If you're going to serve smokeless pork ribs in Kansas City, you better nail the dish. Well, chef Michael Smith had a huge bone thrown his way yesterday, when The New York Times opted to include a dish from Extra Virgin in a piece about the growing popularity of braising pork ribs.
And while we're still referred to as "barbecue country" in the article (as we should be), it's great to see some recognition that chefs here are just as likely as those on either coast to be pushing the envelope.
Even barbecue purists recognize the value of slow cooking. And the love extends both ways. While Smith does braise his ribs, he doesn't entirely forsake the art of smoking:
The most surprising example of braised ribs may well come from Extra Virgin in Kansas City, Mo. "I respect the local barbecue tradition so much, I would never want to compete with it," said Michael Smith, the chef and an owner. Instead, he sears baby backs on the restaurant's wood-burning grill for a few minutes to lay on a light smoke flavor before gently braising them in the oven for three to four hours in a Peruvian-inspired glaze made with guava marmalade, citrus juice, coffee beans and fiery aji amarillo chilies. "In this part of the world, people like their ribs sweet and sticky," he said.
Appearing in the pages of The New York Times is getting to be an annual tradition for Extra Virgin and Smith. The restaurant was part of an article on what to do over the course of 36 hours in Kansas City, written last May.