There are a lot of fantastic foods in the BBQ world. Chicken, beef brisket, pulled pork, you get the picture. But I must confess, I think the most enjoyable plate of food in the world of BBQ is made up of smoky, spicy, sweet, juicy and tender ribs.
I started thinking about how many various versions of ribs there are all over the world. So in this week’s column I will cover some tips for cooking ribs, interspersed with some unique rib dishes served in various cultures all over the world.
First, here is a list of unique ribs.
Lamb ribs: These ribs are available in the U.S., but not real common. In Australia, they are as popular as pork ribs are here in the States. They are also widely available in Europe, North Africa and New Zealand.
Beef ribs: The long beef ribs are what is left when the butcher trims a prime rib. Sweet, meaty and delicious, the long rib is the prime cut of beef ribs. This beef is tender, so you can grill them over high heat or cook them low and slow. Your choice.
Veal ribs: Honestly, veal bums me out in general, because it's a young calf. But, I'm told they are some of the best ribs in the world. I don't think I will ever test the theory. I have limits.
Bison Ribs: The ribs of buffalo are very similar to beef ribs, although they are a little leaner and sweeter. You can now order them online.
Fish ribs: Nope, this is not a fish story. There are fish big enough to produce edible ribs. An Amazonian fish called the tambaqui can grow to over 60 pounds, and the ribs are large enough to treat like traditional ribs. Have I tried them? No. Do I want to? Heck yes.
And here is some advice for my friends with gas grills.
Fill a smoker box with soaked wood chips. Turn the flames to high and get the smoke rolling. Because you are dealing with propane, gas grills have big vents. Turn off the flames entirely after the smoke is rolling, and stuff the vents with aluminum foil. Let the ribs smoke for 5 to 10 minutes. Now, take the foil out of the vents and restart the flame. Finish grilling the ribs. Not bad for a gas grill.
Another piece of advice, in general, learn to use or create a good dry rub. While ribs swimming in sauce can be delicious, sometimes ribs with a dry rub can be better. You taste the meat and the texture is awesome.
One last piece of advice, ribs should not be falling off the bone. That is considered over -cooked. They should be tender, but pull easily from the bone, not fall off.
Give ribs a try. If they scare you, drop me an email. I'll be happy to help you out.
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com