Ribs available year-round on grocery store rack
You don't have to go to Rib Fest to devour a rack of ribs, and ribs don't just have to be eaten only in the summer. They're found in a meat department year-round, and while an oven can't provide the same smoky flavor, one can bake, roast or steam...
You don't have to go to Rib Fest to devour a rack of ribs, and ribs don't just have to be eaten only in the summer.
They're found in a meat department year-round, and while an oven can't provide the same smoky flavor, one can bake, roast or steam them.
The two main kinds of pork ribs are loin back ribs and St. Louis or spareribs.
Loin back ribs are also known as baby back ribs, and have a curved bone, like a pork chop.
"There's a reason restaurants use loin back ribs," says Tim Skauge, owner of Prime Cut Meats in Fargo. "They're more tender and have a better flavor."
Loin back ribs range in size from 1¼ pounds to 2¼ pounds plus. Bigger ribs will be less expensive per pound because they have a less desirable meat-to-bone ratio.
The skin membrane on the back of the ribs should be pulled off, Skauge says, otherwise they'll be tough when cooked.
Skauge says the ribs served at Rib Fest are usually the straight-boned St. Louis variety, which are cheaper in price.
"It's a little bit bigger bone, not quite as meaty, but still a very good rib," says Vern Shellito of Helgeson Locker Plant in Moorhead.
When it comes to beef, the rib choices are dichotomous.
Short ribs, which come from the rib cage, have very big bones and can be very tough. But Texas-style ribs earn four to five stars on Shellito's scale.
"Because it comes off the steak, that meat is as good and tender and flavorful as the steak itself," he says.
These ribs can be difficult to find and are higher priced.
When choosing a package of ribs, Skauge says to look for a nice color with ample marbling, which adds flavor.
"You do need some fat in there," he says.
But ribs aren't the be all and end all of barbecue for Shellito.
"The finest barbecued meat I've ever eaten is barbecued ox tail," he says.
Smoky's Basic Rib Rub
4 tablespoons non-iodized salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika powder
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup oil
Juice of a lemon
Combine salt, garlic, onion powder, paprika, thyme, sage, bay leaf, celery seed and pepper. Sprinkle approximately Zc of mixture on ribs, rub in and refrigerate for 1-5 hours.
For a basting sauce, mix the remaining rub with the water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and oil, and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice.
Prepare the grill for long-term, low-temp cooking. Baste the ribs with the basting sauce and let them dry while they reach room temperature.
Baste again and place on the grill. Baste and turn at 30-minute intervals for 5-8 hours until tender. Do not let the temperature rise above 225 degrees for extended periods.
Finish off with your favorite barbecue or finishing sauce. Apply when the ribs are done and coals are cooler.
Recipe from www.barbecuen.com
Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525