On the Third Day: Fermented and Fried Pork Ribs


Korakot Suriya-arporn
Will Blunt
Cured and Fried Ribs, Pickled Papaya, and Peanut Sambal
Cured and Fried Ribs, Pickled Papaya, and Peanut Sambal

At Noodle & Pie in New Orleans, Chef Brian Armour leans on traditional Thai technique to make boldly flavored, deep-fried pork ribs. In a style similar to Thai naem, Armour rubs ribs with a coarse paste of cooked rice, garlic, and salt, and he leaves them to ferment in a curing chamber at 65°C and 50 percent humidity for three days. In the meantime, lactobacillales and yeasts feed on the rice, tenderize the meat, and leave the ribs with a subtle tang. “In Thai culture, they wrap meat in banana leaves,” says Armour, who cures them in slightly-more-HACCP-friendly vacuum bags. “Creating an airless environment inside a vacuum bag prevents the yeasts and bacteria from being able to multiply and potentially ruin the finished product.” At pick-up, Armour throws the ribs into a fryer and dresses them with pickled papaya and peanut sambal. The plated ribs are crispy and toothsome with layered flavor—thanks to Thai cookery and its adopted home in New Orleans.


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