State Bird Provisions’ Pork Ribs Are So Easy Even You Can Make ‘Em
From San Francisco’s top kitchen to yours
“A choreographed dance on the edge of a cliff.”
That’s how Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski describe operations at State Bird Provisions, the couple’s decidedly chaotic, dim sum-style restaurant in the Fillmore District, which since opening in 2013 has notched a Michelin Star, a James Beard Award and a legion of eager eaters.
And now, they’re ready to share their secrets.
Brioza and Krasinksi’s new cookbook, State Bird Provisions, dropped last week, and the volume is a testament to the couple’s long, improbable, and still evolving journey — from caterers waiting to bid on a proper space of their own, to Bay Area culinary heroes.
All in a kitchen where, as Brioza puts it, “rabbit holes are frequently dug and explored.”
Those holes, while adventurous, aren’t quite as perilous as they may seem, if a home chef is willing to go for it. It’s the same ethos Stuart and Nicole applied to the early days of SBP, when customers rattled by the restaurant’s heavy on carts, light on menus credo, slowly warmed to the idea of taking a risk.
The book’s release is the latest successful endeavor for Brioza and Krasinski, who responded admirably to October’s devastating North Bay Fires, launching SF Fights Fire alongside several other top-line S.F. chefs.
The pages offer savory breaded quail, (the titular recipe), deep-fried fish parts, oysters with kraut, pancakes with beef tongue, and three-hundred pages of other creations, in addition to the recipe posted below, a simple prescription for sophisticated ribs that you have to try.
These ribs might make a mess, but they don’t have time to mess around. “For a restaurant dish,” Brioza and Krasinski write, “these ribs are remarkably friendly to the home cook, with approximately zero concessions to convenience.” Whatever you do, don’t skip the final touch of scallions and schichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice that will add some heat.
Pork Ribs Glazed In Their Own Juices
Serves 6 to 8 people
2 equal-size racks pork spare ribs (2 to 2½ pounds each), preferably St. Louis cut
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 medium garlic cloves; 4 thinly sliced, 1 smashed and peeled
2 lemons, top and bottom trimmed, cut into ¼-inch rounds, plus 1½ Tbsp lemon juice, or as needed
1 large rosemary sprig, leaves only, plus 1 small sprig, torn in half
1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp schichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice)
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
On a work surface, lay out a sheet of aluminum foil that is about 4 inches longer than the rib racks, then lay a piece of parchment paper that’s about 3 inches longer than the racks in the center of the foil.
Season the ribs racks on both sides with the salt and pepper. Lay one rack, meaty side down, on the parchment paper. Scatter the sliced garlic on the rack, tile it with the lemon rounds, and scatter on the rosemary leaves. Lay the other rack, meaty side up, on top of the first rack.
Wrap the racks snugly in the parchment, tucking the short sides under to create a neat package. Next, do the same with the aluminum foil, sealing the edges well to make sure no steam or juices escape during the cooking process.
Put the foil package on a baking sheet and bake until the meat is very tender but not falling off the bone, about 2 hours, rotating once halfway through. Remove from the oven and let the ribs rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Open the package and scrape out and discard the lemon, garlic and rosemary. Carefully transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Pour the juices from the package into a small saucepan. Do not skim the fat. Add the smashed garlic and torn rosemary sprig to the saucepan, set over high heat, and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan, let come to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, just until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. (You can cover and set aside for up to 3 hours. Re-warm in a small saucepan over low heat until it comes to a simmer, then remove from the heat). Stir in the lemon juice (to taste), season with salt, and then strain the glaze through a fine-mesh sieve into a mixing bowl, discarding the solids.
Prepare a grill (or preheat a grill pan or wide heavy skillet) to cook over high heat. Oil the grill grates (or add enough oil to the grill pan or skillet to very thinly cover the surface). Add the ribs and grill, turning occasionally, until they’re browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes.
As the ribs are browned, brush them generously with the glaze. Transfer the ribs to a platter and sprinkle with the shichimi togarashi and scallions. Serve right away.
Reprinted with permission from State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski with JJ Goode, copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography credit: Ed Anderson © 2017
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