Pork spareribs are a go-to staple for any time I am looking for a meaty main course that will reheat and hold well at room temperature. It’s also very easy to do this recipe in stages: make the rub and season the meat one day and cook it one or two days later. I find cumin, brown sugar, paprika, and garlic are essential pork rub ingredients. Beyond that, you have a lot of flexibility. Grate in some nutmeg, add a spoonful of harissa, or experiment with other dried spices. When buying pork spareribs, look for ones with some visible fat on the outside of the ribs—it’s a lot easier to trim off a little extra fat than to add it back on! The fat will dissolve slowly as the ribs cook, basting the meat so the ribs don’t dry out. If you can only find really lean ribs, you can drape the rubbed rack with a few strips of bacon.
In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, combine the paprika, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves and finely grind. Transfer to a bowl and add the salt and brown sugar.2
Rub the mixture onto the ribs, coating both sides, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.3
Combine the vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Brush any loose spice rub from the ribs, then rub the racks with the vinegar mixture and transfer to the baking sheet, bone side down.4
Bake until the ribs are deeply colored and very tender but not yet falling from the bone, about 11⁄2 hours, occasionally rotating the pan to encourage even cooking. Transfer the cooked ribs to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut between each rib. Serve warm.