An American barbecue revolution is sweeping through Europe. And ribs – whether they're barbecued, roasted, grilled, baked, or smoked – have become a favourite for carnivores across the continent. Italy isn't immune to the fervour either, with places like 212 Hamerica's Boston, Hats Off and The Meat Market serving up the best of the star-spangled delights up and down the country. So it's time to brush up on your rib knowledge and join the revolution.
Ribs are straight shooting. They're exactly what they say they are – a cut of meat from the rib cage. They usually come from beef, pork, lamb or venison, but could also be from plenty more exotic animals, from kangaroo to bison, goat, ostrich, crocodile, llama or water buffalo depending on where you're ordering.
The rib cut of meat is less meaty than, for example chops, which also come from the ribcage. But while a chop is served on its own, ribs come together in a rack. This means that while there is less meat on each finger, the overall result is not only plenty of meat, but a greater surface area for flavour. It's the maximum taste possible on a cut of meat, with punchy smoky flavours met with sauces galore.
The best thing about ribs is that it one of the few dishes where you're given carte blanche to dive in fingers first – and get sauce all over your face – without the fear of being judged.
Ribs as we know them originated in the deep south of the USA. But the tradition of barbecuing beef ribs comes from Texas, while the rest of the south usually uses pork ribs. But in most southern states 'barbecue' is not an adjective, it's a noun.
Originally, ribs were cooked by smokehouse or over an open pit. It was a bit of a time-consuming method, meaning it was usually reserved for weddings and all-out celebrations like Fourth of July. But with the increasing availability of charcoal and rise of the portable grill, barbecuing ribs became a weekend American ritual.
As good as home-barbecued ribs are, it's the slow-roasting that happens in a restaurant that creates that fall-off-the-bone-meat that we all know and love. You can't really stand in front of your barbecue for 10 to 12 hours, but you sure can pay for someone else to.
For ribs in all their original glory, head to the Meat Market, where you'll find classic barbecue ribs with a trademark BBQ sauce – just make sure you mop up all the flavour with the fries.
Hats Off is one of Italy's best specialists in the field. They serve Baby Back Ribs – pork ribs taken from the top of the rib cage – and have a long list of flavour choices. There's the Colonian Style with sweet cocoa sauce and a mix of Indian spices, Honey and Mustard Style where sweet meets savoury through fiery mustard beans and rich Acacia honey, and the true American Jack Daniels ribs with a reduction of thick JD and sweet barbecue sauce.
212 Hamerica's Boston serves ribs after marinating them and smoking for 5 hours. Beyond that though, they're far from conventional. Order a rib sandwich, with boneless pork ribs in fresh white bread, or the ribs taco, with boned meat and fresh guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo salsa and chips.
Smoked, grilled or roasted, ribs always hit the spot. Get all your favourite things straight to your door here on Deliveroo.
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