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Char Siu Rib Tips at

I don’t know how it is where¬† you are but around here you buy some side ribs (spare ribs) and you get one rack of nice ribs and what I call the trimmings. At first it looks like a rack of ribs but closer examination shows it is full of crossing bones and cartilage with large fat patches. I find if I cook them with the rest of the ribs they are difficult to eat, have a tough texture and it is difficult to avoid getting a large chunk of fat in your mouth. I decided to do something about it and made Char Siu Rib tips in my Louisiana Grills pellet smoker. Of course, you could do them in the oven but they just won’t have the kiss of the smoke.

I started off by cutting the trimmings into 1 inch slices. Then I cut those to 2 inch lengths.

I mixed the soy sauce, hoisin, five spice, Sriracha and brown sugar together. Traditionally, char siu is bright red. If you want that, add 5 ml (1 teaspoon) red food colouring. I do for my Char Siu Pork and Char Siu Chicken Thighs but don’t for my rib tips. It is just personal preference.

Toss the rib tips in the marinade and let marinate overnight, turning once or twice.

Char Siu Rib Tips 1

The next day, Take the ribs from the marinade and reserve the liquid for later. Preheat your smoker (or oven) to 225 F. Put the ribs on the grill or on a rack over a pan if using your oven. Cook for 3 hours.

Char Siu Rib Tips 2

Take the ribs off the grill or rack and put them in a roasting pan. Pour the reserved marinade over them and toss to coat. Cover the pan tightly with foil and put back on the grill or in the oven for 2 hours.

Char Siu Rib Tips 3

Take the foil off and put the ribs on the grill or on the rack over a pan if using the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Char Siu Rib Tips 4

Serve them as a meal or an appetizer.

Char Siu Rib Tips 6

The Verdict

Because I cut the trimmings into smaller pieces, they had more surface area which let more fat cook out. The time in the moist heat under foil cooked out even more fat (you’ll be amazed how much fat is in the roasting pan). The last hour with the meat coated with the sweet char siu sauce caramelizes the surface and give the ribs a nice bite.

There is a great pork, sweet, spicy, oriental taste. They are easy to eat as the meat pulls easily from the cartilage and bones. The fat is mostly cooked out and you don’t end up chewing the fat (in the bad way).

These were so good, I will be saving the rib trimmings from my rib cooks for future use as appetizers.

The Old Fat Guy

Char Siu Rib Tips

Char Siu Rib Tips


  • 1 kg to 2 kg (2 to 4 pounds) sparerib end trimming
  • 175 ml (2/3 cup) soy sauce
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) hoisin
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) five spice
  • 8 ml (1 1/2 teaspoon) sriracha (could substitute 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) hot pepper sauce)
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cup) brown sugar


  1. Cut rib ends to 1 inch slices with a heavy knife as you will be cutting through bone and cartilage.
  2. Cut each slice to a length of 2 inches.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients and toss the rib tips in the marinade.
  4. Marinate overnight mixing once or twice.
  5. The next day, preheat your smoker or oven to 225 F.
  6. Remove the rib tips from the marinade but reserve the marinade liquid for later.
  7. Put the rib tips in the smoker or on a rack over a pan in the oven.
  8. Cook for 3 hours.
  9. Put the rib tips in a roasting pan.
  10. Pour the reserved marinade over them and toss to coat.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with foil and return to oven or smoker for 2 hours.
  12. Remove the foil and put the rib tips back on the grill or on a rack over a pan in the oven.
  13. Cook for 1 hour.
  14. Serve
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2 Responses

  1. Sold as “RIBLETS” in Mexican markets in So California. Often on sale cheap. Not as cheap as the fresh ham portion of the leg however. Just purchased a skin on leg portion for 99 cents a pound, the regular once a month sale price at a local “big box” chain grocery store. Going to buy 2 more tomorrow. So many things you can do with “the worlds most consumed meat”.
    Thanks again David for another detailed and thoughtful recipe with weights.

    1. Shank Hams are crushingly expensive here but every once in a while we can get them for under $2 a pound. As for the ribs, here they give you a package with a nice trimmed St Louis portion on top and the trim pieces underneath and they charge a lot. Sigh. What can you do, I love ribs.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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