Hey, you have something stuck in your teeth. Nope, other side. Between your incisor and… yeah, that one. Uh… it’s still all up in there. You’re going to need some floss to coax that meaty morsel out.
As a non-pork-eating lover of the chewy bits, finding pig-free treats at a barbecue joint tends to mean I can order the brisket, the burnt ends, or… under duress… the pulled chicken. Which means it’s rare — very rare — for me to treat myself to the untrammeled, messy, Neanderthal joy that is gnawing at a rib bone for the last bits of burnt flesh.
You can find pork ribs just about anywhere, but the alternatives? Balkanized.
I can’t remember the name of the place down on Evans that used to do all-you-can-eat bison ribs — a short, happy era in my dining history. But beef ribs? You gotta search.
Unless it’s Thursday in Denver, in which case, Brothers BBQ has you covered, with Flintstone-sized bones bearing big bites of barbecued beef — tender chunks mixed with crispy toothsome fibers, all crusty and charred on the outside. Dry-rubbed and hickory smoked, they hardly need sauce to be satisfying.
But what’s the fun of biting into barbecue meats without sampling sauces? I’ll take a first chomp of a beefy bone to get the pure flavor experience, and then dip it into one of my faves. As much as I love the pairing of their sweet BBQ sauce and savory meat, I’m also partial to the O’Sullivan brothers’ own Carolina mustard goo. And the acid pop of their tangy vinegar sauce adds a flash of brightness to the dank goodness of the meat itself.
But honestly? Sauce-shmoss. I’m too wrapped up in the joy of mowing down on non-pork ribs, over-consuming in an unconscious response to the relative scarcity of the treat to think about it. Friday morning meat sweats be damned — I’m going to rip and bite and chew and caveman the shit out of as many rib bones as I can, face full of sauce and every gap between my teeth bristling with beef.
The dental floss can wait.