I am a devotee of Saveur. I consider it one of the finest food magazines published, far above Gourmet (which has gotten dull and preachy). But the March issue really pissed me off. On the cover is a gorgeous photo of slabs of ribs. There’s a big (BIG) headine that says “The World’s Best Ribs” with a subtitle that says: “How to Make Glazed, Hawaiian-Style Baby Backs, Plus a Guide to Rib Cuts and More.
So I’m expecting an extensive article on ribs. I have more than a passing interest in ribs. I’m part of a competition BBQ team (Chicks in Charge) and one of the categories we cook in contests is ribs. We’ve literally spent years trying to perfect the best recipe, cooking method, etc. But we’re always on the look out for a little advice and who should know more about any food topic, I think, than Saveur.
There is a recipe for the Hawaiian ribs, but it is sorely lacking in technique. It doesn’t instruct you to remove the membrane from the ribs and it tells you to cook them in the oven at 450 degrees for a total of 35 to 40 minutes. I can guarantee you those will be the toughest ribs you will ever eat. Fatty pork, such as ribs, has a lot of connective tissue and the only way to break it down – and make the meat tender – is to cook it slowly over low heat, preferably in a charcoal smoker but a Weber kettle will do. The temperature should be somewhere in the 250-degree range, not a blistering 450 degrees.
The only other mention of ribs is one page in the front of the Kitchen section. I understand a lot of people don’t know the difference between one kind of rib cut and another. But this guide really just brushes the surface of the different kinds of cuts. I was expecting exhaustive, judging from the cover. I got flimsy and dismissive and just plain wrong. And I got false advertising. “And More!” says the subtitle. Where’s the “more?” There is no more “more.”
I love Saveur. Just not tonight.