Bowl Game Grub: Deep Fried Boneless Ribs

This recipe is a nice departure from the typical New Year’s Day good luck meal.  It’s also great for game day because, well, fried pig!  It’s also darned easy to make.  I guess I would be remiss if I did not point out that boneless spare ribs are not ribs at all.  It is actually a Boston butt but to resemble ribs.  Just go with it.

Deep Fried Boneless Ribs
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 6-8
Served topped with sauerkraut for Octoberfest and everyone would swear you were born in Berlin. This would also be good over cheese grits for a tasty breakfast.
  • 3 pounds (or so) of boneless pork spare ribs or Boston butt cut into 4 inch by 1 inch strips
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  1. Generously season the ribs with salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste and set to the side.
  2. Preheat a deep fryer (or pan with at least 1 inch of cooking oil) to 350 degrees (American).
  3. When the oil is ready fry the ribs in small batches for four minutes, turning as nessecary.
  4. Serve with hot sauce.

Deep Fried Boneless Ribs

Outdoor Cooking: Rib Tips

Originally posted at TheKitchenHotline.com:

The most popular ingredient in American outdoor cooking is quite possibly pork ribs.  They are probably the ingredient that gives the weekend warrior the most trouble as well.  That’s because ribs do not react well to the same cooking method as burgers, dogs and chicken.

More Tips from the ProsTo understand the reason for this it is important to learn the actual definition of one of the most misconstrued words in cooking – grill.  When most here the word “grill” the immediate picture that comes to mind is usually of iron grates over a gas flame.  That specific cooking method is called char-broiling.  While that it is a method for grilling it is not the only method.  To grill something means to cook quickly in close proximity to a high-temperature, dry heat.  Char-broiling certainly fits that description but so does a griddle.  This is the method most use to cook burgers, dogs and chicken.

If you try to grill ribs you will not be happy with the result.  If they look good on the outside they are raw in the center; if they are done through and through then they’re most likely burnt on the outside.  To properly cook ribs you need a low temperature for an extended cooking period, usually no hotter than 225 degrees for no less than three hours.

The secret to ribs according to Danielle Dimovski (aka Diva-Q) is, “low and slow rules.”  Diva-Q is the Grand Dame of the competitive barbecue circuit.  She was the break out star of season two of TLC’s BBQ Pitmaster and is rumored to be part of a new series on the Food Network.  The lady knows her ribs.

According to her, “The number one rule for ribs is pull your membrane.  If you’re making ribs you need to pull your membrane so the smoke can absorb and the rub can absorb into the meat.”  Concerning the low/slow method she adds, “You cannot break down that internal fat fast.  You need to take time to do it.  It’s not something that should be done quickly.  At least four hours for a slab of St. Louie spares. “

Because it only produces a high heat gas is difficult, but not impossible, to cook ribs properly.  If you have a gas grill only light one side of it and place the ribs over the cold side.  It isn’t perfect but it will work.   The reason it is only functional is because there is little smoke.  Smoke is vital because it provides a great deal of the taste.

Low and slow isn’t the only reason why charcoal is the preferred cooking medium for barbecue; it also produces smoke.  As the smoke permeates the meat it slowly breaks down the connective tissue leaving a tender rib with great flavor.

Two last tips to producing great ribs.  First, do not put on any BBQ sauce until the ribs are done.  The sugar in the sauce will scorch long before the ribs are done so try not to cook the sauce more than about 10 minutes.  Lastly, never, ever boil the ribs before putting them on the fire.  You lose all of the finger licking goodness.

Review: Burger King Ribs

I was, to put it mildly, apprehensive when I saw a commercial for Burger King’s new “Fire Grilled Ribs.”  I have survived the McRib, Hardee’s Fried Chicken, Popeye’s Chicken Pita, KFC’s Double Down, Taco Bell’s BLT Taco and the results of the “King’s” other atrocities from the Kitchen of Dr. Moreau, Chicken Fries and those infamous BK Tacos (a kid burger inside a half-cooked taco shell).

Burger King Ribs on WannabeTVchef.comLast week, whilst in the throws of moving from my apartment to my new house, I decided I would give the BK Ribs a try.  I was hungry so I opted for the 8 piece combo over the 6 piece.  With tax I dropped $10 and with the service I also lost 30 minutes of my life waiting for the only other person in the drive-thru to get their Whopper Jr. combo meal.

Now clearly I was not expecting pork ribs to be healthy.  It’s called a splurge.  So once I was able to track down the carefully hidden nutritional information I was not surprised by the 12g of saturated fat (6 piece portion) nor the 66% of calories from fat.

