Give us Libertine or give us dea– crap, we already used that pun, didn’t we?

Sometimes it’s unbelievably difficult to choose a dinner destination. Every family has their own method of narrowing it down; some genius even made a wheel you can use to leave it up to chance. As for SPAK — especially with a massive to-dine list like ours — we have to be pretty arbitrary with our decision-making sometimes.

This time, it came down to menu size. Libertine’s is huge! Well, not like neighborhood-Chinese-restaurant-“I’ll have the number #1,376” huge. Still, compared to other restaurants of its caliber, them’s some pickins. As if selecting the restaurant wasn’t difficult enough, our appetizer was a tough choice. AK sort of wanted the Bone Marrow Toast (it had her at “onion jam”), but we ultimately decided on the Steak Tartare.

Steak tartare with ginger, nori, and a quail egg.

Steak tartare with ginger, nori, and a quail egg.

So squishy. So goopy. Once the quail egg “eggs” all over everything else, it gets squishier and goopier without drowning, adding wonderfully to the savor of it all. Spread some on the french bread served with it, garnish with a shroom and some nori, and you’re gold.

Speaking of shrooms: it’s tough to resist a stuffed one, especially if it happens to be stuffed with spinach and feta. You should know by now that mushrooms and onions are some of our middle names (SPAKtholomew Mushroom Onion Garlic Willsnack, at your service!) so it must not be a surprise that for our sides we chose Stuffed Mushrooms and also Spring Onions with tajin.

Mushrooms stuffed with feta and spinach!

Mushrooms stuffed with feta and spinach! The powder-looking stuff scattered about is actually just part of the plate.

Spring onions, charred, with lime and tajin powder.

Spring onions, charred, with lime and tajin powder. 

AK burned her mouth on the mushrooms. It was worth it.

You’ve seen the menu. How could we possibly choose our entrees when it all sounds so delicious? Well, we managed. It was tough and we might never be the same, but we did it. SP went for the Bacon Chop. Admittedly, he mostly picked it because on the way into the restaurant there’s a quote written on the wall from a reviewer calling it the best pork chop in the Twin Cities. IT WAS.

Bacon chop!

Bacon chop! And onion ring! And kale!

Pork chops are a dangerous food to feature. You usually get critics who talk about dryness and toughness. However, Libertine’s defies the odds. This wasn’t just the greatest pork chop in the Twin Cities — it was the greatest pork chop ever. It was so moist throughout, and left a huge puddle of juice all over the plate. Along the edge is a thick layer of fat that tasted exactly like perfectly cooked bacon. By the end, SP was picking up the bone with his fingers and gnawing at it, trying to find every last bit of meat. Ain’t no shame in it.

Oh, and the onion ring was pretty good, too.

AK was overwhelmed by all the enticing beef and lamb options, and thereby decided to go for some chicken. Jamaican Jerk chicken, to be exact!

1/2 Jerk chicken, flavored with scotch bonnet, pimento, and garlic. Also featuring the return of the onion ring.

1/2 Jerk chicken, flavored with scotch bonnet, pimento, and garlic. Also featuring the return of the onion ring.

If Libertine can keep a pork chop juicy, you can only imagine the state of their chicken. The picture almost captures the depth of the puddle on the plate. And the seasonings… oh good lord, the seasonings. AK isn’t that fond of seasonings that are crumbly and dry and just kind of sitting atop the meat. The rub on this chicken practically melted into the skin, leaving a sort of paste that built and built in spicy heat with every bite. Even the leftovers were amazing!

Are we, SPAK, the sort of people who just get one dessert? Absolutely not! Of all the decisions involved in our Libertine adventure, dessert was the easiest. PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich and a Smoked Chocolate Tart, coming right up!

Smoked chocolate tart

Smoked chocolate tart & bourbon caramel ice cream

PB&J ice cream sandwich

PB&J ice cream sandwich 

When it comes to the tart, it’s this super deep chocolate, like a pudding, inside of a crisp wafer-y chocolate shell. When you break down the first tart wall it starts oozing, so you hasten to scoop up whatever you can with a spoon. But it’s so rich, you have to take it slow. In the very center there is a gooey caramel that is salty sweet. It’s kind of confusing when you bite into it at first, because you expect solid chocolate all the way through, but it’s offset by an almost BBQ-quality saltiness with an amazing aftertaste. There is a warmth of flavor without any actual heat. We don’t even know what to say about the ice cream except that it was a perfect match.

