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Americas Best Ribs

America's Best Ribs

Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home


Original Cookbook Review by

Ardie Davis and Chef Paul Kirk have followed up their highly acclaimed America's Best BBQ with their new book, America's Best Ribs.

Whereas the previous book was devoted to locating the origins of America's best Que, the Rib Book is an education in the art of preparing everyone's favorite type of barbecue -- ribs. Ardie and Chef Paul educate the reader on the steps required to produce the perfect rib. Several times in the book, the point is made that "The perfect rib is the one you like best".

The book separates the five favorite types of ribs: pork ribs, beef ribs, bison ribs, lamb ribs and mutton ribs, as each type of rib requires different methods to make it perfect.

The book opens logically with Chapter One, which is devoted to Rib Basics. Here, the authors walk the reader though the process of selecting ribs, identifying the various types of ribs, and caring for the ribs until they are ready to prepare for the smoker. This includes trimming and other butcher-style preparations to improve eye appeal.

Once the ribs are trimmed and cleaned up, the reader is led through a few pages of discussion on proper seasoning. Methods and ingredients for the seasoning are not elaborate. They range from basic salt and pepper to more exotic combinations of spices. Of course, the reader receives detailed instructions on the equipment needed to cook the ribs, the various fuels used to produce the cooking heat and secrets to perfect doneness of the ribs.

Ardie and Chef Paul are advocates of the "low and slow" school of rib cookery. A low temperature between 225°F and 275°F is recommended. Cooking time depends on the size of the ribs and other factors. As it is difficult to use a meat thermometer on ribs, student readers are given a couple of methods of determining when their ribs are done.

In addition to the recipes for the base seasoning for ribs, the book covers a variety of mops and sauces that are custom designed for each type of rib. A lamb rib would not be seasoned with the same mix as a bison rib, for instance. The authors include another secret that is not a seasoning, but really helps produce the perfect rib.

Man does not live by ribs alone

Here, the authors move into the area of great recipes for side dishes and desserts that will enhance the enjoyment of any rib meal. The side dishes are traditional (potato salad, slaw and beans), and there are a couple of dishes with an Oriental slant. For the east-of-the- Mississippi contingent, there are recipes for hush puppies and cornbread.

Ardie and Chef Paul are advocates of the "low and slow" school of rib cookery. There is a nice discussion about the correct bread to serve with ribs and a very interesting recipe for tomato bread, which is said to make the best rib sandwich.

The dessert section does not get elaborate. It has plain old home-style desserts. Cobblers, cakes and pies are on the table. There is not a smoked Alaska (as in Baked Alaska) recipe to be found, but there is one for homemade vanilla ice cream.

The book closes out with a list of resources that can lead the reader to the source of more information or other things required to produce the perfect rib. Scattered through the book are a few short stories about ribs. These stories are from the people who lived them and passed them on to later generations.

America's Best Ribs is a soft cover book -- not in the sense of a twenty- five cent paperback, but proof that a beautiful, sturdy book can be produced for less expense than traditional hard-bound versions. The book is beautifully designed. Every page is designed to make the reader feel good. It's definitely a coffee-table quality book. The photos are fantastic, and each tells a story. The photos of foods will evoke the Pavlovian response. It may be the first book that requires the reader to wear a bib.

Previously by Ardie David and Paul Kirk, The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition.

America's Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home
160 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 1, 2012)
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com
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