By Noble Savage
A few posts ago, we told you about the Pit Barrel Cooker, and how easy it is to cook a chicken in it – Kitchen at the End of the Universe: Pit Barrel Chicken. And while the chicken is awesome, its real strong point is ribs. Pork ribs to be exact. But just be warned, for some reason, it’s unexpectedly difficult to find pork ribs that have not been marinated or pre-cooked in Gauteng. It seems like Checkers have some here and there. As a result, I always get a few racks whenever I see them, and pop it in the freezer for next time. You know, like tomorrow.
Last year, we visited Neethlingshof wine estate in Stellenbosch. And while they make some pretty astonishing blends – my favourite is The Caracal – they also have a great variety of single-varietals. We brought some home with us, and was just itching for chance to drink it with the perfect dish…
As an appetizer, I tried a Thai red curry spice mix from Robertsons Herbs and Spices with some half-shell mussels. Also very easy – fry some onions, add a can of coconut milk, stir in the spice mix, and let simmer for a few minutes. The mussels were already cooked, so I just popped it into the sauce for a bit to let it warm through. We paired this with the Neethlingshof Estate Gewurztraminer. An often repeated suggestion for Gewurtz is spicy food, but this is not always the case. While it likes spicy, it doesn’t like hot. And the Robertsons spice mix had the perfect balance; spicy, without being hot. Perfect!
Now I already mentioned how easy the ribs are in the Pit Barrel. It really is just a case of covering the ribs with a bit of olive oil, adding your preferred spices (I used Funky Ouma’s braai salt), and hanging it in the Pit Barrel for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Then take them out, and cover with basting sauce. Again, whatever you prefer – I like the sticky asian sauce from Flaming Tiger. (It’s local, but they don’t have much of a web presence. It’s stocked by Fleisherei though.) Then it’s back in the Pit Barrel for another 30 minutes.
To go with the ribs, we decided on Neethlingshof Estate Malbec. Malbec is an Argentine varietal, and because they like braai as much as we do, it’s almost as if they engineered Malbec to go with a braai. Seriously, get yourself a bottle next time you braai. The slightly spicy and dark chocolate aromas, together with its rich berry palate worked perfectly with the smoky savoury ribs. And although Malbec is usually rather paired with beef, the cooking method made it a perfect dish for the wine.
And there you have it. You can serve a delicious lunch without spending more than 30 minutes making and preparing food. Perfect for entertaining, or just a lazy Sunday at home.