Ribs. Kidneys. Skin. Trotter. Knuckle. We don’t see them often enough. So ask for them. Change the butcher’s mind. Where there is demand there is supply. These particular ribs were a gift with some sausages and hefty pork chops that I got from @beckiePA’s lovely home-reared pigs. The real piggy deal. This shouldn’t be news but it is, our supermarkets are stacked so full of the bright pink stuff masquerading as bacon and screaming maltreated pigs, chemicals and leaking white stuff that real pig is headline news.
Ribs. Two hefty racks + family barbecue = sticky ribs. On Doug Mack’s ‘Cue Quest, he describes the flavour of the ultimate ribs as: “… at once vivacious and grounded, delightfully unexpected, yet elementally familiar, like a bass drum and a snare combining to make the most boogie-inducing jazz riff.”
A challenge had been laid but I knew I couldn’t take on the Americans. I perused a couple of recipes and absorbed a few ideas, the most intriguing being BBC Olive Food’s Dr. Pepper ribs (for the next gifted rack). So this is what I plumped for in the end:
It was a store cupboard motley crew marinade that ticked most of the boxes, the sherry adding an extra level of sweetness that worked. Be fickle about quantities, add ginger and garlic, stick your finger in to taste and you can’t really go too wrong. Best marinated up to 24 hours before barbecuing or roasting, but 20 mins is the absolute minimum.
Eat with fingers, get sticky and savour a hugely underrated piece of the pig that is fun, cheap, easy and delicious. Serve with Helen Graves’ astonishingly good Boston baked beans and there’s no real need to leave your garden. Ever. Again.
For a history of barbecuing read the excellent and erudite Mr Oliver Thring
Other rib recipes you may be interested in: