Top: We love these meaty boneless ribs. Center: Look for this package in your supermarket. Bottom: Baby back ribs. All photos courtesy Tony Roma’s.
We try to avoid barbecue joints because way beyond the barbecue, we fill up on cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, cole slaw, mac and cheese and banana pudding. We feel overstuffed now, just by thinking of it.
That’s why it was our lucky day when we accepted Tony Roma’s offer of heat-and-eat pork ribs to consider for THE NIBBLE. They’re available at supermarkets nationwide, and we’re thankful for that! (Here’s a store locator.)
They’re as good or better than what we get in restaurants…and we don’t face a menu of tempting, high-carb, high-sugar, high-fat choices. And we don’t have to make anyone’s brother’s award-winning recipe.
ABOUT THE RIBS
The ribs and barbecue are marinated and slow-cooked. Fully cooked and nicely sauced, we microwaved them and they were ready in minutes. We tried:
Tony Roma’s Baby Back Pork Ribs
Tony Roma’s Boneless Pork Ribs
Tony Roma’s BBQ Pulled Pork
St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs
There are other choices we didn’t taste—but look forward to:
All are available in with either Sweet & Spicy or Sweet Hickory barbecue sauces, and all made us happy. But the boneless ribs are by far our favorite: thick slices of tender meat with no bones to contend with.
We were in hog heaven, and the boneless ribs have joined our “addiction list”—Top Picks that we continue to buy regularly at the grocer’s.
Now, we can enjoy delicious ribs without all the empty carb sides and without sticky fingers: We eat them with a knife and fork. We…
Ate them with a big, crunchy salad and homemade cole slaw (purchased a package of shredded cabbage and tossed with a light vinaigrette—and sometimes blue cheese dressing).
Rolled them in lettuce leaves with shredded carrots, shredded daikon and watercress.
Served them with sides of sweet potatoes and sautéed apples* or caramelized onions.
Made burritos and tacos.
Served three slices atop a bed of [variously] sautéed vegetables, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, grits and San Gennaro polenta.
*We bought a jar of Grandma Hoerner’s Big Slice, delectable and time-saving.
A QUICK PORK RIBS TUTORIAL
There are two types of barbecue preparation: dry and wet. Dry ribs are rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices. The rubs don’t require advance preparation; they can be applied just before barbecuing. Wet ribs are basted with sauce prior to and during the barbecuing process.
Baby Back Ribs are sourced from the loin area. These ribs tend to be smaller in size than spare ribs, but are considered to be more tender than other rib cuts. Think of them as tender and tasty.
Spare Ribs, also called side ribs, are from the belly area. They are longer and fatter than baby back ribs, but less meaty. The mix of meat and fat add to their tenderness and make slow-cooking a great way to enjoy these pork ribs. They’re what you want if you love to chew on the bones.
Boneless Ribs are sourced from the shoulder-area of the hog. They are slow cooked at low heat until tender and then portioned into various size boneless rib pieces. Most often, boneless ribs are marinated and seasoned for tenderness.
St. Louis-Style Ribs are a particular cut of the pork rib. The shape is almost rectangular and bone has been removed. These are meaty and tasty ribs, typically marinated for tenderness.
Pulled Pork is made with meat sourced from the shoulder area. It is slow cooked at low heat until it becomes tender enough to be “pulled” apart. Most often, pulled pork is marinated and seasoned for tenderness and tastiness.
Glossary information and chart courtesy Rupari Foods, maker of Tony Roma’s retail barbecue products.
Check our the different cuts of pork in our Pork Glossary.