Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fingerlicking “Piano” Ribs of Black Pork

Entrecostos "piano"

With the anticipation of World Cup 2014 hotting up in Brazil, now is the time to throw the season's best barbecue of the summer.Even if you are not mildly interested in football, carry on as cariocas would.Serve up some salsa and bring some Brazilian flavour to your street by putting on a backyard buffet/ barbecue with a Latin American beat.
Now what I don´t mean is the harsh, bitter charcoal burn that you get in the British suburbs on a warm summer's evening, when battalions of weekend barbecue warriors set fire to lumps of prime protein and proudly call it dinner. I am talking something lighter and sweeter – a ripe smokiness that is both gentle and enticing.The smokiness less a brutal kick than a gentle part of the seasoning.
The ceremonial grilling process is as much of an entertainment as it is a means to prepare the meat.
The choice of meat is crucial and all types of pork are always a sure fire hit.
Ribs are among the constants on the worlds barbecue circuit, but just how they’re prepared reflects a strong regional and cultural bias. My recommendation is for baby back ribs  because of their likeness to piano keys, entrecosto "piano"as they are called here in Portugal and Spain. The very thought of it sounds like some horrible children´s story.Pigs playing pianos.
And no, they do not come from baby pigs. They are called babies because they are shorter than spare ribs.
They're full of flavour and far less expensive than prime cuts. Of the humble cuts, short ribs are one of my all time favourites. They’re meaty and fatty (in the best possible way) and still on the bone, which adds a delicious depth of flavour.
These ribs just might be the best thing I've ever discovered. I always include them on buffet menus here in the Algarve.As soon as I put them on the party table people are drawn to them like food arriving for pigs in a pen. Their success lies in a straightforward three-part process. Long marinating in a sweet, sticky aromatic rub ensures the ribs soak up loads of flavour. Next, a leisurely simmer on the stove top makes them fall-off-the-bone tender.Finally, a reduction of the marinade to give a sticky glaze for painting them. A few minutes on the grill painted with the glaze gives the ribs a whiff of smokiness and caramelizes their edges.
What to drink: Brasilian Lager Antarctica or Brahma 
Enjoy the match!!!
Sweet and sticky piano ribs 
300ml/10fl oz tomato ketchup
300ml/10fl oz dark soy sauce
125g/4oz runny honey
5cm/2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 tbsp sweet sherry
1 tsp ground star anise (optional)
1 tbsp sambal oelek or sweet chilli sauce*

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1.8-2.2kg/4-5lb pork ribs (baby back ribs, if possible)
water

For the ribs, place the tomato ketchup in a large shallow dish with the soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, sherry, star anise (if using),sweet chilli sauce and rosemary. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Add the ribs. If time allows, cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
Place ribs in a large, deep pan. You may have to cut the ribs in half to get them to fit. Pour over the tomato ketchup mixture and then add enough water to completely cover the ribs.
Bring to a simmer, then cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes to one hour until completely tender.
Preheat the grill. Remove ribs from the sauce and arrange ribs on a grill rack. Place the sauce on the hob over medium heat and reduce down until it has a sticky coating consistency.
Place the ribs under the preheated grill for about eight minutes on each side, basting or painting the ribs with the reduced marinade occasionally. Alternatively cook on a barbecue. 

* For a sweet chilli jam and other barbecue relishes

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