Happy Ribtoberfest, everyone!
I know it’s not October, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be Ribtober. If it were up to me, we’d also have Ribtember and Ribril*, so it’s probably a good thing for all of us that it’s not up to me.
Tonight’s ribs come to use thanks to The Food of Thailand: A Journey for Food Lovers a book about authentic Thai street food and home cooking written by three Brits. They (the ribs, not the Brits) are accompanied by sweet corn cakes, cucumber salad and a decidedly non-Thai but outstanding bottle of Saison (a crisp summer Belgian ale).
*Doesn’t that sound like a pharmaceutical? “Ribril is not for everyone. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, talk to your doctor before starting Ribril. Side effects may include nausea, dry mouth, uncontrollable palm sweat, male pattern baldness and Scurvy.”
Sometimes when I’m playing Scrabble and can’t make any good words, I try to use my letters to create the name of a false prescription drug. I should probably talk to someone about that.
The rib marinade starts with my simultaneous favorite and most tedious kitchen task: mincing a great big pile of garlic. Sometimes I find it soothing and meditative and fragrant, and I’m drawn into the rocking motion of the knife. Other times, it’s stinky and sticky and boring and I wish I had house-elves to do it for me. Tonight was the former.
The garlic went into a bowl with plum sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, brown sugar (I couldn’t get my hands on the palm sugar specified) and freshly ground coriander and star anise.
The best one I ever came up with: Axibdia. If it were real, I think it would treat a liver disorder.
Maybe chopping the garlic was only satisfying because I knew that it was destined for a rack of baby back ribs, but does it really matter? I slathered half the marinade onto the ribs then wrapped them up and left them to sit for the recommended 3 hours to overnight, by which I mean 45 minutes. Because sometimes I forget to read the recipe in advance. I know you all think I’m some rich and famous, infallible blog celebrity, but I’m really just like you. Except that I wear solid gold pants.
Kidding! They’re just an alloy.
If you have high cholesterol, a family history of kidney disease or are a Libertarian, Axibdia may not be right for you.
You know the corn cakes are going to be good, because look at that picture. It’s so fucking cheerful, it’s like the Wiggles are doing the cooking. Corn, chiles, shallots, curry paste, fish sauce and cilantro are bound with egg and rice flour to make this goddamn bowl of joy.
A quick plug here for Whole Foods’ store brand frozen corn. There was no more fresh corn in the store and it’s not really corn season in these parts anyway, so I grabbed the frozen. While I’m sure that these would be worlds better with fresh sweet corn, the frozen kernels were remarkably sweet and crisp. (As well they should be, for whatever I’m sure I paid at Whole Foods. I try not to look.)
I set the bowl aside so the rice flour could get it on with the egg and firm the mixture up a bit, helping the cakes retain their shape, as such:
Some of the kernels popped. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was surprised.
I fried up the cakes in a shallow layer of vegetable oil until they were golden brown and crispy on the outside. While they were cooking, I diced up a cucumber, tossed it with mirin, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt to make a refreshing counterpoint to the chiles in the corn cakes. I set it in the fridge to chill while I returned to keep watch over the stove, which was shooting shards of hot oil distances of up to 7 feet from the pan.
Meanwhile Brian, aka the Gnocchi Ninja, aka the Galloping Scientician, aka the Human Furnace, aka the Grill Master was outside with the ribs despite the fact that it was 9:30 at night and raining lightly. All for the love of smoked pork.
Sometimes there are…no words.
Let’s take another look:
I know, right?
Brian threw some hickory chunks onto the coal for some smoky goodness, which was shockingly not the right thing to do; it gave the ribs vaguely kielbasa-y tones that didn’t really go with the flavors in the marinade.
It is important to note that adding hickory chunks to your coal while grilling is almost always the correct thing to do, and that this was an aberration.
I normally reject ribs that have been cooked for anything fewer than 3.5 hours, and these were only on the grill for about 45 minutes. But in the name of maintaining positive relations with the Thai people I suspended the rule for one night.
Are you fucking kidding me? This is like the best of all possible plates of food.
Aside from the weird kielbasa thing, this was an outstanding meal.
Let’s start with the most obvious: ribs. They’re pork, so +2 right there. They’re inherently magically delicious, and are rendered more so with a sweet and savory, garlicky marinade. The sauce is thick enough to cling to the meat as it’s grilled, and the sugars make a chewy glaze.
The ribs were great, because ribs are almost always great. The corn cakes and cucumber salad though – especially with a bit of sweet chili sauce drizzled on top – were truly excellent. The combo of flavors represented the essence of Thai culinary philosophy: a perfect balance of salty, sweet, hot and sour. The hot, freshly fried cakes were crisp on the outside, and a bit creamy on the inside; the cucumber was cool, bracing and just sweet enough.
I’m thinking the corn cakes would hold fairly well in a low oven, and would also be pretty good at room temperature. I’m pretty sure they’ll be making an appearance at one of our many summer barbecues.
Can’t wait for Ribruary!
These ribs look awesome! I love the idea of choosing a cookbook and cooking something out of it once a week…maybe that would help mine not feel sooo neglected. Thanks for stopping by my blog – it’s always a fun surprise to find new blogs you like by an unexpected comment! BTW – You’re fucking hilarious! I got blessed with the same name, but I wish you’d rub some of that attitude off on me! Keep it up, because I’ll be coming back for a fix!
