Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Salt & Pepper Beef Ribs
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo

After the Battle of Geonosis, the clones were hungry and decided to create a New Zealand-style luau feast, called a hangi. They butchered the carcasses of the reek, aklay and nexu used in the execution of Anakin, Obi-wan, and Padmé, as well as the orray, the pack animals used to pull the prisoner cart and as mounts for the Geonosians; many of the beasts had died in the battle. Everyone agreed it was a waste of meat to let the slaughtered animals simply wither and rot.

The soldier-clones lowered the big slabs and roasts into the hot pit to cook, but they had left the ribs of the animals behind. There was plenty of meat for all, and there was so little meat on this part of the wild beasts that they were deemed worthy only for a soup pot (which they didn't have on the dry, beseiged planet). Yoda, Mace Windu, and the remaining members of the Jedi Council deemed this waste a great shame, and set about slow-cooking the sinewy, boney muscle with a peppery rub. The result wasn't as tender as fillet steak of course, but it was lip-smacking and definitely chewable.

Where did the salt and pepper come from? Ever wonder what was in the utility belts the Jedi wore? Food capsules of course, which took the place of meals. But also salt, which was essential to most diets; pepper was not only a great condiment, but its preservative properties were valued by most cultures and it could be used as a form of currency if necessary. So the Jedi had plenty of salt and pepper for the rub, and in tasting the resulting ribs, they agreed it was enough — no other spices needed here!

  • ¼ cup coarse salt
  • ¼ cup coarse-cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup liquid smoke
  • side of ribs, about 6 lbs / 2.5 kg all together either cut the long way as "ribs" or crosscut — the latter cut is sometimes called "beef shortribs" or "korean beef ribs"
Mix together the salt and the pepper in a jar or bowl. Set aside.

Trim all but ¼-inch / ½ to 1 cm thick layer of fat off the meat-size of the ribs. You do not want to remove all the fat — some will be needed in the long cooking to keep the meat moist.

On the bone-side, you want to peel off the "membrane" or "silverskin" — this will allow the smoke and spices to penetrate the meat more easily, and will make the meat more chewable. Note that this "membrane" does not disintegrate on cooking, so it really should be removed in advance. Do this my inserting a thin knife under the membrane, then pulling it off. It will sometimes have a papery texture and tear — be sure you remove all of this "silverskin." After this step, use the tip of the knife to poke holes through the fat layer into the meat, so that the rub can get to the meat beneath the fat.

Massage the liquid smoke evenly into all surfaces of the meat. Use a bit more liquid smoke if you wish. Follow with the salt and pepper mixture while the surface of the meat is still moist. Cover fully and evenly, patting it down. Let the meat sit for a few minutes while you prepare the cooker.

The simplest cooker to use for this preparation is an electric roaster fitted with a rack for the ribs to sit on. Or cook in a covered roasting pan, again using a rack to keep the meat off the bottom and out of its drippings. You can also cook this over indirect heat over a charcoal grill. Be sure the ribs are on the rack in a single layer, not piled up on top of each other. Note: if you do not have a non-stick surface on your roasting pan, line the pan with foil for easier clean-up later.

Do not preheat the cooker; instead, place the prepared ribs on the rack, place in the cooker or pan and cover tightly. Set the heat to 225°F /110°C. You will have to check the temperature of the oven with a thermometer from time to time, because this is the low end of most oven's range of heating. Usually the heat is less reliable on the very high and very low ends of thte temperature range.

Cook for 6 hours or till the meat pulls away from the bone, the fat is browned, and the meat is tender. There is no need to baste the meat during the cooking process; because of the high salt content on the meat's surface, moisture will be attracted to the meat during cooking. In addition, you want a "crust" to form on the meat in the last part of cooking and basting will just wash away the spices off the surface.

Makes four servings.

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