We love a good rack of ribs and we’re massive fans of the tasty ones at Ribs & Burgers, who kindly invited us to go behind the scenes in the kitchen at their Bondi store to learn how to make the perfect ribs and burgers from head chef Gareth along with the lovely bloggers from Passionate Mae, All You Do is Eat and 2 Hungry Guys.
After taking a swig of their delectable thick milkshakes (we had the Milo and Vanilla Malt), we started by watching Gareth prep ribs which have already been marinated and cooked sous vide for 8 hours in their own juices before they were thrown on the grill. Slow cooking the ribs makes the meat incredibly tender, while finishing them off with high heat on the grill gives the outside of the ribs that deliciously sticky caramelisation that takes it to the next level.
It was really quite eye opening to see all the little steps involved in prepping the ribs so that the customers at Ribs & Burgers can enjoy this rather messy dish to the max – from scraping off the tough “silver side” from under the beef ribs so diners don’t get distracted from the juicy meat by the chewy underside, to generous lashings of basting on the ribs while they cook for extra flavour. It’s the extra effort that the chefs at Ribs & Burgers take which make their ribs stand out from the pack.
Once they were cooked, we got to sample Gareth’s handiwork on the Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs and Lamb Ribs. The Beef and Pork Baby Back Ribs were both coated in basting and butter, while the richer Lamb Ribs were balanced out a little with a lemon thyme sauce instead of butter. The Lamb Ribs were amazingly tender and fell right off the bone, but could be a little too rich for some. The Beef and Pork Baby Back Ribs are a safer bet – both were done beautifully so that the meat was moist and succulent and the extra basting really enhanced the flavour of the meats.
After the ribs were done and dusted, we moved onto the burgers, which look deceptively simple to make, but of course there’s a bit of an art to building each burger just right. We’re lucky that Gareth shares some of the secrets with us (but not the secret 30 year old recipe for their tasty “pink sauce” which is slathered on the top half of the burger bun). One tip is to put the rings of Spanish onion with the grass fed beef mince patty so that you get a flavour explosion when you bite down on both together and another is to put the lettuce on the bottom half of the bun so that it sticks to the BBQ sauce drizzled on it and doesn’t fly everywhere.
As part of the masterclass, we got to try our hand at cooking our own burger patties on the grill – you need to watch them quite closely, flipping them in all sorts of directions every once in a while to get that nice criss-cross chargrilled pattern on the meat. Once they were done, we got to put our skills to the test by building our own Original burgers with the patties we had grilled – I’ll admit that mine wasn’t the most gorgeous looking one of the lot, but it tasted damn good! I was impressed by the juicy patty, which tasted a lot like a minced up steak, since they use a mix of nicer cuts of beef like the chuck blade and brisket for the patty and doesn’t compromise on the flavour by adding in any binding, keeping it 100% beef.
I’m glad that this South African chain has expanded to our shores and brought their fantastic selection of finger licking good ribs and burgers along with them. They’ve been making ribs and burgers for a long time overseas and it really shows in the quality of their dishes and their emphasis on “real ingredients” in all of their dishes definitely pays off in the flavour stakes.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Ribs & Burgers