Thursday, June 6, 2019

From Spare Ribs to DAO Ribs: From Coach to a Private Jet

Spare ribs aren't an item you'll find on the menu at your favorite bistro or rib joint, but let me tell you, they should be.  They are the least expensive of the rib variety, partly because of the bone/meat ratio, but also because of the rat/lean ratio.  As consumers, we eat with our eyes first and have unfairly decided that less bone means better, and we pay accordingly.  
I am a supporter of spare ribs, and I prefer them over the more sought after baby back and St.Louis style, even though for the St. Louis, it's just a matter of where you cut the slab.  Like a T bone steak, it has the New York strip and the filet on the same bone. Likewise, A spare rib has the St. Louis style included, it simply must be trimmed to achieve a more uniform and easier to manage protein.

I like the fact that the spare rib is looked over sometimes, that keeps its reasonably priced, because some don't want to put in the minimal effort it takes to break down the protein.   If you are entertaining and want to present well to your guests, odds are, you probably won't pick spare ribs.  I like that it is versatile and will stand up to the demands of a recipe, albeit braised with potatoes, simmered in tomato sauce, gravied or pressure cooked, smoke kissed and slathered with homemade SAUCE! Gotta Have Some Sauce! 
You can dress them up or down and not be judged.  Spare ribs can be elevated, and once they are, it can be phenomenal. The bones and fat have them loaded with much more flavor and body.
Heck, we pay upwards of 40+ dollars basically for the bone that makes a Tomahawk Steak so appealing.  I feel the premise is the same for the spare rib!  I'm just glad enough people don't realize this and drive the cost of these guys through the roof! lol Ribs... I think I'll call it the DAO RIB. The Dao is an ancient Chinese weapon, one of the most common and widely used weapons of it's time.
Yeah, I like that.  It's loosely shaped like a DAO, so I'll go with it. I hope it catches on!
Eating ribs require that you understand that there is a certain amount of getting your 'hands dirty' involved, some excessive wiping, and some finger licking, YES, it is allowed.  I love having fresh aromatics like sage and rosemary on hand to pair beautifully with my pork and other proteins for the  preparatory process.  I love knowing where my herbs come from too; my garden. 
Perhaps my love of the lowly 'spare rib' comes from a more humble place.  A time when families
 were lucky to have meat at all for most meals, much less a cut from an animal being sold in the markets. It took some social classes many generations to eat "high on the hog".   Not too long ago and maybe now, some families ate only what they could capture or kill;  if rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and groundhogs were what they obtained, from hunting on their land or someone else's, then wildlife it was.
Deer were also an option and offered much more variety, but also sweat equity.
The good ole pig came first to Cuba, thanks to Queen Isabella of Spain via Christopher Columbus circa 1493.
Hernando De Soto came with 13 pigs to the Americas in 1539, which reached the 700's in a mere 3 years and the rest is delicious history.
Alas, that is a story for another day.
1.  I pressure cooked these spice rubbed ribs 45 minutes in my Ninja Foodi, which I LOVE, I know my oven is so jealous haha!  If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can par boil them for about 1 1/2 hours in a seasoned broth, flavored chicken stock, onion, garlic and celery.
2.  Next, I put them on the grill using charcoal and indirect heat, while I mowed the lawn, (about 1 1/2 hours) imparting another layer to its flavor profile.
3. After the heat died down to low, I brushed the DAO ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, and placed them over the warm coals. After about 30 minutes, I removed them from the grill.  I finished them off by dousing them with another round of sauce. BANANAS!

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