1/2 onion, cut in wedges
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 1/2 pounds small pork spareribs, back or side
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups filtered water
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
Add onion, bay leaf, salt and half a teaspoon of pepper to a large pot of boiling water.
Add ribs to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the meat is tender. Skip this step if using a slow cooker.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy pot (large enough to fit the ribs). Add garlic and ginger and sauté on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, water, soy sauce, dry mustard, and the remaining half teaspoon of pepper. Add mixture to the ginger and garlic. Stir and then set aside.
Remove ribs and slice the meat between the bones.
Bring the sauce ingredients to a boil. Add the spareribs to the sauce and simmer for 20-25 minutes, basting occasionally.
If using a slow cooker, cook ribs on low for three hours, stirring occasionally. When cooked, transfer the ribs and sauce to a baking dish. Bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, basting the ribs with sauce several times.
Remove the ribs and place on a serving platter.
Transfer the sauce to a medium pan, bring to a boil and reduce to thicken.
Pour over the ribs and serve.