Future generations, I’m convinced, will laugh uproariously at our attitude toward spareribs. They’re one of the best tasting parts of a pig, and yet for some inexplicable reason Americans seem to believe that they’re only good for stew meat. What’s that you say? You love spare ribs? Then why do you, if you are an average American, want them “falling off the bone?”
You know what falls off the bone? Stew meat. And oxtails. And zombies. Good meat shouldn’t fall off its bones. And spare ribs are, as I say, some of the best meat around.
The reason, as it happens, is its special proximity to the bone. For whatever reason, muscles that hew closely to bone tend to have a denser, sweeter meat; that why everybody likes ribs. Now, I like them so much that I’m perfectly willing to put salt on them, cook them in the broiler, and call it a day; add a big bottle of Yoo-Hoo and a DVD of Larry Bird’s Greatest Games, and I can hardly be happier. But spare ribs, being rugged and robust as they are, can take a fair amount of flavor imposed on them. Typically, in America, this means the same flavors all the time, an endless, grinding routine of ketchup-based barbecue sauce, various kinds of chili powder, and a blinding sandstorm of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, paprika, and three other things in one or another combination. I rebel against this state of affairs.
Why not immerse the spare ribs in a simple Filipino marinade? This recipe, you should know, is probably the only thing of value that came out of my first marriage; it was the sole survor, like Ishmael after the Pequod went down. But what a marinade! It’s composed of things even the most poorly-stocked bachelor pad usually has: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic (a lot) and lemons. You mix them up with more soy that vinegar, with a lot of garlic and at least enough lemon to be noticeable. Then you leave them in that marinade for a few hours. (This works just as well with chicken, by the way. Except that chicken isn’t as good as spare ribs.)
Cook them over high heat until they are crusty, mopping them up as you go. When they look good, eat them. They won’t be “falling off the bone,” and they won’t taste like barbecue, but they will be good – salty and sweet and acidic and crusty and rugged. Eat them and enjoy the taste of the pork. Ribs were meant to be bitten, not spooned up, after all.
Want to make this, like, immediately? We sure did. Watch Josh take you through the steps in his grilled spare ribs video.