Chai-Smoked Spareribs





When Joanne Chang expanded beyond the world’s best cinnamon buns and scones to New England-sourced Taiwanese soul food and Southeast Asian street food, Boston perked up. Meyers + Chang is packed most nights with happy eaters and dishes to inspire that happiness. Thank goodness, Tara was also inspired to recreate one of their best dishes. Now let’s get smoking. -Maggie

As much as I love trying new restaurants, I must admit that I’m a creature of habit. I have my favorites, the always-satisfying spots where everyone knows me and I know every single menu item.

Myers + Chang is one of those places. My best friend, who works in Joanne Chang’s bakery empire, did a brief stint at her Asian fusion restaurant, and that’s when I fell, hard. Since I started working from the South End, Myers + Chang has become an easy lunch joint instead of just the occasional treat. The easy access only fuels my cravings, and I’ve started to try to recreate dishes at home.


Today’s experiment is inspired by Myers + Chang’s tea-smoked spareribs, which are intensely smoky, fall-off-the-bone perfection. Mine aren’t quite the original, but the chai adds a lovely bouquet of coriander, cinnamon, and ginger to the smoke.

Don’t have a huge smoker out back? I simulated the experience on my stove top with a stock pot and a steamer basket! It was so super easy, I may just start smoking everything. What do you smoke at home? 



Chai-Smoked Spareribs

Serves 4


  • 2-1/2 pounds pork ribs
  • 4 – 8 tablespoons chai tea
  • Salt & pepper


  • Stock pot
  • Steamer insert
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Rinse the ribs and pat dry. Remove any silver skin and unwanted fat and cut the rack into 4 even portions.
  2. Set the stock pot on the stovetop. Line the bottom with aluminum foil. Add the chai to the pot and top with another layer of aluminum foil. Insert the flattened steamer basket.
  3. Salt and pepper both sides of the ribs, and place onto the steamer basket. Depending on the size of your ribs and pot, you may have to smoke them in 2 batches. Cover the pot and wrap aluminum foil around the edges to seal in the smoke.
  4. Heat the pot on high for 5 minutes, and then lower to medium for 25-35 minutes. If your ribs are particularly large, you may need to finish in the oven until cooked through.


Photos taken and styled by Tara.

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  • patstarkey

    I am confused. How come the pot does not just burn ? What is doing the smoking ? The tea is loose leaf? But it is not ‘on fire’ so how is there smoke ? I would love to try this but am not ready to just jump in without some clue. Also, are you wrapping the foil around the meat in the steamer basket to keep the smoke in ?
    Thank you for helping clarify !

    • Tara Bellucci

      Hi! No, the pot doesn’t burn; you line it with foil, and then add the tea and top with another layer of foil. You only have the heat on high until the tea starts to smoke, and then you reduce the heat. You can use loose-leaf or just cut open tea bags and pour it in. No, you do not wrap foil around the meat; the smoke fills the pot and infuses the meat that way. Here’s my dedicated post about making the smoker on and here’s a video from Saveur on how to do it:

      Hope that helps!