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At home with Sophia: American style ribs

By Sophia Carlini 24 January 2016 45

Every now and then, I get the biggest craving for a rack of American style ribs; unfortunately, I haven’t found any good ribs places in Canberra. The places I have tried have been disappointing, with sickly sweet marinades and anorexic cows; there’s nothing worse then paying a bucket load for ribs and getting the tiniest bit of meat.

As I was walking past the butcher in the Canberra Centre, I noticed massive beef ribs in their display. I bought 6 ribs and 2 pieces of steak (for another night’s dinner); it cost me almost $70! I could not believe it. I was almost tempted to tell the butcher not to worry about it, but I felt bad that he had already packed it all up. All I could do was hope that the were going to be the most delicious ribs there ever was.

I looked for a marinade recipe and came across one from Taste.com which I have adapted.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (a small bottle of bourbon is almost $30 — I would recommend borrowing a cup from a bourbon drinker!)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5kg pork or beef ribs
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Method:

Combine the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, bourbon, sugar, paprika and garlic in a baking dish. Add ribs and coat in marinade.

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Cover and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Remove ribs from the fridge 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1.5-2 hours. I actually left my on for 4 hours because I had the time and wanted the meat to be really tender.

Once tender, you can either turn the heat up to 200 degrees and caramelise in the over for approximately 10 minutes or, you can chuck them on the BBQ for a couple of minutes. I went for the BBQ option. Tip: to get extra flavour and to use all of the marinade, baste the ribs whilst on the BBQ with the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish.

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I felt like a salad would go perfectly with these ribs and would cut through the heaviness nicely, so I adapted my favourite salad recipe, and by adapted, I mean that I didn’t have any cabbage left in my fridge.

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The flavour was so good and Mike (my fiancé, for readers new to the series) loved them!

A tip to save yourself money: 6 was two too many for two people, and unfortunately they just don’t make for very good left overs.


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At home with Sophia: American style ribs
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Masquara 12:22 pm 04 Feb 16

HenryBG said :

rubaiyat said :

Found these slightly dated references:

https://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/coffee-shop-chains-in-london/

Coffee is about 25% more expensive than here.

http://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/indicative-prices-of-family-restaurants-in-london-2014/

Meals look the same as or more expensive than here. Quality? That I leave up to you. Been a while since I was in the UK but the food was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Good grief.
Price checking by visiting tourist-trap chain-stores? In Kensington???

Here is a posh Oxfordshire pub’s menu:
http://www.dunstewwhitehorse.co.uk/restaurant/menu
mmm. yum. This stuff comes from local farms.

How does it compare with the “Walt & Burley”:
http://www.waltandburley.com.au/pdf/201601_waltandburley_menu.pdf
Nothing in it.
And *I* know which is going to be better…

And moving away from Kensington, and to somewhere that is a bit more on the level with Canberra in terms of class, money and style, we go to Gelato Heaven in Luton:
http://www.gelatoheaven.co.uk/parlourmenu
1 scoop Gelato – $4
waffles with 6 toppings – $10. Super-expensive waffle – $14.

In Canberra?
Gelatissimo – 1 scoop = $5
Waffles –
Smoque: w. 2 toppings – $10.
Or, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/breakfast-in-the-city-20140529-zrrln.html
$17.

But most importantly, here are the UK fresh vegie prices at the supermarket, in the middle of winter:
Carrots – $1.20/kg
Broccoli – $3/kg
Onions $1.4/kg
Cucumber – $1/ea
http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/search/default.aspx?searchBox=cucumber&newSort=true&search=Search

How about Woolies:
https://www.woolworths.com.au/Shop/Browse/fruit-veg/fresh-veg
Carrots – $2.48/kg
Broccoli – $5.5/kg
Onions $2.98/kg
Cucumber – $2/ea

As you can see, we pay almost exactly 2x the price they pay for fresh food in the UK.

