This Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe is next in our series on the best Cambodian barbecue recipes. It makes a favourite dish that locals love to tuck into by the plateful. Super easy, it’s made with a simple marinade, and is a cinch to make on a barbecue, grill or a clay brazier.
The second in our new series on the best Cambodian barbecue recipes, this Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe makes another of our favourite Cambodian street food dishes, typically eaten at rustic neighbourhood restaurants or boisterous local BBQ joints, where they’re washed down with Anchor beers.
We’ve been tucking into these, along with a couple of our styles of barbecue ribs we love, at one of our favourite family-owned eateries since we first moved to Cambodia’s riverside city of Siem Reap, and we’ll be including these recipes in a Cambodian street food cookbook we’re working on. So please do let us know if you make these, as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.
The Cambodian street food cookbook is not to be confused with the epic, first-of-its-kind Cambodian culinary history and Cambodian cookbook we’ve been working on for the last six years, which we’re seeking patrons for on Patreon. The street food book is a fast-turnaround that we hope to publish soon to raise funds for the epic culinary history cum cookbook.
Cambodian Grilled Pork Ribs Recipe for Super Easy Smoky Sticky Ribs
This Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe makes a popular dish that’s typically served at rowdy BBQ restaurants where they match well with icy Cambodian beer or simple family-ran eateries that typically have a menu a mile long.
At the Cambodian BBQ joints locals will order an array of barbecued dishes including a plate or two of different kinds of ribs – and there are as many kinds of ribs as there are barbecued skewers – whereas at the local eateries the barbecue ribs will be eaten amongst a handful of dishes that might include a pot of soup, some stir-fried greens such a morning glory, perhaps a curry, and big plates of rice for each person.
In Cambodia there are around four different preparations of pork ribs, including deep fried and barbecued or grilled. This kind of Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe is never done in an oven, as ovens are rarely used in Cambodia. Note that ‘barbecue’ and ‘grill’ are often used interchangeably here, just as they are elsewhere in Asia and Australia.
Cambodian barbecue is different to the American style of barbecue that is covered and cooked ‘low and slow’. Cambodian barbecue might be done over coals on a clay brazier, on coal or fire over a grill, or done in the style of Korean barbecue. We’re going to cover barbecuing and grilling more generally in a separate post.
We use Coconut Charcoal BBQ Briquettes for our little grill. They are great, long-burning briquettes that are made from coconut shells.
Cambodians always marinate their meats rather than use a North American-style dry rub and it’s the marinades that set one Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe apart from the next. There’s a style of pork ribs that are salty, typically called ‘salted pork ribs’ on a menu, another type of pork ribs that are sticky and sweet, and another type of sweet and sour pork ribs that are more Chinese in style.
These Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe makes something in between – they’re a little sweet, a little salty, a little peppery, and a little funky due to the soy bean sauce (not soy sauce), and they’re smoky as they’re cooked over coal.
Brush some marinade on during grilling to keep them moist, but not too much, and grill them until they are a little charred, but, again, not too much, you don’t want them burnt.
Cambodian Grilled Pork Ribs Recipe
- 300 g pork ribs
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy bean sauce
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Cut ribs into individual pieces.
- Combine the sugar, soy bean sauce, garlic, and pepper and marinate the ribs for 30-60 minutes. Preheat the barbecue or light those coals if you're cooking on a grill or more traditional Cambodian clay brazier.
- Remove the ribs from the marinade and place on the barbecue or grill. Keep turning until browned. Brush the ribs with the leftover marinade. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve over lettuce and with pickled vegetables.
Please do let us know if you make this Cambodian grilled pork ribs recipe or any of our other recipes in our best Cambodian barbecue recipes series. We’d love to get your feedback.