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Each of these cities have almost as many barbecue restaurants per capita as hamburger joints. Almost. And some of them produce edible barbecue. These are the ones that produce profuse paeans of prose from peripatetic Eastern journalists. Their mushy myths mean that they as gullibly swallow the barbecuer's tales as eagerly as they consume the ribs. The cook who cannot concoct a story as spicy as his sauce is doomed to failure as a barbecuer.
As eager innocents try to duplicate the flavors and textures of barbecue in their own back yards, they are sometimes mislead by the earnest errors of the beguiled journalists. They may also be confused by the various names given to ribs from different areas of the hog. Loin back ribs from the loin section — nearer the backbone than the spareribs are very tender and those from small carcasses and weighing less than two pounds, are called baby back ribs by fanciful merchandisers. Country style ribs are cut from the top ("high on the hog") and contain part of the pork loin section. They are, therefore, very meaty but the meat is loin rather than rib.
The classic barbecued ribs are the spareribs — the lower section of rib cage remaining after the pork chop has been removed. If the chine bone and the brisket bones are removed from the bottom of the rib rack, then the rib section is called St. Louis style.
Pork Bone Structure Chart and Rib Guide [image]
Spareribs - Before Trimming [image]
Spareribs - After Trimming [image]
The choicest spareribs weigh in at less than three pounds — called "three and under" by those who get serious about such things. Larger ribs will be tougher and may require more magic to render them tender. Personally, I avoid the small imported "Danish" ribs because of lack of taste and texture
As discussed in the "Meat" section, pork ribs can be broiled, roasted or barbecued. Those who want a quick fix and don't mind that the texture of the ribs is crunchy rather than tenderly, succulent will be happy with broiling. Some of the more errant may even try to capture the tenderness of barbecued ribs by using meat tenderizers. Those completely lost in the wilderness may even commit the taste robbing travesty of parboiling ribs in a vain attempt to make them tender. If you want to broil, the so-called baby backs, being much more tender, perform better broiled than do spareribs. Country style ribs broil exactly like a pork chop — which they are part of.
Those who cook ribs in the roasting range, between 250 and 350 degrees, get to eat earlier, but at what a price of taste and texture. These are mostly likely the folk who were introduced to ribs by restauranteurs who cooked them fast at roasting temperatures in gas ovens and burnt some ends in their haste. Suffering a lifelong aversion to charred and burned food, I have never learned to appreciate burnt ends.
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Smoky's 5th basic position for really great barbecue'n.
'According to Smoky' is © by C. Clark Hale
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