Jack Links Steak Bites on WannabeTVchef.comHowever, I was surprised to find that though they looked a good deal like pork ribs they did not taste like pork ribs.  The texture was quite off-putting.  It was somewhere between a dry rib and those beef jerky steak bites.  They were gnaw off the bone tender.  They certainly were not smoked but rather roasted with a touch of liquid smoke and brown sugar but no detectable spices or rub.  They come dry (which has two different meanings in the case) with BBQ sauce dipping cups on the side.  Use as much sauce as possible as it is the only thing that makes these palatable.

It isn’t bad enough that these fast food ribs taste like, well fast food ribs, but they cost as much a REAL ribs.  I live in Alabama, there is no shortage of great barbecue and if I am going to plop down $10 for ribs I want great ribs.  But what should I expect from a company that professes to let you “have it your way” but that has never been the case.

I once walked into a Burger King and ordered a Whopper made my way, “Fresh ground grass-fed beef, a whole wheat bun free of High Fructose Corn Syrup and hydrogenated oil, vegetables that were allowed to fully ripen on the vine at a farm within 150 miles and REAL cheddar cheese.”  They looked at me like I had asked them to fix me something that wasn’t poisonous.

Have your tried BK Ribs?  Culinary revolution or porcine abomination?  Use the comments below to tell the world what you thought of them.

Burger King Ribs

BBQ Styles – A Primer

Food anthropologists (yes, that is a thing) say there are certain foods where people tend to be very territorial. The style one first tries of a certain dish soon becomes the only acceptable recipe. No food demonstrates this more than barbecue. Once one learns to move beyond local prejudice, a new world of flavors emerges. To reach this heightened awareness one need only stop comparing the foreign recipe to the familiar. Only then can we learn to accept the beauty of that which is unfamiliar; it could be said that barbecue is a metaphor for culture.

Alabama plays host to three styles of BBQ. The style that most of us grew up with here along the Gulf Coast is actually an example of Kansas City barbecue – various smoked meats glazed with a tomato-based, sweet and smokey sauce. About 90% of the commercial barbecue sauces sold in grocers are variations of Kansas City sauce and it is because of this that KC style is the nation’s favorite. KC Masterpiece is the most popular sauce controlling more than half of the US market.

North Alabama is heavily influenced by the approach made famous in Memphis. This Memphis style is made up mainly of smoked pork butt or spare ribs and is distinguishable by the use of a dry rub (recipe below) rather than a wet sauce. At the same time there is a distinctive Memphis sauce that is less sweet and more acidic than KC style but is still tomato-based. The Memphis style sauce is very common at North Alabama BBQ joints like Tuscaloosa’s legendary Dreamland.

East Alabama border communities like Opelika, Auburn, and their Georgia neighbors enjoy a sauce that uses mustard as it’s base and a very specific cut Cackalacky on BBQ Chickenof pork called a CT butt. The style is often called Smokey Pig because of the Columbus, GA shack that originated it. The mustard sauce (recipe below) most likely migrated from South Carolina and tends to be quite acidic and a touch on the spicy side. Moving from South to North Carolina the mustard disappears and the sauce is primarily vinegar and hot spices. In both Carolinas the primary meat is whole hog.

And Texas is a hole other matter. For these BBQ aficionados it is all about the smoke. The wood or combination of woods used in the smoking process is where the Texan expresses his individuality. Pork is rarely seen in the Lone Star State as Texans love their beef. The most popular cut in Texas is beef brisket because it captures the taste of smoke so well. Seldom will you ever find a bottle of sauce at an archetypal Texas smokehouse and those who dare bring their own should prepare for looks of disdain and the whispered murmurs of Yankee or city folk.

In the resorts of the Rocky Mountains classically trained chefs combine their refined European techniques with the wild flavors of the region. The result is a bold barbecue that uses grilled game like duck or venison and exotic sauces made with everything from raspberries to root beer. In Louisiana you might find a KC style sauce kicked-up with spices that add Cajun sizzle and in the Mississippi Delta they are fond of a sauce called Mississippi Blues that has blue berries as its main flavor ingredient.

Chicken seems to be universal in all regions of the country and can be augmented with a dry rub or any of the aforementioned wet sauces. Which brings us back to Alabama where we have a sauce formulated specifically for chicken. Alabama White BBQ Sauce hails from the northern half of the state and has been popularized at celebrated restaurants like Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur. This sauce is mayonnaise-based with acidity coming from apple cider vinegar and sweetness from brown sugar; black pepper adds a little nutty heat to the finish.

Mustard Barbecue Sauce & Memphis Rub
Recipe Type: BBQ
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: Plenty
South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce can be traced to German settlers in the 18th century.
  • 4 cups yellow mustard (two 20-ounce bottles of French’s mustard should do the trick)
  • 8 ounces of beer (less for thicker sauce, more for thinner sauce)
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. SAUCE: Heat all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and mix well. Cook until sauce just begins to thicken. Serve cool or warm. The sauce will last in the refrigerator for a long time. Quantity: 6 cups.
  2. RUB: Mix together and store in airtight container until ready to use.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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