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memphis ribs

PORKnography: It's Hog Heaven!

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Napoleon, Leader of the Pigs, from Animal Farm by George Orwell, 1945

It is said that the pig should be sainted because it is so reviled in life and revered in death. Certainly no other animal is so well used as a foodstuff. Slaves talked about cooking "everything but the squeal".

There are sooooo many recipes for pork around the world. Just look at ribs. In Memphis, traditionalists swear that all you need is a dry rub. They skip the sauce. In parts of South Carolina the sauce is mostly mustard. Chinese restaurant ribs are a big hit in the US, while Czechs love theirs boiled with sauerkraut. And Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef on Bravo, likes hers in bed.

Start here

The different cuts of pork. Learn about all different cuts of pork and watch videos of a hog being butchered. Just what are baby backs? spareribs? Rib tips? Riblets? St. Louis cut ribs? Rib chops? Rib roasts? Country ribs? And for heaven's sake, what the heck is a McRib?

Ribs

Last Meal Ribs: The Best Barbecue Ribs Ever. The goal is complexity, balance, and great taste. Here's how to combine the best techniques known to make the ribs that will have your families and friends worshiping you.

Rendezvous: Ribs in a Hurry. The Rendezvous in Memphis is the world's most famous ribjoint and they have their ribs done in an hour. Here's how they do it.

Vermont Pig Candy. The secret is mmmmmmaple syrup.

Chinatown Char Siu Ribs Indoors or Out. Everybody loves those Chinese restaurant ribs. How do they do it? The secret is not the sauce, it's the marinade. You can do them at home on the grill or indoors in the oven.

Hoisinful Nine Dragon Ribs. These may be the best Chinese ribs you ever tasted. And you can cook them indoors.

Chinese Five Spice Riblets. Fried and crispy, flavored with five spice powder, these ribs are the perfect finger food for parties.

Best Indoor Oven Baked Ribs: Smoky Sauna Ribs. Here's how to make ribs in your oven that most folks will think you nursed for hours on the grill.

Cabin Fever Slow Cooker Ribs. If weather or other impediments prevent you from making the real thing outdoors, you can make pretty tasty ribs in a slow cooker.

Best Stovetop Ribs: Mexican Ribs with Rice. Arroz con Costillas de Cerdo is a great stove-top recipe with ribs swimming in a lush, juicy sauce on a bed of rice.

Tuscan Marinated Ribs. This recipe calls for marinating the meat in an herbed oil and vinegar bath and roasting without smoke. The results are complex and exotic.

Better than McRib Sandwich. Stephen Colbert said it: "As much as I love ribs, there's one part that I hate: the ribs. Those bones are taking up precious meat space! That's why I've always loved the McDonald's McRib Sandwich. You see it's shaped like a slab of ribs, but it's just the good parts. And possibly the bad parts - I don't know what's in it, but it's delicious." Well here's an AmazingRib Sandwich to put McDonald's to shame.

Ham and bacon

The Science of Ham. There's fresh ham, dry-cured ham, wet-cured ham, country ham, city ham, spiral cut ham, Prosciutto di Parma, Black Forest Ham, Westphalian Ham, Serrano Ham, Ibérico Ham, Bayonne Ham, Smithfield Ham, canned ham, ham steak, picnic ham, and, heaven help me, turkey ham. I can explain all this (except why USDA allows something called turkey ham).

The Ultimate Easter Ham. The problem with most wet-cured hams is that they are dry when you cook them conventionally, and the smoke flavor is barely noticeable. So we'll cook it a lot lower and slower to keep the moisture in, add just a little fresh smoke, wrap it in foil, then sizzle on the sauce, and make a thin sauce that will penetrate the meat and add back moisture.

Cure your own ham. A home cured and freshly smoked ham tastes better than the best commercial ham you've ever tasted.

Cure Canadian ham or Irish ham. These are lean cuts from the loin. Canadian is smoked, Irish is not.

Make Your Own Bacon. Until you've tasted real honest to goodness old fashioned, sweet, smoky, umami laden, real American-style bacon, made in your home, you've never really tasted bacon.

Candied Bacon. The saltiness of bacon is a perfect foil and contrast to sweetness. Here's how to make brown sugar bacon, toffee bacon, and chocolate bacon.

Other porknography

Perfect Pulled Pork. Succulent, juicy, smoky, seductive, and a whole bunch of fun things to do with it.

Pork Chops & Steaks. Pork chops are blank canvases. They love to be painted with herbs, spices, smoke, and sauces. But they can be dry, so there are a few tricks to getting great chops. There are several different cuts you need to know, but my favorite cooking method works equally well on all cuts. When handled properly, all cuts make richly flavored and juicy fun. The major differences are tenderness and price.

Kermits Second Favorite Pork Chop. There are several types of pork chops, but there are a few techniques that will work on them all and make richly flavored and juicy chops.

Sweet & Sour Pork On The Grill. One of my mottos is "Anything you can cook indoors you cook better outdoors." This recipe is proof. Oh, and unlike the breaded and fried stuff from the neighborhood Chinese Restaurant, this dish is shockingly good leftover straight from the fridge in the wee hours when the munchies hit. You can do it in less than 40 minutes if you are well organized.

Stuffed Pork Loin Roast. Tender, juicy, smokey, delicious, spectacular looking, and fast. Could you ask for anything more for a special dinner?

Pork Belly Salad. Venture into any chic restaurant and they have an appetizer with pork belly in it. Sometimes it is served on a salad, or on polenta, or on beans. I like it on a salad.

Lip Smackin Cracklins. In the fancy Manhattan restaurants they tout their dishes garnished with pork bellies. Down South they call them cracklins. In New Orleans, they're grattons. In Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines, they're chicharrons. No matter what you call these cousins of bacon, only chocolate is more decadent. This recipe is a vast improvement over any cracklins recipe you'll find. It is not traditional. Just better. And here's why. They are not deep fried and they won't break your teeth.

Mu Shu Pork Burgers. These wonderfully flavorful and juicy burgers contain most of the same ingredients found in the Chinese restaurant"ssic, Mu Shu Pork (also spelled Moo Shu Pork).

Wisconsin Brats Simmered in a Brat Tub of Beer. A"ssic football season tailgate dish with a twist.

The Italian Sausage Bomb. I have deconstructed the"ssic Italian Sausage sandwich, turned it into a meatloaf, rearranged the ingredients by stuffing it with the usual toppings, amped it up by wrapping it in bacon, and then smoked it.

Pork Piccata on the Grill. This"ssic white wine sauce was originally designed for veal and is cooked in a pan, my version is made on the grill and works great on pork chops or chicken breasts.

Whole Hog Cooking. Whole hog roasting is an ancient tribal ritual around the world. There's a lot of meat in play so that means you don't undertake the exercise unless you understand the pitfalls.

Building a Hog Pit. Here are instructions for building your own pit suitable for a 100 pound hog, enough to feed about 60 people.

...more to come (to be notified when new recipes and other articles are published, be sure to subscribe to our free, spam free, email newsletter "Smoke Signals").

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