America’s Best Ribs: Book Review

America's Best RibsAmerica’s Best Ribs
Addie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk
ISBN 978-1-4494-1413-9
Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

Across America, barbecue ribs scream “SUMMER!” and the cravings intensify. But even the most passionate rib lovers may lack confidence in their ability to deliver on-the-bone greatness to family, friends or competition judges. Sauced or rubbed? Sweet or spicy, or both? With just a dash of salt and pepper or heavily seasoned?  Tangy?  Savory? Grilled or slow-smoked?

Whatever your level of cooking experience, however you prefer your ribs, you’ll learn how to make them better than ever before with the help of “America’s Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home (Plus a Few Ribilicious Sides and Desserts)” by “legendary” competitive barbecue champions Ardie A. Davis and Chef Paul Kirk.

Get inspired by these amazing rib masters, both charter members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  Davis also founded the American Royal International BBQ Sauce, Rub, and Baste Contest and the Great American Barbecue Sauce, Baste, and Rub Contest.  And Kirk operates the Baron’s School of Pitmasters and has won over 525 cooking and barbecuing awards, seven world championships, including the American Royal Open, the world’s largest barbecue contest.

Their latest cookbook (they also wrote “America’s Best BBQ”) focuses on ribs.  Beef ribs. Pork baby backs, country style ribs and spareribs. Bison ribs.  Lamb breast ribs, Denver ribs and mutton breast ribs. Dig into more than 100 tried and true recipes for incredibly tasty ribs, side dishes and desserts, along with techniques to better do-it-yourself, whether you’re a backyard beginner or accomplished grill king or queen.

What is it that makes ribs so appealing?  “Ribs connect us to our primal core,” the authors say, “like the hunters gathered by the fire, hunched over and happily grunting and chomping away at a Fred Flintstone-sized brontosaurus rib…” And the best ribs, they assure us, are “the ones you like.”

Luckily, there’s plenty to like in “America’s Best Ribs.” The book focuses on grilling and smoking ribs, reminding readers “low and slow is the best way to get tender, delicious ribs.”  You’ll learn to select, prep and season ribs… ways to create your own award-winning rubs, sauces, marinades and brines…what equipment you might need, with notes on fuel…testing for doneness… and more.

So how do you like your ribs?  With this book, you can have it all, from Memphis-style (usually means sauced and dry rub ribs) to Texas-style (usually means lightly seasoned, slow smoked, dry rub ribs, served with barbecue sauce or hot sauce on the side) and everything in between.  Just remember that BBQers may like to share their unique tastes and tips, but they always keep some secrets close to those sauce-spattered aprons. Start practicing for your own unforgettable “ribilicious” summer or that coveted championship trophy.  And remember, “Each new experiment is another step on your way to becoming a ribmaster.”

Lynn Torrance Redlin

With family roots in the fertile Red River Valley of North Dakota, Lynn Torrance Redlin has been part of the Cooking Up a Story team for a number of years. An avid gardener and home cook, Redlin is also a voracious reader, and enjoys exploring new information and ideas about our food system.

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