Sunday, 20 January 2013

Pork ribs (Χοιρινά παϊδάκια)

Today's Sunday lunch consisted of a novel meat cut that I;ve seen being sold in Greece for the first time in my years here: pork ribs. In Greece, pork ribs are always sold attached to the steak, so you can imagine my surprise last week when I saw a rack of pork ribs at the supermarket. The spare ribs were vacuum-packed, with a membrane stuck around them, and labelled χοιρινά παϊδάκια (pork chops) and sold for about €5.50/kg. 

Facebook friends tell me that this cut is also known as κορτεζίνα in Greece. But I bet most butchers would not even know it. Although it's a cheap cut, butchers would never sell pork like this: if you ask for it, they'll complain that they wouldn't be able to sell pork steaks if the ribs were missing. One way you can get access to them is if you ask the butcher to keep aside 'pork bone scraps'; but you have to tell him you're willing to pay for them, and that they are for your dog (and you will get them for less than what I paid for them).

The fact that this vacuum pack is being cut from Greek (and not imported) meat shows what people are looking for these days. Greeks still eat traditional Greek meals, but they also like novelty dishes like this, which they will have become accustomed to form travels and studies abroad. This kind of cuisine is essentially urban in nature; recipes for such 'novel' cuisine are also being passed around on Greek web sites and cooking magazines.

What could be difficult about cooking pork ribs? After looking it up on the internet, I found that this meat cut did prove to be a small challenge if you haven't cooked them before: dry-rub and glaze sauce are new concepts for me. Most recipes tell you to use your favorite dry-rub and your favorite BBQ sauce, both being things I am not familiar with, so I had to make them all myself. 

My version of a dry rub: mix together some salt, pepper, oregano, brown sugar, paprika.
My version of BBQ sauce: use a mixture of imported bottled sauces that I have in my fridge - hoisin sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, HP sauce.

I served the pork ribs with a garden-fresh coleslaw of red and white cabbage, finely chopped celery and carrots, made with mayonnaise and mustard. French fries were also on the cards for lunch, but I decided to serve the leftover pastitsio for carbs instead (waste not, want not). And that ginger beer we picked up from the supermarket the other day was perfect for a non-alcoholic substitute to our regular Sunday beer or wine. 

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