I confess I never like the way Italians cook ribs (rosticciana, btw). Although they are a must of any respectable Italian bbq, honestly, I never found anything special in that piece of bone with that stiff meat attached, burn outside, raw inside :P As Neo, in Matrix, I felt there was something terribly wrong in those ribs, brutally thrown on the bbq and let carbonize with no mercy, but I never figure out what was the problem.
I then started to travel. I had my first remarkable ribs in Belgium: super tender, marinated in some sauce I had no knowledge of and not burnt at all. In Canada, I then found the same ribs tasted in Brussels, just with a different marinade. And I also discovered that ribs, here, in North America, are a must of bbq. There are entire festivals dedicated to ribs or bbq, more in general. And those ribs are always tender, juicy and dressed with that bbq sauce that is much more than a little final touch. It is essential!
I and my husband were wondering what was the secret of those tender ribs: maybe the type of meat? Or perhaps the marinade? "The secret is in the sauce", just to quote "Green Fried Tomatoes". Anyway, this compelling experience made me re-evaluate ribs that, from detested, are now one of those dishes that I love to enjoy once in a while.
But why North American ribs are so tender?
Following Dario Bressanini's stories on IG, I discovered that ribs are a part rich in collagen (ah!). Do you remember collagen and the way to cook a stew? Well, grilling ribs for short time at high temperatures is the best way to ruin them! (And this is what we do in Italy, ndr) Why? Because pieces of meat rich in collagen require a long cooking time at low temperatures. In this way, collagen melts, leaving the meat super tender. But also in Canada ribs are prepared on the bbq! Yes, but temperature is kept relatively low and the bbq is closed, so that the humidity recyrcolate inside. Last but not least, ribs are cooked for a long time, e.g. at least 2-3 hours.
After this great revelation, I had to try cooking ribs at home! Don't you have a bbq? No problem, you can use the oven as I did :)
(Doses for 4 persons)
- 2 racks of pork ribs
- Seasoning as needed
- Bbq sauce as needed
Pinch the ribs with a knife and garnish them with the seasoning (here, I find a special one for ribs). Wrap the ribs in two layers of aluminum foil and place them on an oven pan. Bake the ribs in preheated oven at 175 ˚C for 3 hours. After this time, remove the ribs from the oven, remove the aluminum foil and garnish them with the bbq sauce. Put the ribs back into the oven and broil them for 2-3 minutes. Serve the ribs warm.
Let me know if you like them :)