Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Spareribs are cut from the bottom section of the ribs and breastbone, located just above the belly, of the pig. They're already, when treated right, juicy, however, here the herbaceous spice rub adds moisture and acts as a tenderizer. These spareribs are super simple, the hardest part being waiting for the ribs to chill. Serve with bread, roasted vegetables, and a green salad for a meal that looks far more fancy than it is to make.
1. Grind together fennel seeds and crushed red pepper in a spice grinder. (If you don't have a spice grinder, use a heavy knife to mince the seeds and red pepper.) Combine ground spices and salt; rub mixture all over the ribs. Cover ribs, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, if possible. (If not, rub the ribs a minimum of 2 hours ahead of time.)
2. Stir together olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, and black pepper in a small bowl. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator. Place the ribs on a platter or broiler pan, and pour the marinade from the bowl over it, rubbing it into the meat with your fingers. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, turning the ribs at least once.
3. Preheat the broiler or gas grill to high (450°F to 550°F) 15 minutes before you are ready to cook. (If using charcoal, allow it time to form a full coating of white ash.) Place the broiler pan (or the grilling rack, if it's adjustable) about 8 inches from the source of heat. Place spareribs on the pan or grill, and brush with any remaining marinade. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, turning rack 3 or 4 times.