Rib-tickingly Good Fun at #Ribstock

June 27, 2013 · 0 comments

in London I Love You,Scrumdiddlyumcious

A smily Neil Rankin AKA The Frontline Chef. In the following photo (sadly not included) he necks a shot of rum. Atta guy!

Surely the cruellest place to take your dog ?!!

Truckstop. I can’t wait for this!


Wearing dungarees by River Island – Shirt from ASOS – Hat from MINT Vintage 

The reason why there aren’t any photos of me consuming any ribs at Ribstock are twofold. Firstly, they were so damned delicious that Mister Ruffles struggled to keep up with my super speedy rib-guzzling which, in my humble opinion, was deserved of a prize all of its own. By rib number six I had it down to about three minutes from plate to belly to discarded bone. Ahem. Secondly it’s because unbeknownst to me, once on camera, eating a rib looks extremely phallic, and so to preserve mine modesty and thine eyes there’s no photographic evidence that last Saturday I put away a whopping ten ribs in record time! Wowsers! And where did I achieve this mean meaty feat? Well none other than Ribstock, an excellently executed event organised by the folk behind Tweat Up, and held at Street Feast in Dalston.

In its 2nd year, Ribstock is a battle between ten of the U.K’s best rib chefs and restaurants to win the much-lauded title of ‘Great British Rib Champion’ and we the public got to sample all ten offerings, and then vote for the winner. The ribs were all wildly different in taste, size, cooking method and flavour; there were pork ribs, beef ribs, babyback ribs and off-the-bone ribs, ribs with rice, ribs with coleslaw, ribs with cornbread, and even ribs with a very thoughtful wet-wipe (thanks Cattlegrid!) I thought it was spot-on that the majority of ribs came with a variety of accoutrements, and these ranged from the more traditional like barbecued beans to the more exotic … side order of an icy gin granita topped with juniper marshmallow palate-cleanser with your ribs anyone?! (For the record this was amazing and did just the trick, thanks Blue Boar London!) And some ribs came straight-up with nothing more than a puddle of hot-sauce and a shot of bourbon (these were from Red Dog Saloon) which, considering I’d swerved breakfast to allow as much room for rib consumption as possible, very nearly put hairs on my chest!

From the moment we followed the hickory-smoked barbecue fug wafting down Kingsland Road to Ribstock we had a blast, mingling and chatting to our fellow Ribstock-ers, bopping away to the fantastic Hillbilly-blues band that played a toe-tapping set, it felt just like we were in the Deep South of America, save for the occasional apocalyptic thunderous downpour! Thankfully Ribstock was under cover, and a slickly organised well-thought out affair. On arrival you received a score card that you took to each of the stands to get stamped and claim your portion of (potentially)-award-winning ribs and the queues per stand were easily manageable, the longest being for Neil Rankin’s Korean BBQ mash-up chicken-fried pork spare ribs. Once your ribs had been consumed and your drinks claimed your scorecard was submitted into the ballot box to be included within the vote. And if eating ten portions of ribs wasn’t challenge enough, then you could also participate in the hot sauce challenge, and try ten fiery sauces.

So who got my vote? Well it was tricky to narrow it down to just three, let alone one, and the judging panel comprising of chef Angela Hartnett and the founding father of Tweat Up and restauranteur Jonathan Downey, had a tough job (as well as plenty of ribsauce!) on their hands. My personal favourites were Roti Chai‘s uniquely different tandoor-smoked ribs in a pineapple and red chilli marinade, served with a side of Bombay-mix studded rice and knocked back with a shot of cinnamon-infused whiskey. I loved Cattlegrid‘s authentic Texan BBQ thick-cut ribs that melted in the mouth and fell off the bone, generously basted with their Cattlegrid sauce and served with a pot of homemade coleslaw. Finally, the Asian ribs with a seaweed and sesame crunch from Carl Clarke/Rotary were incredible. Served with a fresh and spicy Asian slaw and chilli peanut praline I could have happily eaten ten of them alone! And here they are in all of their meaty glory!

Ribs from Rot Chai Street Kitchen headed up my Top Three!
The Carl Clarke/Rotary collab with Fire Blaze hot sauce from Chef Patty
Cattlegrid’s thick-cut baby backs .. and the wipe earned serious points in my book!
Prairie Fire BBQ’s apple & hickory smoked pork belly ribs fire-kissed in a Kansas sauce and served with cornbread and barbecue beans
Chef Tim Anderson, the man behind Nanban, served his Asian style spare ribs rubbed with brown sugar, sansho & shichimi and then mopped with soy sauce, rice vinegar, pickled ginger, awamori, & katsu sauce
Blue Boar Smokehouse served their chunky and juicy baby backs with a palate cleanser and …. a piggy mask!
Red Dog Saloon’s liplickingly good St. Louis pork ribs with a dry rub, smoked low & slow over hickory wood and glazed with house made Kansas City BBQ sauce. And that essential shot of bourbon! 
The Rib Man’s freshly made tortillas filled with slow-cooked baby back rib meat, apple, balsa mela & Holy Fuck sauce
I adored these! Chef Neil Rankin’s chicken fried pork spare ribs with Korean buffalo sauce and ginger & lime mayo. Insane!
BBQ Whiskey Beer’s offering …..
The winner of Ribstock 2013 though was BBQ Whiskey Beer‘s Mesquite-smoked black Angus beef ribs, served with a side of deliciously tangy pickles and a spicy Bloody Mary made with beef stock, that had an amazing depth of flavour. The hot sauce competition was won by none other than Street Food Godfather Mark Gevaux, also known as The Ribman who won with his Holy Fuck sauce which, whenever I consume it, gives me explosive hiccups its so damned hot! This was very closely followed by local lad Ben Kulchstein, known as Dalston Chillies, and you can find his sauce in a tantalising taste collaboration with Sorbitium Ices in their Roast White Chocolate and Raspberry Scotch Bonnet ice-cream. Which, after consuming a gut-bustingly spectacular amount of ribs was the perfect ending to a perfect Ribstock!

Sadly this weekend is the last weekend of Streetfeast in the Merchant Yard. Good news is that  Tweat Up are hosting their closing party on Saturday 29th June. For details visit their website www.streetfeast.com and make sure you follow Tweat Up on Twitter for details of their future events.

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