One of the really good things about pork ribs are that they are happy to oblige just about any flavour you could want to put with them. They will sit just as happily in a tomatoey Italian ragu as they would be glistening in a sickly sweet glaze on the grill for a Summery American style barbecue. And they are almost ethereal when cooked properly. They know what you want. They will offer themselves to you wholeheartedly and with abandon of both common sense and good judgement, like a teenager’s love sans the vacant gaze and bad poetry.
Now go and cook some pork ribs.
BARBECUED PORK RIBS WITH LEMONGRASS, CHILLI & HONEY
(serves 4 – 6 as part of a banquette)
1 rack of pork ribs, I used St Louis cut, cut through the middle of the rack. Your butcher should be happy to do this for you if you are not a complete arsehole. A hacksaw will also work, as would Bruce Lee- like karate skills.
1-2 tablespoons chilli sambal. Go for 2 if you like it hot
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped, white part only
1 tablespoon honey, plus 1 tablespoon to finish
1 teaspoon salt
Chilli dipping sauce, to serve (recipe follows)
Coriander, shallot and lime, to garnish
Make a paste out of everything except pork ribs.
Rub said paste into pork ribs to coat evenly.
Cover ribs and stash in fridge for 2-3 hours to marinate.
Set up barbecue for indirect cook (coals off to the side) and get it up to a medium heat – roughly 250 F (125 C). I have used a weber kettle for this job.
Add a little chunk of fruit wood if you have some.
Place ribs on grill away from coals. Cover with lid, positioning the top vent above the ribs so as to draw the heat over them.
Cook ribs for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until tender, rotating back to front a few times in the process.
Carve ribs and drizzle with remaining honey.
Garnish with coriander, shallot and lime.
Get this one on the table as part of an Asian feast or possibly just with a bowl of rice, dipping sauce and a night of Sex in the City reruns.
CHILLI DIPPING SAUCE
Fully submerge your rib in this for the ultimate climax
2 tablespoons chilli sambal
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon castor sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons water
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.