Wage costs in the UK are much, much lower.

rubaiyat 4:16 pm 03 Feb 16

HenryBG said :

As you can see, we pay almost exactly 2x the price they pay for fresh food in the UK.

No we can see that we pay ALMOST twice as much for broccoli. Because it is out of season.

We pay less for cucumbers, 70¢ at Coles, and you got the figures wrong for both the onions and the carrots, which are only a little more expensive at Woolies.

Why have you picked on this tiny set of 4 vegetables?

Because most of the other staples from Tesco’s, of the long list I posted and which got deleted, cost 70% to 400% more at Tesco’s than Woolies.

    Charlotte Harper 7:28 am 04 Feb 16

    Hi Rubaiyat, I’m guessing your post was deleted by the overnight moderator because they felt the conversation about the price comparison of food had gone on long enough and I tend to agree with them. Time to move on, so I’ll approve this one then let’s leave it, thank you.

rubaiyat 4:48 pm 02 Feb 16

Quality doesn’t seem to rate highly in the opinion of many RiotACT posters (or they simply don’t know what that is), so it is worth taking note of what independent markets make of our food.

This article from the ABC addresses the new markets in the Middle East who are much closer to Europe, but prefer Australian produce:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-18/veg-exports-middle-east-boom-japan-declines/6705810

“Mr Sawlani said UAE citizens and the expat community in Dubai were demanding higher quality produce from Australia instead, and were prepared to pay for it.”

“UAE fresh food retailer and processor, Barakat Quality Plus, has been sourcing Australian carrots for over 20 years, as well as potatoes and citrus.

The company’s purchase manager, Anil Pillai, said Australian carrots were the best in the world.

“We tried many origins for carrots from other countries, but we didn’t get a good result, so we came back to Australian carrots,”

“”The cost of production is quite high [in Australia], so it is difficult for us to compete with some of the large-scale production countries that can export vegetables at a cheaper price.

However, Australia’s reputation as a world-leading producer of clean, green and safe vegetables is something that is really driving consumer demand for Australian vegetables in the UAE.”

etc

HenryBG 7:54 pm 01 Feb 16

rubaiyat said :

Found these slightly dated references:

https://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/coffee-shop-chains-in-london/

Coffee is about 25% more expensive than here.

http://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/indicative-prices-of-family-restaurants-in-london-2014/

Meals look the same as or more expensive than here. Quality? That I leave up to you. Been a while since I was in the UK but the food was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Good grief.
Price checking by visiting tourist-trap chain-stores? In Kensington???

Here is a posh Oxfordshire pub’s menu:
http://www.dunstewwhitehorse.co.uk/restaurant/menu
mmm. yum. This stuff comes from local farms.

How does it compare with the “Walt & Burley”:
http://www.waltandburley.com.au/pdf/201601_waltandburley_menu.pdf
Nothing in it.
And *I* know which is going to be better…

And moving away from Kensington, and to somewhere that is a bit more on the level with Canberra in terms of class, money and style, we go to Gelato Heaven in Luton:
http://www.gelatoheaven.co.uk/parlourmenu
1 scoop Gelato – $4
waffles with 6 toppings – $10. Super-expensive waffle – $14.

In Canberra?
Gelatissimo – 1 scoop = $5
Waffles –
Smoque: w. 2 toppings – $10.
Or, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/breakfast-in-the-city-20140529-zrrln.html
$17.

But most importantly, here are the UK fresh vegie prices at the supermarket, in the middle of winter:
Carrots – $1.20/kg
Broccoli – $3/kg
Onions $1.4/kg
Cucumber – $1/ea
http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/search/default.aspx?searchBox=cucumber&newSort=true&search=Search

How about Woolies:
https://www.woolworths.com.au/Shop/Browse/fruit-veg/fresh-veg
Carrots – $2.48/kg
Broccoli – $5.5/kg
Onions $2.98/kg
Cucumber – $2/ea

As you can see, we pay almost exactly 2x the price they pay for fresh food in the UK.

rubaiyat 1:32 pm 01 Feb 16

Forgot to add that is US lbs and Australian kilograms.

dungfungus was saying we need a Fact Checker on these forums.

