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Grilled chops, pork ribs and veg

I learned to braai by watching my father, and studiously avoiding doing what he did – he wasn’t very good at it.

I’m not sure I’m that great myself, but people keep eating it and not complaining so hopefully it all works.

I got the pork ribs uncooked and unmarinated from Goodman’s Butchery. I prefer doing ribs from scratch because I tend to find the precooked ones just never seem optimal.

If you’re stuck with buying pre-cooked ribs, you can make them taste a whole lot better by squeezing some lemon over them while they cook. It just lifts them to a different level.

The chops are from Country Meat in Linden, a nifty little butcher with a terrible little restaurant attached.

The veg is from Fruit & Veg in the Carreira Centre.

For the vegetable skewers:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped into petals
  • 2 gem squash, each chopped into 12 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

When I’m doing a braai I tend to set the veg cooking first, this is because it takes the longest to cook, and raw veg is just salad.

Before threading the veg onto the skewers I let it marinade in the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper for about half an hour.

After doing that I kept the oil aside for the chops, and got to grilling. You can generally tell that the veg is ready when the bit on the one end starts being a hassle and escaping from your skewer.

Once that started happening, I moved my meats into a cage and started cooking them with the vegetable skewers set to one side of the fire to keep warm.

For the ribs:

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chutney
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcester sauce

To make the sauce stick all the ingredients in a pot together and bring up to the boil. This is really just to dissolve the sugar, so once it is up to the boil, you’re done.

Now for the ribs there are two approaches that I like to take. If I have the time, I marinate them in the sauce, if I don’t – I rub the ribs with a bit of salt, pepper and a touch of sugar, and pour the sauce over them when they’re done.

Either way works, it just depends on what you prefer. Honestly, going the marinade approach can produce nicer ribs but it tends to feel a little wasteful.

Now to cook the ribs I like to use a medium fire, and take about ten to fifteen minutes per side.

For the chops:

For these lamb chops I took the leftover oil that the vegetables have marinated in, and rubbed it on them before I started to cook. I added a bit of extra salt and pepper too, but I figured I didn’t want to waste that delicious flavour.

As to cooking them – there’s a reason I paired with chops with ribs. They cook at about the same time, on the same fire – about ten to fifteen minutes per side.

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