Rub the ribs a day ahead:
Trim any excess fat from the top of each rib down to the first layer of meat, but don’t take off any of the silverskin or the tough-looking bits that hold the ribs together or onto the bone. Combine the five-spice powder, salt, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the ribs. Put the ribs in a single layer on a tray or baking dish, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Cook the ribs:
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, but don’t rub off the spices. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven (or other heavy pot with a lid) over medium heat until hot. Add only as many ribs as will fit without touching, and brown them, turning with tongs until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, and continue until all the ribs are browned.
Pour off and discard most of the fat from the pot. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil and return the pot to medium heat. Add the onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Add the beer and bring to a full boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge any caramelized bits. Pour in the broth and soy sauce, return to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf. Return the ribs to the pot, preferably in a single layer, along with any juices. The ribs should be at least three-quarters submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add a bit more beer or broth.
Crumple a large sheet of parchment and smooth it out again. Arrange it over the pot, pressing it down so it nearly touches the ribs, allowing any overhang to extend up and over the edges of the pot. Put the lid in place and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise, turning the ribs with tongs every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender and pulling away from the bone, about 2-1/2 hours.
Make the glaze:
While the ribs are braising, measure the honey in a 1-cup liquid measure, add the orange juice, ketchup, and fish sauce, and combine using a whisk or a fork.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the ribs (meaty side up) to a flameproof gratin dish or a shallow baking pan that is large enough to accommodate the ribs in a single layer. Don’t worry if some bones slip out. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup measuring cup, pressing gently on the solids with a spoon to extract the liquid. When the fat has risen to the top, tilt the cup so you can spoon off as much fat as you can. You should have about 1 cup of thin but flavorful sauce. If necessary, simmer the sauce in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the flavor is concentrated to your liking. Season to taste. Keep warm.
Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Generously brush the honey-orange juice glaze on the tops of the ribs. Slide the ribs under the broiler and broil until the surface of the ribs develops a shiny, almost caramelized glaze and you can hear them sizzle, about 4 minutes. Serve with the sauce on the side for dipping, or drizzle it over the ribs.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings;
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips