Saturday, August 21, 2010

Zingerman's | Best Ribs Ever

Where's Swayze?

The best ribs I have ever tasted were the "pit smoked spare ribs" served to me at Ann Arbor's beloved Zingerman's Roadhouse this past Monday.

Zingerman starts with ribs from specially-bred "Niman Ranch" pigs, slow-cooks them for nine hours, then serves them with not-quite-too-tangy "Alex's red rage tomato BBQ sauce", mashed potatoes, and yellow mustard corn slaw. A thin layer of sauce is baked into the ribs (below), and the flavor runs through all of the pork, so that every bite is flavorful and amazing.

The knife means you don't have to share!

The intense flavor comes partly from the slow-cooking and smoking process, which helps to bring out the dry rub. Throughout the process, the ribs are basted in a "Memphis-style" sauce. A crisped layer of pork skin is left on one side that I would gleefully stab my dining companions over, if they tried to take it from me.

Speaking of gleefully stabbing things, a big part of the flavor profile comes the free-range ranch pork; the tenderness of the meat is striking, and I feel better knowing telling myself that the pigs I was eating had lived a lovely life ...

... at $19 per half-rack, those pigs had damn well better lead a happy life - but, whether they do or don't, I'm sure they'd agree that these ribs were to die for!

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