JEFF TIEDEMAN: The best ribsOpinions vary on top method to prepare this barbecue favorite
What constitutes good barbecued ribs?
Well, that depends on what part of the country you call home and whether you like a sauce or a rub.
If you ask someone from Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Texas, the Carolinas or other areas across the United States, you’ll probably get a different answer from all of them.
And if you don’t believe me, check out the recipes for barbecued ribs in these cookbooks:
— “Grill It” by Bobby Flay (Crown Publishing, $35, 288 pages).
— “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book” by Chris Lilly (Clarkson Potter, $24.99, 256 pages).
— “Planet Barbecue!” by Steven Raichlen (Workman, $22.95, 638 pages).
— “The Barbecue America Cookbook” by Rick Browne and Jack Bettridge (Lyons, $19.95, 216 pages)
— “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed and William McKinney (UNC Press, $32, 328 pages).
— “America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants” by Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk (Andrews McMeel, $24.50, 240 pages).
But the bottom line is that texture, aroma and flavor play a role in any lip-smacking, mouth-watering, finger-licking-good barbecued ribs — no matter how they’re prepared.
While I have a distinct preference to cooking ribs in sauce, some of the finest-tastings ones that have crossed my palate were prepared with rubs.
And I’ll get a chance to sample both styles of cooking this weekend as a judge at Johnny Bravoz’s Second Annual Rib Fest and Barbecue Cook-Off in Oslo, Minn.
John Kirkeby, owner of Johnny Bravoz, is expecting more than 15 entries in the contest, which starts at 5 p.m. Some of the ribs will be grilled, while others will be prepared in smokers. The public is invited and will be allowed to sample the ribs for a nominal fee, which will help determine the People’s Choice.
Contestants will be vying for prizes up to $500 for the best pork ribs. For information on entering, call (218) 695-5000.
John said locals are pretty excited about the contest. “I thought I heard one of them say, ‘Bring on Bobby Flay.’”
To prepare myself for the contest,I fixed some country-style pork ribs the other night in a homemade barbecue sauce and received overwhelming approval from Therese and two of my grandchildren, Naomi and Rakeem. (See recipe at www.grandforks herald.com/ event/tag/group/ Life/tag/food/.)
Maybe I should enter the contest next year.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.