Everything looks so good. Shouldn’t read this with dinner on the go because I now want to turf what I made and copy yours in its entirety 🙂 In Scrabble I almost always end up with nuthin’ but vowels, so I start making up Samoan villages…
Argh. I’m making ribs tomorrow, and now I can’t stop thinking about them. Damn you.
Re: the scrabble thing- talk to your doctor about Scrabril.
ok, impressive… impressive. we were thinking of doing ribs as well tomorrow and my stomach is growling thinking about them. LOVE the corn fritters. that’s going on my list of things to make. fuck the wiggles, those weird-ass things. they ain’t cheery in my book.
Oh my god I know Gnocchi Ninja I know him really I do! hahaha he is officially infamous and I will only refer to Brian as Gnocchi Ninja, aka the Galloping Scientician. I am telling everyone I know about this name change. The food looks kick ass! I need to invite myself over soon and raid your fridge/pantry.
oh dear. you are going to make my husband cry once he sees this post. I have restricted the use of ribs in the house for the past 3 months cause, really, ribs don’t fit into my daily points on Weight Watchers *hangs head in shame*
but we only have about a month left then I am sure it will be ribs every week of every month for the next year. YAY! 🙂
So I don’t do the cooking, he does, but man, I love to watch him cut garlic. i love the snap sound when he smashes it, the chop sound of the knife at the beginning and the rocking sound near the end. It’s one of my fav things about being around when he is cooking. That and the smell of shallots cooking in vinegar.
so yeah these look sooo incredibly good, that I could possibly talked into weighing an extra 3 lbs tomorrow to have ribs tonight. 😉
I agree that every month should be a rib month. May, June, and July would be a little hard to do that way though. Too bad since I was born in July and would love to be born in a ribby month.
Whatever I’m having for dinner tonight isn’t going to be as good as this. My life has no meaning.
michelle: no problem – thanks for visiting here, and glad you dig it!
i’m actually thinking about starting a blog event the first thursday of the month, so everyone can smack it on down and rescue their dusty cookbooks – we’ll see.
laura: the samoan village thing is GENIUS. when i have too many vowels, i always end up spelling “aioli.” it’s my secret weapon.
peter: ha ha.
WANF: the corn fritters were seriously good. i used serrano chiles, and the heat level was just right.
jess: you can also call him “the human furnace.”
christey: points, schmoints. we’re talkin’ ’bout RIBS. i’m pretty sure that if my husband tried to restrict the consumption of ribs in our house, that would be grounds for a trial separation AT LEAST.
rachel: yeah, your life sounds like a pretty empty void. at least you get to look at teh pretty pictures.
This looks seriously phenomenal! I’ve got to get my husband to dust off the BGE for those ribs. Those corn fritters are calling out my name. I’ve GOT to try them. What kind of curry paste did you use?
Thats it! Im going out and buying a slab. I passed on them last weekend and now am kicking myself. Normally I precook the ribs to make tender, but this marinade seems to do the trick.
We haven’t had ribs since last summer. My husband didn’t think he needed to clear a path through the snow to the grill this winter. And it’s not like I was going to do it.
But the snow is gone and I think I’m buying some of these soon. The grill’s been so lonely!
And I love the idea of a monthly smackdown!
susan: the recipe said yellow, but i already had green on hand so i just used that.
courtney: i don’t know how much the marinade contributed to tenderness, it just tasted really good. they would still be better if you cooked ’em low and slow.
elle: you’re obviously keeping the grill too far away from the house.
Oh my lord! Oh, oh,oh!
Michelle: if you do, count me in!
“As well they should be, for whatever I’m sure I paid at Whole Foods. I try not to look.”
me too. but I can’t stop shopping there.
I adore these corn cakes. even before you said they turned out so beautifully I was already typing “corn cakes” on to my list. wonderful.
I’d be up for the Smackdown event, in case your taking votes. . .
I couldn’t tell by reading the post (perhaps distracted due to my jealosy over the plate of food you were taunting us all with)- but was the corn cake recipe from the cookbook, or just something you pulled out of your ass? If it’s the latter, then you are some kind of wundercook who should be worshped.
I still haven’t pulled out my BBQ yet this year. It has been raining a lot here in Vancouver. But, when I do I know where I’m coming to get a recipe. Thank you!
Yum, I want ribs, NOW!!! This looks so good.
I’ve always thought you can turn almost anything into a pharmaceutical by adding an x – tomaxo (tomato), taxle (table), laptox (laptop), beanex (beans).
brittany: everything but the beer we drank came from the cookbook.
emiline: i KNOW! they reject me constantly! i wish i could get inside their fickle little minds.
KJ: you’re totally right! i think tomaxo is my favorite.
I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months, and I just wanted to say, you are hilarious. I love your writing style; you have one of the funniest blogs food-related or not. Plus the pictures are gorgeous.
Love it. Love it all. Glad we blogged into each other, bc we both use swear words – and frankly, there is just too little of that going around these days. Your use of the f-bomb is refreshing. Should that be an oxymoron? Maybe, but it’s not.
Also checked out Tanenbaum – you are one busy girl! Great work.
All the best – Ann
Fuck Tastespotting and they elitist ass. Okay, it feels really good making the cut, dunnit? Also, lol @ Ribril.
I love you. +5 Wiggles reference.
I want to curse more in my blog, but my mother might reach from 500 miles away and smack my face shut. Southern women, pshaw.
Also, I want your ribs.