribs per rib and grill the ribs while you brush them with the sauce a few times. The ribs are ready when they are grilled all around.

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