Sweet and sticky pork ribs with root beer-braised onion cornbread

111 Matt Tebbutt recipe template

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
1 to 2 hours

Serves 4

By Andi Oliver
From Saturday Kitchen


For the root beer-braised onions

  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
  • 5 medium onions, very thinly sliced
  • few sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 6 whole garlic cloves, bashed
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock
  • 100ml/3½fl oz root beer
  • salt

For the ribs

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 250ml/9fl oz red wine
  • 250ml/9fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz pork ribs

Ingredients for the cornbread

  • 75g/2½oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 150g/5½oz course cornmeal
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 300ml/10fl oz buttermilk or natural yogurt
  • 125g/4½oz cherry tomatoes, quartered

For the sauce

  • 60g/2¼oz molasses
  • 250g/9oz soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 long red chilli, left whole
  • 1½ tbsp cornflour, if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and grease a 20x20cm square baking tin with butter.

  2. To make the onions, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the sliced onions, stirring until fully coated, then add the marjoram, garlic, chopped chilli and a big pinch of salt. Continue to cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are soft and starting to brown a little. Turn up the heat and add the root beer and chicken stock and boil for a minute, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more root beer if the onions begin to stick. Once thickened, turn off the heat and set aside.

  3. To make the ribs, mix everything apart from the ribs with 500ml/18fl oz water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the ribs, cook over a medium heat for around 45 minutes, or until the ribs are tender. Set aside to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, to make the cornbread, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl, add the eggs and beat well.

  5. Combine all the dry ingredients in another bowl and add these to the creamed mixture alternating with a spoonful of the buttermilk or yoghurt. Mix well to combine.

  6. Pour the onions into the bottom of the greased tin, along with the quartered cherry tomatoes, and gently spoon the cornbread mixture on top. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until lightly golden-brown and springy to the touch. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little, then turn out onto a board and cut into cubes.

  7. When the ribs are cool enough to touch, remove the bones, reserving the poaching liquor. Set the meat aside.

  8. Return the poaching liquor to the heat, add the molasses, brown sugar, tamarind and chilli and simmer for 30 minutes to reduce slightly. To thicken the sauce more, mix the cornflour with 50ml/2fl oz water, add to the pan and heat through to thicken.

  9. Place the ribs on a large platter and pour over generous amounts of the sauce. Serve with cubes of cornbread piled high and the rest of the sauce on the side.