Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Delicious Ribs

Summer means barbecue , but in the Philippines, it’s sunny almost all year round which gives the Filipinos the luxury of pork or chicken 'inasal'- this is an ilonggo term from the Visayan region meaning 'to grill'. Barbecuing in the Philippines has always been done in one way, and that’s using charcoal which is sold in every street corner. This is primarily made from mahogany which is abundant in the country, so the smoky flavor derived from it is pretty much all the same, unlike in other countries with cooler climates you have the option of oak (heavy smoky flavor), hickory (strong smoky flavor), mesquite (sweet and light), apple (sweet and fruity), almond (nutty), birch (slightly sweet), etc. With the limited flavor that is derived from smoking the meat, much of the flavor is found in the marinade and the sauce. As I always love saying, “secret is in the sauce”.

I’d like to share a technique I always use when I’m craving for pork spare ribs, it’s great all year round, it’s simple and easy and great for Sunday lunches with the family.

I start out with a whole rack of baby back ribs, marinate it overnight with salt, pepper, brown sugar, garlic, red onions and some soy sauce. For someone such as myself, who creates a dish from taste rather that from precise measurements of ingredients, when making a marinade, all the basic ingredients to get the essence of the flavors are there, always remember when cooking, ingredients must never be used in excess, because it’s easy to just add later on.

The next day, boil the ribs till tender (but not too tender making the meat fall off the bone), just enough that the meat is still stuck to the bone but allowing you to pinch a piece off easily. Next, prepare atsuete oil (I make mine by heating up some vegetable oil with atsuete seeds, garlic and a bit of rock salt for color and a hint of garlic taste. Then you can start to barbecue the ribs and occasionally brush the meat with the oil. Since the meat is already cooked, I make sure the charcoal is scorching hot because I grill the meat really quick in intense heat to get the ideal charring that finishes off the perfect ribs.

Traditional Filipino barbequed dishes are always served with garlic fried rice or java rice. I prefer mine with sweet corn kernels, potato salad, southern biscuits (minus the gravy) and Reyes’ Barbecue Sauce. However way you like your ribs, it's always finger licking good.

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