Conquering Negative Self-Talk By Grilling Vietnamese Marinated and Caramel Glazed Back Ribs

Many times I look at a recipe and think, “all those ingredients are too cumbersome” or “that’s going to take too long.” That’s why I love cooking on weekends; I have plenty of time for gathering ingredients, shopping, prepping, and cooking. Cooking for me is cathartic, it relaxes me, and gets my creative juices flowing.

I had been looking at a recipe in a magazine published by our local grocery store for awhile. Actually, I’d been reading it since June thinking it’s too complicated, it’s going to take too long on the grill, and I don’t have all the ingredients. Today was a perfect day to conquer my negative self-talk. I had time to do the shopping, had all day to marinade the ribs, and the 90° plus heat made grilling outside easier and more comfortable than cooking inside. I discovered I already had most of the ingredients, I just needed to get the vegetables and baby-back pork ribs from the store.

The recipe also provided another challenge to overcome. The marinade called for Chinese five spice powder which I couldn’t find anywhere at the store. Luckily, a quick Google search informed me the five spices were Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel, Pepper, and Anise, all of which I knew I had at home except Anise, which I now own. And, with my mortar and pestle, I was able to make my own spice mixture.

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The most difficult thing was preparing the marinade. Yes, it was ingredient heavy (12 ingredients) but when it was completed and the ribs were marinating in the refrigerator, most of the work for dinner was done. The next work was six hours later. Kip got the grill ready to cook the ribs at 350° for ninety minutes while I prepared the glaze, which was easy because besides peanut oil and onion, it included the already prepared leftover marinade!

The recipe was very good about describing the proper grilling techniques. We were able to grill the ribs for ninety minutes over indirect heat on our gas grill at 350°. The recipe was specific about glazing the ribs during the final six minutes and letting the ribs sit for 10 minutes under loose fitting foil. Those specific directions helped me overcome negative self-talk since I’d never grilled ribs before. Some of the reasons were I never knew the grilling temperature, length of time, and clues to look for (meat pulling away from the bone, thanks to the descriptive recipe).


I don’t mean to brag, but the ribs were delicious! Perfectly cooked thanks to the recipe directions. The marinade and glaze were amazing; a little kick (thank you Sriracha chili sauce) but not too much for my sensitive taste.


Another nice feature of the magazine article and recipe was the inclusion of an Asian inspired coleslaw that paired nicely with the ribs.


So, the next time negative self-talk starts to prevent you from trying something new, take a deep breath, think carefully, and plan some time to overcome that talk. You will find the end result is much better (and delicious) than first imagined.



  1. Kathleen · September 6, 2015

    So true Mark both in and out of the kitchen!


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