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Fried Ribs at the Roadhouse

Rockin’ appetizer kissed with a touch of artisan cane syrup!

by Ari Weinzweig

Fried ribs at the Roadhouse.

Because we’re around so much good food every day, it takes a lot to get our staff really talking. But that’s what happened when fried ribs hit the Roadhouse appetizer list for the first time.

The dish starts with the same super-popular pork ribs that the Roadhouse sells so many hundreds of weekly—they also helped earn the Roadhouse a spot on Bon Appetit’s Top Ten New Barbecue Restaurants list back in 2009. Made from free-running pork, raised by Niman Ranch farmers here in Michigan, these baby back ribs are liberally spiced and then set on the pit over oak smoke for about three hours. From there they head back to the kitchen where they braise for another three hours, and then they’re left to steam for another three hours still. When you order a rack, the slabs go onto the grill over more oak wood smoke, topped with some of our Red Rage barbecue sauce.

The fried ribs take a bit of a side road—the get cut into individual ribs, are dipped in buttermilk and seasoned flour, and then dropped in hot oil in the deep fryer. It doesn’t take long before they come out golden brown and hot. We drain them quickly and finish with a drizzle of Charles Poirier’s powerfully good artisan cane syrup.

The syrup is a story in itself. I met Charles probably five or six years ago at Southern Foodways Alliance, and immediately upon tasting, fell head over sweet heels in love with his homemade cane syrup. The whole thing is incredible–he raises the cane, crushes it, boils down the juice. One hundred and fifty years ago half the state of Louisiana probably did the same thing. Today, best I know, Charles is the only that’s still at it.

Because Charles’s syrup is limited, we bought up all we could get last winter. Fried Ribs will continue on while supplies of the syrup last (next harvest will be in the autumn). You can try Charles artisan cane syrup on a fried chicken biscuit at Happy Hour, too!

The fried ribs have been so popular that almost everyone at the Roadhouse has been talking about them and eating them! Stop by and order some up. I think you could make a meal out of the dish if you paired them with sides of mashed potatoes and collard greens. Either way, if you like barbecue, good pork, a touch of sweet and a bit of spice, they’re sure going to be a hit with you too.

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