Have you ever eaten an Uncrustable? SP makes fun of AK for liking to eat them frozen, and the PB&J ice cream sandwich was basically a frozen-Uncrustable-lover’s dream come true. It’s pretty much two layers of sponge cake with one thin (maybe a quarter inch?) layer each of peanut butter and blackberry ice cream in the center. Very, very, VERY frozen ice cream that you need to hack through for the first bite. That is, unless you’re willing to wait for it to melt a little. We (or maybe just AK) were not willing to wait. The spread of jam below and the berries on top were a tart and lovely pair for the sweet and airy cake.

This one’s a do-over! There is much menu to explore, and explore it we shall.

SPAK

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I like this place a waffle lot

SP here, for a quick write-up about an amazing spot just north of the University of Minnesota: Black Coffee and Waffle Bar. I went here with a coworker before helping out with a “camp” at the U, and it blew my mind. I couldn’t think about anything else for the rest of the day.

To me, there’s a holy trio of breakfast foods: french toast, pancakes, and waffles. Personally, I believe that french toast is one of the greatest foods of all time, and the best among the three. Pancakes and waffles are locked in an eternal battle for supremacy. Sometimes pancakes win, and sometimes waffles.

Black Coffee and Waffle is aptly named because those are essentially the two items on the menu. 7am-9pm every day – coffee and waffles. They have a few bakery items, but you know what you’re getting into when you walk in the door. I can’t speak much to the coffee because I am not a connoisseur, not even much of a fan. But waffles are my domain.

Among the waffle choices are sweet and savory options. Now, if you’re like a couple of my [crazy] friends, you’re not a fan of sweet foods for breakfast, so you might opt for the ham and swiss waffle: a waffle-sized slice of ham with melted swiss over it. Hearty and tasty for the meat-eater. If you’re like me, anything that has the word “banana” becomes immediately more attractive. This time around, I opted for the Banana Nut waffle, with whipped cream, walnuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It tastes like a banana nut bread that just got pressed into a waffle.

I fell into a tasty ring of bananas

I fell into a tasty ring of bananas

A great waffle has an exterior crunch that is unique to wafflekind. The interior is super fluffy but slightly chewy in order to feel substantial. It’s almost like a french fry, in a way. And unlike the french fry, the Belgian waffle does have its origins in its namesake country. It’s all a great combination.

Also, I bought AK a waffle maker a couple weeks ago. Maybe she’ll make some of these at home. But in the meantime, I’ll definitely be back to Black Coffee and Waffle Bar.

SP

Pizza! L-O-L-A, Lola!

It may be cliche to go to restaurants on shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but there is a reason many of these places get featured on those shows. The food is great, the atmosphere rules, or it just has an aura of hype surrounding it. Pizzeria Lola is one of the Triple D Hall-of-Famers in Minneapolis that creates funky fusion worth checking out. Not only that, but one of SP‘s friends works there.

Alright, so a Korean woman moves to Minnesota and decides that she loves pizza so much she’ll make a restaurant and name it after her dog. Works for us.

We started off by ordering some of Lola’s delicious roasted cauliflower. It’s slightly sour, kissed by the citrus of lemon juice, but with a kick of chili pepper rings. Eat your vegetables!

The other starter we picked was the meatballs to share around the table. Any place that has a kind of Italian red sauce should have meatballs to show you they mean business. And boy does Lola mean business. These meatballs come out in a baked dish overflowing with sauce and parmesan cheese, and served alongside some crostini to balance the chew with some crunch. The meatballs are so tender that they crumple when they reach your tongue. So you take a crostino, a chunk of a meatball (or the whole thing at once, we won’t judge) and scoop some extra sauce and cheese before placing it carefully in your mouth. It’ll get on your shirt, but instead of using your napkin, you’ll unconsciously lean over, pick up your shirt, and lick it off. Awesome meatballs.

There will be plenty of extra sauce to scoop on. Don't let it go to waste!

There will be plenty of extra sauce to scoop on. Don’t let it go to waste!

