Sunday, July 10, 2011

Country-Style Boneless Ribs

Ribs have a culinary mystique about them. They conjure visions of barbecue pits, messy faces and delicious fall-off-the-bone meat. Ribs are hard to cook perfectly – much harder in my opinion than loin meat.

Country-style ribs conjure all the great visions of what ribs are supposed to be, minus the distinct rib bone, but are conveniently easy to cook. That's because the meat associated with country-style ribs is not actually rib meat - it's loin meat! (At least most of the time, western country-style ribs are from the shoulder.)

I cooked these exactly as I would have cooked boneless loin chops and they turned out tender and juicy. If you can't find any boneless country-style ribs at the store and you want to make this recipe, buy boneless loin chops instead. You'll get the same taste and tenderness.

I decided to make these "ribs" with an Asian flare rather than the traditional barbecue flavor. Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger are featured ingredients in the sauce. These are staples I always keep in my pantry to turn any dish I want into an Asian-inspired delight.

THE COLUMN
I mention that I like boneless meat so that "I can dive in much like a hyena feasting on a vulnerable wildebeest." That is one of the many phrases I've been saving to describe pigging out on food. It seems I'm always trying to find a new phrase for that, so I have been collecting them for the column. The first time I used a pig-out phrase was in recipe number 3: "I must have looked like a starving animal dumpster-diving at a McDonald's." – That one still makes me giggle.

(If you have a descriptive phrase for chowing down please leave it in the comment section or send me a message. Example: I'm so hungry I could eat the north end of a south-bound mule, courtesy of my dad.)

Presentation here is very clear. Three layers: sauce, ribs, rice. That is how the dish is composed and that is exactly how it is presented and meant to be cooked.

FINAL THOUGHTS
There are so many ways that the people behind the meat counter label meat to sound more appetizing. "Steak" or "Rib" is a nice thing to call a cut to get it to move off the shelf. These boneless country-style ribs turned out really good, but they weren't really "ribs." I knew this and cooked them accordingly. Be careful when buying meats such as "family steak" or "country ribs." Get to know the cut. Understand the proper way to cook it. Any cut of meat can be cooked into a delicious treat...or obliterated into a tasteless mess.

Eat well. cook often ...

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