Spicy Sesame Ribs

This image courtesy of Lucy Schaeffer

Marinated ribs become tender and juicy, and a Spicy Sesame Sauce gives them a delightful Asian accent. When grilled, the intoxicating aroma of the sauce will arouse every diner's anticipation. This is my evolved version of traditional American barbecued ribs.

Toasted sesame has a boisterous flavor that balances well with green onions, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Aside from making a wonderful dipping sauce, this also makes an unusual and delicious salad dressing. I often double the recipe for this versatile sauce and store the extra in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. It always speeds up my cooking on a busy night. 

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodgrilling



Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free


Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturehot & spicy, meaty, savory, sweet


  • 2 pounds baby back ribs
  • 2 cups Spicy Sesame Sauce, or store-bought Asian sauce (recipe below)
  • Olive oil, as needed for brushing the grill
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green onion, green and white parts, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon thinly shredded fresh red chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. To make the sauce:

  2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to meld.

  3. Use immediately, or store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  4. To make the ribs:

  5. Rinse the ribs, pat dry with paper towels, and slice them into individual pieces.

  6. Combine the ribs and sauce in a large container. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.

  7. Brush the grill rack generously with oil and preheat the grill to medium-low. Remove the ribs from the marinade. Reserve the marinade.

  8. Place the ribs on the rack and grill, basting frequently with the remaining marinade. Stop basting 5 minutes before the ribs are done. Discard any unused marinade. Grill the ribs until they are golden brown, tender, and no longer pink inside, 12 to 15 minutes per side. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve hot.


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