Vartan Abgaryan’s Crispy Pork Ribs

The Cliff’s Edge chef shares his recipe

You know the almighty baby back from its baritone theme song, but the world of ribs is wider. There are spareribs, beef ribs, country ribs, rib tips, riblets, St.Louis cut ribs, and that’s just the beginning. Ingrigued? These bone-in slabs of meat—as messy as they are delicious—are being honored this Sunday at the first annual Food GPS Rib Festival in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza. The event will spotlight 12 of L.A.’s top chefs including Vartan Abgaryan (Cliff’s Edge), Chad Colby (Chi Spacca), and Bryant Ng (the Spice Table), all of whom will be creating unique rib preparations and sides. This is not your average barbecue fare. Instead think spice-rubbed lamb ribs with a side of burrata and sambal-marinated grilled eggplant, or cheesy mac and ribs with caramelized onions and smoky bacon cheese grits. Prepare your palate for the meaty onslaught by cooking up a few racks at home. No smoker? No problem. Chef Abgaryan’s crispy pork ribs are braised in a ginger-lemongrass-infused chicken stock until fork tender and are topped with a honey and fish sauce glaze.

Crispy Pork Ribs
Courtesy of Chef Vartan Abgaryan

Rib Braising

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, chopped
  • 1 cup ginger, sliced
  • 2 stems fresh thyme
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley stems, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons, soy sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover) 
  1. Place ribs in roasting pan, with all ingredients
  2. Cover with chicken stock
  3. Braise in oven at 350 degrees, for 45-60 minutes until ribs are fork tender
  4. Remove from liquid and let cool

Rice Powder

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • ½ cup lemongrass, chopped
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger


  1. Toast rice in pan at medium heat with ginger and lemon grass until golden brown
  2. Add lime leaves and toast for two minutes
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  4. Grind in spice grinder to a semi coarse powder.

Rib Glaze

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce


  1. Warm honey in saucepan over low/medium heat
  2. Add lime juice and fish sauce
  3. Whisk to combine

Herb Topping

  • 1 cup equal parts cilantro, mint, basil, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  1. Mix together

To assemble:
Flash fry ribs in hot oil, glaze with honey dressing, toss with rice powder and sprinkle with herb mixture