Truth be told, I’m a rib man. St. Louis pork ribs, beef ribs and especially lamb ribs; but there’s more to ‘cue than what’s on the bone. Check out these great recipes and see whose palate you agree with more when it comes to wine pairings in this, our first installment of Snooth Smack Talk! Make sure to add your comments and let us know what you think about our choices, and what you would serve!
Pork Ribs - Greg
St. Louis-style pork ribs are based on trimmed full racks of meaty ribs, as opposed to the more tender baby back ribs, which are actually snippets of full racks taken from between the spare ribs and the spine.
My Memphis-style pork ribs enjoy a multi-step process that includes a wet overnight marinade, a drying period, followed by a dry rub which is allowed to penetrate the ribs over a second night followed by a slow smoking and a final crisping over hot coals on the grill. Lots of work, but they are so worth it! For an easier version, check out Memphis-style ribs by Steven Raichen on Epicurious.com.
I pair Memphis-style ribs with Zinfandel, but look for any elegant wine, since there’s no sweet sauce to compete with. Check out the wines from Talty, my new favorite Zin producer!
Pork Ribs - Hana
I’d venture to say that there are as many, if not more, rib recipes out there as there are versions of nonna’s Bolognese sauce. There seems to be a regional cut, sauce and marinade fit to please everyone’s palate – and I’m a fan of them all! Although, if pressed, I would say dry-rubbed baby backs are pretty hard to beat in my book.
Baby back ribs might be smaller, but they are tender with great flavor and because of their size, require a quicker cooking process (good when feeding large and hungry crowds).
Not only is this version by Paula Deen’s son, Bobby, convenient because it’s oven-baked, the sweet and spicy dry rub is simply delicious. When they’re done, I like to baste them with my favorite barbecue sauce and throw them on the grill for just a few minutes to get a nice smoky char on the surface, a perfect counterpoint to the falling-off-the-bone meat.
You might readily turn to a red for these ribs, but why not try a curveball with a white that pairs beautifully with a myriad of spicy food: Riesling. A wine like Chateau St. Jean Riesling Sonoma County 2009 would complement the heat and complexity in the dry rub.
Beef Ribs - Greg
Big meaty beef ribs make every barbecue a trip to Bedrock! Grabbing a 12-inch bone with a huge hunk of beautifully smoked meat on it brings out the caveman in me! This classic preparation is most associated with Texas – and the reason for more than one road trip. Chef Tim Love has put together a great recipe that allows you to bring a taste of Texas to your backyard.
With this rich, assertively smoky example of beef ribs I’m thinking of going with a Malbec-based wine, something with a little spice sounds great as long as it has enough acid to refresh the palate and Achaval Ferrer’s Quimera (a blend of Malbec, Cabernet and Merlot) has always been a great partner for this kind of dish!
Beef Ribs - Hana
I’m going to give homage to my heritage here, hop on the popular food bandwagon and go with kalbi (Korean-style beef short ribs), a dish I’ve long associated with picnics, birthdays, holidays – basically any occasion where a large crowd is gathered.
L.A.-style kalbi are usually cut about 1/4” length-wise across the bone (“flanken cut,” versus traditional Korean kalbi, which is cut along the bone using an “English cut”). These flanken or L.A.-style cuts allow for faster marinating, grilling and subsequently, eating. This fantastic recipe by Korean food blogger Maangchi is easy, authentic and is even accompanied by a handy video tutorial.
If you’re enjoying these ribs by themselves, I’d love to try a fun, fruity Aussie Shiraz like Marquis Philips Sarah's Blend 2008, which would go well with the salty soy and sweet Korean pear in the marinade. If eating alongside assertively spicy or pickled Korean food, it might be more challenging.
Lamb Ribs - Greg
Lamb ribs can be a bit of a bother to find and you’ll need a lot to feed a crowd, but they are some of my favorite ribs to prepare. Always rich and flavorful, they grill up quickly and you can get them nicely smoked in a hurry due to their small size. I’ve traditionally treated my lamb ribs in an orange and spice-tinged marinade before grilling them over mesquite; but lamb ribs lend themselves many preparations, in particular those with an Italian or Grecian bent.
Here’s a simple recipe for Tex-Mex roasted lamb ribs that can be easily be adapted for the grill. For a preparation like this, I’m all over a nice Syrah here. Something like the Langmeil Valley Floor from Australia.
Lamb Ribs - Hana
Usually when it comes to lamb, I tend to stick with tried and true Mediterranean herbs and flavors that seem to marry so perfectly with the meat’s earthiness. But I recently tried fantastic lamb pops prepared in an Indian tandoor oven and vowed to change up my lamb routine straightaway.
These Spicy Tandoori ribs would be a fun way to experiment with both Indian food and an under-utilized cut of lamb. Pairing wine with Indian food can also be a challenge, but I think a full-bodied California Zinfandel like a Pezzi King Zinfandel Sonoma 2007 could stand up to the heady, layered spices in this marinade.