Everybody knows certain foods have gender. Quiche = female. Chili = male. I like both, so I guess that makes me bisexual, or maybe just fat. But if food gender falls on a spectrum, I’d put ribs way over on the male side, even more macho than chili.
I’m not a huge ribs fan. They’re too Fred Flintstone for me, and require more work than escargot — and that’s just in the eating, with the gnawing and copious napkins and all the rest of it. And the sauce overwhelms everything; it seems you could get the same effect by dipping white bread into Open Pit and dabbing a little around your face and clothing. It seemed like Chinese food — not worth the effort to make at home, and best left to restaurants.
In my weekly trips to the Eastern Market I usually make a stop at Gratiot Central, aka the Meat Mall, and there’s a pork place there that always has acres of ribs piled up for Saturday sales. They look good, and there’s never a shortage of portly black dudes standing in line to stock up. I always feel I’m passing up something I should be finding a way to enjoy. (Note: I never feel that way in front of the tripe, hog maws, tongue and other offal cuts.)
Alan, like most guys, likes ribs, and in my effort to spice up the dinner table during grilling season I went looking for a decent recipe for the things that we could make at home and would please both of us. Ladies and gentlemen, I found it. No boiling is required, no sauce is involved, and only middle-school-level grill skilz. There’s a spice rub, and a three-hour turn on indirect heat from a very cool fire (300 degrees, tops), a little action with the hickory chips and several cooking variations to make ’em Chinese-style, etc.
It’s in Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything,” but you can find the recipe here (scroll down — it’s toward the bottom), called Chris Schlesinger’s Slow-Grilled Ribs. In that linked story, Bittman writes, “These are ribs the way they should be, but you need a day off with an empty schedule to make them.” Not exactly. Three hours will do. I started mine at 4 and took them off the grill at 7, and they were fine. Gas grills make it easier, too.
I made them with the first potato salad of the season. And even I liked them.
Speaking of white bread and rib sauce: There are chains that cater to white suburban rib-eaters (Damon’s comes to mind), but I learned to enjoy sloppy ribs after closing time, at black-owned places in dodgy neighborhoods, dragged there by various rib-loving men in my life. They always served their ribs in styrofoam boxes, with a big stack of the whitest white bread available, the kind that makes Wonder look like a health food. That, the baked beans and the greens were always my favorite part of the meal. At least, as I remember those blurry late-night suppers.
(Obligatory boring story: I once attended a party where the barbecue cooks were “secret” lovers, in the sense that everyone knew, only we were supposed to pretend we didn’t. The night before the party someone said, “Where are Name Redacted and other Name Redacted?” and someone else said, “They went off to rub the meat,” because that was, indeed, where they said they were going. There was a pause, then uproarious laughter.)
Roy Edroso’s clip-n-save guide to the right-wing blogosphere, in the Village Voice.
Can any of you observant Cat’licks out there tell me if there’s a particular reason the Bush women dressed like crows to meet the pope yesterday?
Black is fine and slimming and all, but you’d think Jenna might have chosen something a bit more suited to a lovely April afternoon. And where was NotJenna? Do only betrothed young presidential daughters get to greet the pope?
These guys accented with a hint of color:
Now that’s more like it.
Got your Passover Coke yet? You’re probably out of luck — it sells out fast, and to gentiles.
Me, I have to get to work enjoying another fabulous spring day.