In 1999, Christopher B. O’Hara wrote a tidy, slim book The Bloody Mary that I love. I have a copy, somewhere, and I’m going to hunt for it this weekend. The very next year came Ribs: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Barbecuing and Grilling. It’s a carefully written book. And slim, again, at less than 100 pages.
Today, you can find many, many barbequing and grilling books. Big books: 300, 400, 500 pages. Want to know about the differences between different ribs? You’ll find a rib chapter in those books, 20 or 30 pages long. For many of us, eager to buy and to grill, those chapters are so big we just bypass them.
In Ribs here, Chapter 3 on Ribs Basics takes just six pages to compare baby backs, beef backs, spareribs, country style ribs and short ribs. In just a few minutes you can scan, learn, compare and determine the meat for tonight’s dinner with confidence. There is expedience here that fits our busy schedules most rewardingly.
There are other brief chapters for The Gear; Rib Cooking Methods; Sauces, Rubs, Glazes and Marinades; and finally the actual Rib Recipes. In a few pages, each chapter provides meaty advice. That chapter on Sauces provides, in a just short space, an entire portfolio of sauces you should experience, including Deep South Mustard-Based Barbecue Sauce, Traditional South American or Churrascaria Barbeque Sauce with Herbs, or a Citrus Barbeque Sauce paired with an Orange Glaze.
Ribs is a handy book, one to use for a quick refresher course on techniques and meats and recipes. You just might find yourself doing the Texas-Style Baby Back Ribs with a beer-based mop.
Long live the grill.