Well if anyone else wants a go, that is how it is done.

rubaiyat 1:28 pm 01 Feb 16

rubaiyat said :

Which leads to the question what about the States?

Harder to do because of the sad state of their food, it is hard to find regular, unprocessed, unshredded, unsliced, unindividually packaged, cheeses.

Finally determined that Tillamook Cheddar is a low price block cheese available from Trader Joes (Aldi’s US arm) and Walmart for US$$3.59 a year ago.

That translates to A$11.30. Today.

Almost but not quite double the Australian price, and subject to a tasting, my experience of the US says that would it would be of dubious quality.

rubaiyat 1:26 pm 01 Feb 16

Which leads to the question what about the States?

Harder to do because of the sad state of their food, it is hard to find regular, unprocessed, unshredded, unsliced, unindividually packaged, cheeses.

Finally determined that Tillamook Cheddar is a low price block cheese available from Trader Joes (Aldi’s US arm) and Walmart for US$$3.59 a year ago.

That translates to A$11.30. Today.

rubaiyat 12:58 pm 01 Feb 16

Subsidies don’t seem to make a difference.

The cheapest cheddar in the British supermarket surveys is £4.83 (A$9.90) at Morrisons, £5.00 (A$10.25) at Aldi UK.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/22/which-supermarket-cheapest-morrisons-aldi-asda

Aldi Australia it is £2.92 (A$6.00)

“But it’s the supermarket prices in the UK that are astoundingly cheaper than they are here.” Leaves me totally puzzled. What on earth are you seeing when you look at things?

The easily demonstrated fact is that UK supermarkets far from being “amazingly cheaper” are in fact “amazingly expensive”. The exact opposite of what you claim.

By a huge margin not even a little one.

Thanks for letting me scratch this itch. Curiosity does lead you to new discoveries.

rubaiyat 11:50 am 01 Feb 16

btw Whilst I was poking around in Sainsbury’s found a bottle of plain old Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay costs $14.35 in the UK.

The great thing about travel is just how it opens your eyes to the fact that Australia really is the lucky country, no doubt about it. I meet lots of British travellers who obsess over how they can get to stay here, and my Austrian relatives are over here every chance they can get, and they are not doing too badly at home. Wish we had their 6 weeks plus annual holidays.

rubaiyat 11:33 am 01 Feb 16

Was curious about the lack of difference in the Beef mince, so checked the fat %.

Sainsburys was actually 10% fat and by our standards low grade.

I thought it was better and chose the top of the line Aussie mince.

So Woolies:

Beef premium mince (5% fat) is £5.35 ($A11.00) per kg

Both substantially cheaper and still half the fat.

rubaiyat 11:26 am 01 Feb 16

For the benefit of all of you who shop at Harrads for the “Everyday Lower Prices” 🙂

Today’s Woolworths prices for the same items:

Chicken breast is £4.39 (A$9.00) per kg.

Beef mince heart smart is £7.75 ($A15.99) per kg

Pink Lady Apples are £2.42 (A$4.98) per kg.

House brand spaghetti is £0.98 ($A2.00) per kg

Potatoes are £1.45 (A$2.99) per kg

rubaiyat 11:06 am 01 Feb 16

Can’t price check everything but directly from Sainsburys’ website today:

Chicken breast is £8.50 (A$17.45) per kg.

Beef mince low fat is £8.00 ($A16.40) per kg

Pink Lady Apples are £3.00 (A$6.15) per kg.

