How I won the Burlington All Comers Inaugural Rib-Off
Burlington Travel Blog› entry 67 of 96 › view all entries
Ancient recipes are sometimes passed down the family line from generations back. Cast your mind back to a time when life was simple, people called a spade a spade, because that was the word for it back then, and finding the perfect rib recipe was a slow process of trial and improvement followed by yet more trial and improvement.
Thanks should really go to the genius individual who said:
“yuck this (* insert name of raw foodstuff here) is disgusting, but If I lightly sauté it in butter, batter coat it and add some spices, this thing could be quite a seller!”
I on the other hand took my mum's recipe for sweet and sour ribs in one hand and the best set of internet tips I found that afternoon in the other and somehow came up with a winning formula:
For the sauce:
3 cups of ketchup
3 cups of dark soft brown sugar
1/3 cup dark malt vinegar
For the ribs:
Preparation started a full two days before the event.
Back home I opened the vacuum sealed package to discover two full sides of ribs tightly packed together, more than I was expecting by about twice. The package erupted violently as I tore the plastic off and the slabs of meat and bone inside returned back to their natural 2 foot long 4 inches thick state.
I set about cutting them into individual ribs, now we have internet tip no1: remove the membrane. By scraping off the membrane, you expose another side of meat to absorb favour. One abysmally blunt knife later I had a huge pile of ribs awaiting pork rub
Internet tip no 2: Use your favourite pork rub.
The next day I drove the ribs to a house in Orangeville, about a hour and a half drive north. This was not an internet tip. In fact for general rib wellness on a hot day I would not recommend driving them anywhere. That weekend I would be helping out dog-sitting at a Friend's house, as well as rib-cooking.
That evening I made the sauce and coated the ribs in it (with the help of my glamorous assistant R). Then a very early start (I think it was about 6 am) I put the ribs in the oven. Internet tip no 4: cook on a really low temperature for a REALLY long time (200 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours ought to do it.) I then went back to bed.
In a video-short its very easy to denote the passage of time. For example time lapse photography of sunrise or sunset, clouds rushing past etc, But 8 hours in a blog can be very tedious especially if I wander off topic (much as I'm doing now) and go into infinite detail on habits of Baboons. To avoid this I will fast forward the day to the next interesting thing: A walk in a provincial park near the village of Mono, Orangeville.
Having extricated myself from the car, and the poodle from my ear we went for a very cool walk around Mono Cliffs provincial park, complete with one Poodle (slightly waxy tongue optional) one small dog of unknown genetic origin (vaguely terrier like with a bit of sheltie) and of course my glamorous assistant R. There were horses and caves and cliffs and a couple of lakes and some interesting out-doorsy type smells that remind me of my days back on the farm. (strange to be reminded of something that never occurred, still one can't complain)
We made it back to the house just in time to sample the delights of some fall-off-the-bone-tasty ribs, before packaging them up and heading down to K & M's place in Burlington to compete in the Burlington all comers inaugural rib off.
I ask you this, what chance does a Brit have against a pack of well-seasoned Canadian rib-roasters? Much less a Brit who is using an untested recipe? Into the breach steps a fool, but a fool with a dream of winning the rib-off prize. What was the prize? All would be revealed after a winner is chosen...
The contestants jostled for optimum positions for their offerings on the kitchen table, I was up against the likes of the mighty Honey Dijon, Sweet & sticky and strange delights of root beer flavour to name a few (as it happens root beer flavour is an acquired taste, my palette unfortunately couldn't stretch that far, but in concept alone this flavour was genius. Genius I tell you.)
A panel of judges amassed themselves in the garden and on the command, proceeded to savagely devour every rib in the house, pausing at times to make careful note of meat texture, sauce tastyness and overall rib experience against each flavour available, and to plead longingly for another wet-wipe.
After all the ballets were handed in the room fell silent as the tally was made. An objection was raised as to the validity of a couple of votes, but after this was finally resolved (family members cannot vote for that family's entry) then the final results were in!
Out of ten different flavours, my ribs were voted the best!! unbelievable! (but I only won by one vote my fellow competitor 'S' had done himself proud and very nearly beat me, I in fact had voted for him myself).
The prize was awarded amidst screams from the cheering crowd, ticker tape, a brief light show followed by fireworks, and I was presented with Porky. My name will be embroidered on his belly for all time and I, in due course may pass this fine trophy on to next years winner, if they can succeed in foiling the wonders of my next entry:
Maple syrup and orange flavour ribs