I made a version of these ribs years ago from a cookbook published in Thailand. I employed baby back ribs and posted the recipe on VWK. I liked it well enough to keep it in our grilling repertoire for a while. However, I always felt that it was missing something – a little extra complexity in the marinade, a dipping sauce of some sort.
This recipe from the Pok Pok cookbook provided an answer via a marinade that included cinnamon and nutmeg along with white pepper (the other recipe had the pepper too). As it turned out, the spices added sweet, warm depth while the tart-sweet-spicy jaew dipping sauce contributed a last minute wild layer of flavor. It was more vibrant than the previous one I'd made. We're adding this recipe to our pork rib rotation this year!
Before diving in, keep in mind a few things. There is time involved in marinating the ribs and slow cooking them, but overall, they are easy to prepare. (The jaew sauce, with its three sub-recipes are what tripped me up, but for a delicious good cause!)
Once done, the ribs are chewy-tender – the way many Asians like their meat. Savoring the richness of animal protein by lots of chewing and gnawing is a pleasure that people enjoy. Meat is traditionally a luxe ingredient, raised naturally, and consumed in modest quantities from nose to tail.