House brand spaghetti is £1.70 ($A3.50) per kg

Potatoes are £1.20/kg/A$2.46 per kg

What I detect is comparing numbers and not values, not doing the maths and some exaggeration to “make a point”, assuming no-one checks.

rubaiyat 10:42 am 01 Feb 16

Found these slightly dated references:

https://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/coffee-shop-chains-in-london/

Coffee is about 25% more expensive than here.

http://www.londontoolkit.com/blog/eats/indicative-prices-of-family-restaurants-in-london-2014/

Meals look the same as or more expensive than here. Quality? That I leave up to you. Been a while since I was in the UK but the food was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

rubaiyat 10:29 am 01 Feb 16

rubaiyat said :

And a club lunch at Southern Cross Club will set you back $8.99 with a schooner of beer $13.49. ie €4.39 and €6.85. How much was your beer at the UK pub?.

Sorry my mistake. I switched my Euros and Pounds.

£4.39 lunch and £6.85 with beer

€5.80 lunch and €8.70 with beer

If you want a better comparison of international exchange rates and possibly food prices, consult The Economist’s Big Mac index for world equivalents.

btw I can not find these prices on line, some of which do not sound plausible compared to what I do find. But if you are comparing cheap with cheap, it is not hard to have a hearty cooked meal in Canberra for $7.99 or $8.99 and Canberra is one of Australia’s more expensive cities.

Pretending away the extra taxes and tips that are part of the cost of dining out in many countries, is certainly not honest. In the USA the auto tipping when paying electronically is now over 20% and that is on top of the City and State taxes imposed but not quoted on the menu price. The locals are not unaware of this which is why they frequent the junk food outlets where they attempt to avoid topping up the working poor’s incomes.

Ezy 10:18 am 01 Feb 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Sorry for the third post in a row, forgot to mention that cooking the pork to 140 degrees C means not relying on the oven thermostat to get to that temp. Maybe our meat was just a little cooler than that even though it’d been in there for almost an hour. Wise to check with a thermometer the temp of the meat or cook a little hotter to make sure the bugs are dead. Researching the meat safety recommendations for cooking, I now understand the reason for pre-heating the oven. In my impatience I often chuck the meat in while it is warming up. This means it may sit in there for some time at lower temps, possibly breeding the nasty little critters before warming up to safe levels. That could’ve been my mistake yesterday.

How big were the ribs? Was it a whole rack?

Sometimes you can experience a ‘stall’ in cooking bigger pieces of meat at low temperatures. I always cook things to internal meat temperature, not time or oven temperature. This is where having a digital thermometer comes in handy.

Whilst more common in shoulder (pulled pork) and brisket – The stall can still happen with ribs, there is a period of time when the temperature of the meat doesn’t rise, and can sometimes fall as the collagen and connective tissue is rendering. For bigger slabs of meat, this can add another hour to the cooking time.

Have a look at the 3-2-1 method – I have had good results with that. Three hours with smoke. Two hours wrapped in foil with a little liquid. One more hour with smoke while saucing.

An awesome resource for your american ribs is over here: http://amazingribs.com

rubaiyat 10:12 am 01 Feb 16

HenryBG said :

rubaiyat said :

This may be of interest:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/german-cartel-office-fines-wurst-makers-1405425599

btw Last time I had a sausage sanger outside Bunnings, the Coke and Chunder only set me back $5.

All depends where and when you are eating. Compare like with like.

You can’t compare German sausages obtained from a proper sausage-stall with the plain-jane Rotary BBQ at Bunnings.
Except that they are the same price.
I know which I would prefer.

As far as tipping in places like Italy goes – I really don’t remember, but I imagine I’d have added on 10%, and the service was very good.
To give you one example, we went to a harbourside restaurant somewhere near Bari, liked the look of their pizza menu (prices ranged from 2.5 euros -4 euros per pizza, large pizzas) and ordered 5 of them between about 12 of us, plus wine and softdrinks. The pizza was perfect, we ordered another 4. The proprietor then came out with a jug of her home-made Limoncello and gave us all a glass each. The total bill for a dozen of us came to about 60 euros. So I probably tipped her an extra 10.
You cannot get decent pizzas in this country, and if you manage to find half-decent ones (eg Ostani), you’re paying $20 each for very small pizzas, (but they’ve ruined their pizzas by going all Dominos on them).

