Ribs. They’re not something you can pick up on the way home from work, throw in the oven, and dig into on a weeknight. However, while they require more preparation and time, than, say, sheet pan pork chops or one-pot pasta, they are surprisingly hands-off and easy to make.

Let me present this 5-ingredient version with a sticky, sweet, and savory honey-miso glaze—adapted from a recipe in Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Every Day. It’s not only a great introduction to cooking ribs for someone who’s never done it, but also serves as a straightforward new recipe for those more seasoned in the art of cooking ribs.

5-ingredient honey-miso ribs

5-ingredient honey-miso ribs

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The key to fall-off-the-bone ribs

Whether you’ve eaten ribs before or not, you’ve probably heard the phrase “fall-off-the-bone ribs,” and are well aware that it’s one of the defining characteristics of a good rack. No one wants to struggle to pull slivers of meat off the bone, especially when they’ve had a taste of tender, flavorful hunks that slip right off the bone. Luckily, the trick to achieving this all-important rib maker or breaker is simple: just remove the silver skin (also called the membrane).

If you buy ribs from the supermarket, it’s likely that the silver skin will still be on—you can tell by rubbing your finger along the bone side of the ribs, it should be slippery and smooth and you won’t be able to directly poke or prod the meat. If you get your ribs from a butcher, you can ask them to remove it for you, otherwise, start by flipping the ribs bone side up on a cutting board or clean work surface. Pat them dry with some paper towels, then use another paper towel to help you grasp a loose edge of the silver skin and pull it off the entire rack. I’ve had racks where the skin was incredibly easy to remove, and others where it was an incredible struggle—so feel free to use a small sharp knife to help you lift and loosen the skin, if needed.

The sticky, sweet and savory glaze

Glazes are synonymous with ribs in my mind. I love the combination of their inherent thick, glossy sweetness with something super tangy and savory like in this 5-ingredient hot honey-glazed cod, this blood orange-glazed salmon, and these pomegranate-cherry glazed ribs.

This recipe combines honey with white miso paste and a kick of rice vinegar to hit all the sweet and sour notes that make a good glaze, great. Matched by the richness of the pork ribs and caramelized char thanks to a stint under the broiler, this, however, is no one-hit wonder glaze.

Toss roasted carrots or sweet potatoes with it, and hit them with the broiler for one last layer of flavor. Drizzle it over a simple pan-fried salmon or chicken for a finishing touch before serving, pulse into softened butter for a silky, spreadable take, stir a tablespoonful into a bowl of congee or a simple brothy soup, or reduce it down even further and use a spoonful as a base for a salad dressing.

Yes, you can prep them ahead, here’s how…

Given the amount of time it takes to bake these ribs into tender oblivion, for most of us, it’s just not feasible recipe for a busy work day. However, it is very possible to bake them on a Sunday, reduce the glaze down, and char the ribs and scallions up on a Monday or Tuesday. Served up hot with jasmine rice and a simple sesame-ginger cabbage salad (like with this chicken katsu), these ribs can most definitely be a weeknight warrior.

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