St. Patrick's Day is celebrated all over the world every March 17th, and for many, it's a day to indulge in traditional Irish cuisine. We get it. Everyone love a tradition...especially one as rich in history as St. Patrick's day. This colorful holiday is beloved for its celebration of food and drink alike. Plus, it holds a special place in our hearts since it glorifies one of our favorite hobbies - drinking beer! Pair that with savory food, and you have yourself a recipe for a party. So why would we make such a slanderous statement about one of the most storied beer-friendly dishes in culinary history? We'll get to that. First lets talk about what corned beef is and why it's become the official food of St. Patrick's Day.
Corned Beef is a cut of meat from the cow that is typically taken from the pectoral muscles, or brisket. Although it's traditional to use the "flat", which is the thinner, leaner piece under the "point", both can be used, known as a whole brisket, or "packer". Brisket is known for being full of flavor and pull-apart tender when cooked right, but if not it can be like chewing on leather. Because Brisket is a highly over-used muscle group on an animal that size, it tends to be very tough on its own, which is why its critical to cook it low and slow to allow time for collagen and connective tissue to break down. Depending on the size of the cut, it can take between 10 and 18 hours to cook all the way through to the right tenderness. While corned beef and cabbage are often associated with this holiday, there's another option that's often overlooked - ribs.
Here are three reasons why ribs are a better choice than corned beef on St. Patrick's Day.
1. Ribs are more versatile than corned beef
One of the biggest reasons why ribs are a better choice than corned beef on St. Patrick's Day is their versatility. While corned beef is typically boiled and served with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, ribs can be cooked in a variety of ways and paired with a range of side dishes. For example, you could smoke your ribs for a smoky, flavorful taste and serve them with baked beans and coleslaw. Or, you could slow-cook them in the oven and serve them with mac and cheese and garlic bread. You could even grill them and serve them with a fresh green salad and grilled veggies.
Can't live without potatoes on St. Patrick's day? No problem. Just consider seasoning them to go with BBQ.
No matter how you choose to cook your ribs, you'll have a variety of options when it comes to pairing them with side dishes. This means you can customize your St. Patrick's Day meal to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
2. Ribs Have More Flavor Than Corned Beef
Another reason why ribs are a better choice than corned beef on St. Patrick's Day is that they're more flavorful than Corned Beef. Aside from the pickling spices and curing salts in Corned Beef, there isn't a whole lot else to write home about. Boiling meat is about the most boring way to prepare it, and certainly nowhere near the flavors that emerge from low and slow dry-rubbed ribs, especially when kissed with smoke on the grill.
Whether you decide to do them "nekid" Texas-style, slathered Memphis-style, or South Carolina-style with a homemade mustard-based BBQ sauce, you're sure to have a flavor-packed meal.
3. Ribs are a crowd-pleaser
Finally, ribs are a better choice than corned beef on St. Patrick's Day because they're a crowd-pleaser. While corned beef can be polarizing - some people love it, while others find it unappetizing - ribs are generally well-liked.
Ask half a dozen people what corned beef is and they probably won't be able to tell you. There's a reason for that. It's because corned beef is a polarizing dish due to it's distinct pickled flavor, containing spices that can be a turn off. Plus ribs are great left over, whereas corned beef pretty much has a singular use. Pull the rib meat and freeze it for some off-the-charts tasty sliders down the road!
Whether you're cooking for a group of friends or family members, ribs are sure to be a hit. They're a classic American food that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition, ribs are easy to serve and eat. Unlike corned beef, which requires a knife and fork, ribs can be eaten with your hands. This makes them a great choice for casual get-togethers and parties.
How to Cook Ribs for St. Patrick's Day
If you've decided to serve ribs for St. Patrick's Day, here are some tips for cooking them to perfection.
Choose the right cut
As mentioned earlier, pork baby back ribs are a leaner option than pork spare ribs. If you're looking for an even leaner option, you could choose beef back ribs, which are lower in fat than pork baby back ribs.
Prep the ribs
Before cooking your ribs, you'll want to remove the silver skin, which is a tough membrane that covers the bone side of the ribs. To do this, use a sharp knife to lift up a corner of the membrane, then grip it with a paper towel and pull it off.
Next, season your ribs with a dry rub or marinade of your choice. You could go for a classic barbecue rub or a spicy Cajun rub, or marinate your ribs in a sweet and tangy sauce. Allow the ribs to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight if possible, to infuse them with flavor.
Cook the ribs
There are many ways to cook ribs, but some of the most popular methods include grilling, smoking, and slow-cooking in the oven. If you're smoking your ribs, preheat your smoker to 225-250°F and place the ribs on the smoker grates. Smoke the ribs for 3-5 hours, depending on the temperature, basting with a mixture of apple juice and vinegar every hour or so, until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. If you're slow-cooking your ribs in the oven, preheat your oven to 275°F and place the ribs in a roasting pan or baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the ribs to brown and crisp up.
Serve the ribs
Once your ribs are cooked to perfection, it's time to serve them up! You could serve them with a classic side of coleslaw and baked beans, or get creative with your side dishes. Some ideas include:
Mac and cheese
Roasted sweet potatoes
Corn on the cob
Green salad with a vinaigrette dressing
Need more details? Try this killer rib recipe from amazingribs.com.
Don't forget the beer!
No St. Patty's Day celebration would be complete without a cold beer, and while we don't make a dry Irish stout like Guiness, we do have several options that'll pair really well with your meal! There are a variety of beers that pair well with many of the common flavors found in BBQ. The important thing to remember is that you want to pick a beer that balances the flavors. A beer with the exact same comparable flavors will just get lost. For example, you don’t want to pair a sweeter beer with a sweet BBQ sauce. Also, when it comes to the heaviness of the beer, you want to match it with the heaviness of the food. Light meats or seafood pair with lighter beers, while heavier meats pair better with heavier beers. Pork is going to be considered medium-heaviness meat. So, with more fat and a bolder flavor, you can slightly increase the heaviness with the beer pairing.
Best all-day beer at the grill: Tierra Madre Lager - Our 4.5% Mexican Lager is the perfect session beer for long hours tending the smoker. Authentic lager yeast and cold fermentation ensures it's thirst quenching, crisp & snappy.
Best beer with BBQ ribs: Heavy Cloud Hazy IPA - Remember the rules above? Match the heaviness, but choose opposite flavors. Heavy cloud has a nice full body to match the richness of the food, but a crisp citrus hoppiness that contrasts with the savory flavors of the ribs. Another option is the latest release in our rotating Hazy IPA Series - Project X.
Best beer after dinner or for dessert: 4Seasons Bourbon Barrel-aged - Our BBA 4Seasons program is the ideal aperitif. Featuring big, bold, dessert-like flavors, and and higher alcohol content for a warming sensation, skip the cake and ice cream and sip on a 4Seasons instead. You earned it.
So, while corned beef and cabbage may be a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish, ribs offer a more versatile and crowd-pleasing option. With a variety of cooking methods and side dish options, you can customize your ribs to suit your taste preferences. So, why not give ribs a try this St. Patrick's Day and impress your friends and family?
Still not convinced? No worries! Want to stick to tradition? We totally get it! Corned beef can be fantastic if done right. Apply the same beer pairing rules above to your favorite corned beef recipe and you really can't go wrong. You're here for the beer anyway, right?