Last pub lunch I had in the UK (and it was a posh pub in Oxfordshire) came to under 50 pounds for the 5 of us. In Australia you won’t even get the main for less than $25, let alone drinks and nibbles to go with it. But it’s the supermarket prices in the UK that are astoundingly cheaper than they are here.
As far as Europeans subsidising their agricultural sector – sounds pretty good to me. We should to the same, instead of allowing imported fruit to crowd our shelves.

And a club lunch at Southern Cross Club will set you back $8.99 with a schooner of beer $13.49. ie €4.39 and €6.85. How much was your beer at the UK pub?

Every country has different dining habits, foods and pricing.

Government subsidies on food are a scourge. The Europeans, Americans, Japanese and to some extent the Chinese have inflicted this inefficient price distortion on the world which attacks all honest farmers particularly those in 3rd world nations by taking away markets and dumping their surpluses.

The subsidies consume vast portions of the Government budgets. Part of the USA’s socialism for corporations. Feeding the working poor with food stamps so that the corporations can have cheap labour. Much like the slave owners wanted to feed the African slaves breadfruit but ended up with the even cheaper Grits.

The larger nations/blocks who do this have let it get totally out of hand, it causes political corruption, particularly in the USA and forces the poorer nation’s farmers off their land and into desperate attempts at dangerous illegal migration into the 1st world nations who cause the problem, but complain about the consequences.

It also ruins the food. The US meat is so fatty because it is nearly all stall raised or from feed lots where the animals barely move as they eat mountains of the subsidised corn and consequently are extremely fatty.

A US Big Mac is 50% fat! Half if which is saturated fat. Twice what they are in Australia which are still massively unhealthy but only a quarter fat. The school lunches which are also subsidised for the benefit of the corporations, who feed a good chunk of the subsidies back into the pockets of the politicians behind the programs, are even worse. Jamie Oliver exposed the Pink Slime, chemically extracted residue from carcases that goes into childrens’ school burgers and starts them on the steep downhill slide into obesity.

Life for the lifelong caged animals, particularly intelligent pigs, is horrific. That this is all kept from your not too curious gaze makes it no better.

That life is “greener” over the fence in most cases is a massive lie, at minimum a massive self deception.

wildturkeycanoe 7:46 am 01 Feb 16

Sorry for the third post in a row, forgot to mention that cooking the pork to 140 degrees C means not relying on the oven thermostat to get to that temp. Maybe our meat was just a little cooler than that even though it’d been in there for almost an hour. Wise to check with a thermometer the temp of the meat or cook a little hotter to make sure the bugs are dead. Researching the meat safety recommendations for cooking, I now understand the reason for pre-heating the oven. In my impatience I often chuck the meat in while it is warming up. This means it may sit in there for some time at lower temps, possibly breeding the nasty little critters before warming up to safe levels. That could’ve been my mistake yesterday.

wildturkeycanoe 7:38 am 01 Feb 16

Curse my fat fingers and typing on the phone. Also, I did manage to get some BBQ beef ribs, smoky hickory marinated pork ribs and Korean style bbq pork belly pieces yesterday. Unfortunately, there was a culprit somewhere among them that caused both my wife and myself to get very, very [eye-watering pain] bad stomach cramps between one o’clock and three o’clock this morning. None of the meat was out of date….there was nothing else in common we’d eaten either. So much for having cravings, next time I hope I desire something less susceptible to gastrointestinal bugs.

rosscoact 6:09 am 01 Feb 16

I opened a parcel yesterday with some US local newspaper packing. Ribs were $1.99 a pound. That’s $6.20kg. Brisket was 88c a lb.

Which explains why Americans eat so much barbecue and why so many are obese

wildturkeycanoe 12:31 pm 31 Jan 16

Curse your subliminal messaginginfluence. I am craving bbq porl ribs now and every butcher and supermarket is sold out. Gonna have to make my own and wait till tomorrow to cook and enjoy them.

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