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Introduction: The Popular Choice
Ribs 101 (p. 5)
An Anatomy Lesson: Know Your Ribs(p. 6)
Eight Essential Techniques for Prepping & Cooking Ribs (p. 17)
How to Cook Ribs: Six Great Live-Fire Techniques(p. 21)
How to Make Grill-Quality Ribs Indoors (p. 26)
How to Set Up a Grill (p. 29)
What to Cook Your Ribs On: A Quick Guide to Grills and Smokers (p. 39)
Tools and Accessories for Cooking Ribs (p. 48)
Pork Baby Backs (p. 53)
Hands down, this is America’s favorite rib, here cooked to glorious perfection. From the deliciously simple First-Timer’s Ribs to the Maple-Glazed Ribs of Quebec to Chinatown Ribs, Buccaneer Baby Backs, Peanut Butter Ribs, and Porkosaurus Memphis in May Championship Ribs—these are ribs at their finest.
Beyond Baby Backs: Pork Spareribs, Country-Style Ribs, and Rib Tips (p. 143)
There’s much more to pork ribs than baby backs. Fire up the grill and test out Jamaican Jerk Spareribs, Milk and Honey Spareribs, BB’s Rib Tips, and Country-Style Ribs with Chilean Pepper Sauce.
Beef Ribs (p. 173)
Short ribs, long ribs, veal ribs, bison ribs—they’re all here. Feast on Lone Star Beef Ribs, Rabbi’s Ribs, Grandpa’s Barbecued Pastramied Short Ribs, Rotisserie Veal Ribs with Herbes de Provence, and Bison Ribs with Cabernet Sauvignon Barbecue Sauce. All delectable.
Lamb Ribs (p. 221)
Lamb ribs turn up often on the world’s barbecue trail. For a Mediterranean touch, grill Lamb Ribs with Garlic and Mint. And wait until you try them tandoori style with Indian spices, or with ginger, rum, and pineapple as they do in Australia. To really heat things up, serve the North African “Méchoui” of Lamb Ribs with a spicy Harissa, then turn to the Drinks chapter to cool things off.
Side Dishes (p. 241)
Some may wish to feast on ribs alone, but that would mean missing out on Grilled Corn with Barbecue Butter, Smoke-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Molasses Mustard Baked Beans, and Fennel Slaw—and that would be too much to sacrifice.
Drinks and Desserts (p. 263)
Ribs and beer—what could be better? How about a Dark and Stormy or a Guadeloupean Rum Punch or a glass of White Sangria? Want something a little less high-test? Try Minted Lemonade or Half-and-Halfs. And for dessert, there are Molasses and Spice Grilled Bananas, a Grilled Peach Caramel Sundae, or Grilled Fruit-and-Pound-Cake Kebabs. Perfect!
The rib is surely the most perfect morsel of meat known to man. Most of the world's great food cultures back me on this. The Chinese have their lacquered sugar and soy spareribs. Argentineans prefer tira de asado, simply seasoned, crustily grilled, crosscut beef ribs. Koreans favor kalbi kui, slicing short ribs paper-thin, grilling them over charcoal, and serving them wrapped in lettuce leaves with a high-voltage array of panchan (pickled vegetables) and spicy condiments. Italians slow-cook pork spareribs with the age-old Mediterranean trinity of rosemary, garlic, and wine. Even lesser-known food cultures have their rib specialties, from Norway's pinnekjøtt —salted lamb ribs served with mashed rutabagas—to Brazil, where they marinate baby backs and expertly cook them on a rotisserie.
This doesn't begin to address the multiplicity of ribs enjoyed in the United States. If ribs are an article of faith in much of the world, in America they've evolved into a full-blown "religion." There are "sects" (adherents of spareribs, baby back ribs, or beef ribs, for example). There are "dogmas," including the best way to cook ribs, from smoking to indirect grilling to direct grilling. There are even "heresies," such as boiling, braising, or mirowaving ribs before putting them on the grill (for an overview of the great rib debates, see page 59). But there are two points on which just about every American barbecue buff can agree: No self-respecting cookout is complete without some sort of rib. And when it comes to flavor and the pure, unadulterated enjoyment of eating barbecue, ribs are hard to beat.
What accounts for the rib's near universal popularity? I think there are a number of factors. First, meat that's next to the bone tends to be the best marbled and the most flavorful, and no other cut offers a higher proportion of bone to meat. Second, the rib bones give the meat structure, presenting a broad surface to smoke and fire and keeping the meat from shriveling up on the grill. Third, there's the sheer versatility of ribs, from ubiquitous pork and beef to the more rarified lamb, veal, and bison. Fourth, ribs can be cooked using myriad methods, including smoking, indirect grilling, direct grilling, braising, stewing, and spit roasting. Many pit masters employ sizzling them on the grill to brown them. And portion sizes vary widely, ranging from the delicate single-or double-bone portions served by robatayaki (mixed grill) masters in Japan to the plate-burying slabs we'e come to expect from pit masters in the United States.
Finally, ribs are just unabashedly fun to eat, evoking the memory of our cave-dwelling ancestors roasting meats over open fires and devouring them with no more finery than their bare hands (Admit it: Part of the perennial pleasure of ribs is that you get to eat them with your fingers.) A rack of ribs—fragrant with spice, dark with smoke, glistening with fat and sauce—is the very embodiment of the spirit of barbecue.
Why I Wrote this Book
This book has been "simmering" on my metaphorical back burner almost since the day I started writing about barbecue. But it really came into focus a few years ago when we ran a Lip-Smackin' Rib Recipe Contest on the barbecuebible.com Web site. I expected dozens, maybe hundreds of responses. We received literally thousands. I anticipated the predictable pork and beef ribs. We got recipes for lamb ribs, veal ribs, even venison ribs. I thought I'd see the usual barbecue rub and/or red sauce ribs in the style of Memphis or Kansas City. There were recipes seasoned with everything from Dr. Pepper soda to coffee, black tea, green tea, chai tea, cherry juice, and ...gasp!...Hershey's chocolate sauce.
The sheer number of entries and the ingenuity of the recipes led me to realize two things: Americans in general (and the barbecuebible.com community in particular) are even more obsessed with ribs than I knew. And, when it comes to mixing up rubs and concoting basting and barbecue sauces for ribs, no ingredient is off-limits, no flavor combination is too outlandish.
But, despite the popularity of these meaty staves, a surprising number of people are intimidated by the prospect of cooking ribs. (Granted, there is a lot of confusion surrounding ribs —how to season them, cook them, and serve them.) Whenever I teach a session of Barbecue University, I conduct an informal poll to see what dishes my students would most like to learn to make. Topping the list are how to grill fish and steak, and above all, how to grill the perfect ribs.
So, what will you find in this book? A complete crash course on the art of grilling and smoking ribs, including how to recognize the different cuts (and what to look for when buying them). A review of the various cooking methods, plus how and when to use each. And, of course, how to make rubs, the various spice pastes, marinades, mop and finishing sauces, basting mixtures and glazes, and all manner of barbecue sauces—and what they're best for.
Posted May 8, 2010
Here is the book that eliminates all the past hand me down guesses, trials, opinions and smoked disasters. You get the inside knowledge of what ribs are. This is followed by preparation, grills, techniques and even sides to go with your tribute to cooking and eating pleasure. Most books give one aspect of the grilled product a polite wave but this book is a swan dive into rib heaven. Beef or pork ribs, foreign or domestic flavors, first timer or smoke choked veteran, all your needs are all here covered completely with love and humor. Rib lover, this is your book. I can't believe I've overlooked it for several years. My penitence is over, my rib pleasure is at hand!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.