Chef-In-Residence

Getting a Good Ribbing

by Aida Azizuddin Photography FriedChillies on Fri, May 22, 2009

This is a hardcore carnivore alert! We profess, if you want to impress a manly man or perhaps an Empress or just a family who likes their meat hunky and undressed, check out our recipe and tips for ribs in your crib. No stress...

Ribs are a real treat so be daring!

Ribs is not something people serve at home mainly because not many people know how to cook it well. The comments I always get is that, it's too tough or there's not enough meat to merit all the work put in. However encountering it on the home table always feels a little more special than the usual steak or roast. Another thing about ribs is that it cost so much that if you bomb it, you bomb the entire dinner.

Here's the thing. Most people don't know how to get good cuts. If you're having it as a main course, you can't buy the ones reserved for soups because there's just not enough meat so that's tip No. 1

- Buy the right cut. Get ribs with more meat on them. Mainly that's where all the awesomeness comes from so you need to say this to your butcher. If you get a good meaty rib, you don't have to cook it for ages to get the meat to fall off the bones.

- When barbecuing it's a mistake to slather your ribs with barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce has loads of sugar and it will burn. This means that eventhough it looks cooked when you take it off the grill, inside it's still raw and you won't get all that flavour in. Best way is to rub on the BBQ sauce during the final 20 minutes, so you get that caramelised top but the meat is cooked well. I roast my ribs but if you have a barbecue pit, do it, the woodchips will make the ribs tastes more awesome. Just make sure you cover it.

Mmm... ribs, cut lovingly, succulent with marrow juices, then eaten with roasted garlic and onions

Now which ribs to buy? It depends how 'moo' you like your ribs to taste. The healthier choice is grass-fed (this is more expensive too) but the flavour is more robust and most people are not used to it. Grain-fed is good as there's more fat to seep into the ribs. So start with grain-fed.

Once you have your ribs clean, pat it dry and start rubbing in this simple marinade.

Look at those layers of meat and fat

Ingredients:
Minced garlic
Thyme (cut finely)
Coarse Sea Salt
Pepper
Light Soy Sauce (this is my secret ingredient but go easy on the salt if you're using soy sauce)
Chicken stock (half cup of water with 1 tablespoon chicken stock)
Cajun (if you want a little bite to your ribs)

Last 20 minutes:
Barbecue sauce
Brown sugar

Method:
Rub all the ingredients (except for BBQ sauce and sugar) thoroughly all over your ribs
Marinade for about 1-2 hours
Tent foil over the ribs and roast for an hour and a half in a preheated oven of 170 degrees celcius. A medium oven gives the best results

Don't spread on the BBQ sauce too early else it will burn

After an hour and a half, lift up the tent and brush on barbecue sauce and sprinkle some brown sugar (not too much or else it would burn too fast)

By this time your house should smell so good, neighbours will come a knocking

Insert back in oven uncovered. Crank it up to 200 degrees celcius for 20 minutes
Take it out and rest it for 10 minutes before slicing

Nicely browned and caramelised with all the juices sealed in

Results:
The ribs that I bought was meaty so it turned out juicy and succulent. There's so much marrow from the bones that it actually bastes itself and the flavour is amazing. That's the beauty of ribs, the juices, the bone-fat is all there, you just need to help it along a little.

Juices will ooze out of each slice

Check that your ribs are cooked the way you want it by slicing it a little once out of the oven. You can roast it for another 10 minutes if you don't like to too bloody. Just be aware that meat keeps cooking even after it's out of the oven (hence the resting period) so you don't want to overcook it too much.

Chef Says:

A nice, huge chunk of grain-fed short ribs (that will easily feed 12-15 people) will set you back about RM250.

You have to eat it while it's hot. When it's cold, the fat will harden and you will see all the whiteness around it (not something you want to think about while eating). So it's straight from the oven to your dinner plate for most satisfaction.

Fat slice of rib, veggies, salad and mustard, I'm there!

Now you know that because ribs have extra meatiness, this is something you don't want to overeat on. So have it with a nice side salad (nothing too starchy). A citrus salad would be perfect for this. It's also harder to digest so make sure you chew properly. Ribs are not something to eat often but if you are cooking for a carnivorous brood (like my family) then it's a real treat. Everyone will go home smiling.

Open up and say ahhhh!

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