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Let’s get to the pies, shall we? The first feature here is a favorite on the menu called The Xerxes, named after the street on which the restaurant stands, and has a flavor that takes after the namesake’s downfall (Greek, that is). Spinach, feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives, and almonds top this Mediterranean style flatbread. No red sauce here? Blasphemy! Tasty, tasty blasphemy.

Tonight we dine in Minneapolis!

Tonight we dine in Minneapolis!

One with more fusion style is the Lady Zaza, one of chef Ann Kim’s Korean-inspired pizzas. Who puts kimchi on a pizza?! Lola does. Red sauce, Korean sausage, spicy serrano peppers (one of SP‘s favorite for use in cooking), scallions, sesame seeds, and this crazy glaze that reminds you of bulgogi with elements of soy and chili paste. In each bite, you get some of the soft chew of baked kimchi (which normally is a strong pickly crunch) and spicy sausage with the scallions on top. It’s a remarkable foray into mixing styles of two very different cuisines.

This pizza will kim-cheer you up!

This pizza will kim-cheer you up!

Lack of red sauce is hardly blasphemy compared to one of SP‘s favorite pizzas on the menu and AK now agrees: The Marinara, which has no cheese. Instead, you get the robust red sauce with olive oil, oregano, and garlic confit. The best trick is to order this pie with extra garlic. For us, olive oil will never be overrated. It brings out so much in Italian cooking that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. And even without cheese, the soft, mushy garlic makes up for that missing flavor. Garlic is king on this amazing pizza.

All hail King Garlic!

All hail King Garlic!

Now for a little bit of dessert. How about some ice cream with olive oil?

Sweet and Salty.

Sweet and Salty.

SP

Whose house?! Icehouse!

We’ve been dormant! Mostly because we’re moving. Part of this moving business includes getting the new kitchen remodeled (into an extra-new SUPERKITCHEN!) which, of course, means more excuses to go out to eat! Yay. This time, we chose Icehouse. It’s kind of toward uptown Minneapolis, but isn’t that not technically uptown? It’s south of downtown. The neighborhood might be called Whittier but also we might have made that up. How’s this: Icehouse is on the Eat Street bit of Nicollet.

And the inside is real purty. Photo credit: heavytable.com

SP fancied himself a cocktail and decided to forego his usual citrus-focused drink choices for what Icehouse has dubbed the “Little Richard,” which is described on the menu as “zesty jazzberry phosphate rum-punch with vanilla cream foam.” Slightly obscure Mary Poppins references aside, it looked like this:

"HOOOOOO! Shut up." - Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

“HOOOOOO! Shut up.” – Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

As a bonus, it makes your burps taste like Jolly Ranchers!

We, as a SPAKtastic unit, love few things more than we love mushrooms, onion, and garlic (in any configuration or combination, really). That said, it of course follows that we ordered the Cast Iron Mushrooms as a starter. It’s a gorgeous varied heap of squishy shroomy goodness, topped with goopy burrata cheese. According to the internet, “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian; hopefully that’s an effective indication of how perfect the texture is. You’d think that exquisite cheesy mushrooms in a cast iron dish (as promised!) would be enough, but it also comes with a side of crostini AND roasted garlic in a sort of oily paste form. No onions to be found in this dish, but that’s not a letdown. Just imagine: delicately grasping a crostino between your thumb and forefinger; trying to contain yourself as you use your butter knife to scoop up some garlic paste and gingerly spread it on the roasty toasty bread; fumbling with your fork to gather up enough mushrooms to adequately adorn the layer of pure garlicky heaven; and, finally… the euphoric crunch resonating throughout your skull as the savory symphony plays on over your tastebuds.

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Pure fungal heaven.

SP has spent a couple months coveting the Icehouse Burger from afar, ever since he saw it in a local magazine. One of the things that makes it special is the option of adding a slab of foie gras to it, and we saw to it that this opportunity was seized. Some burgers are the type you cannot possibly avoid getting all over you, and the Icehouse Burger is no exception. Rather than excess ketchup and mustard, what drips down your arm is a veritable stream of fatty duck and even fattier beef juices — plus, a truffle demi-glace, which was poured over the meat as it was served. When you bite into it, it’s like biting into a meat cloud bursting with rain-juice.

“So good. There were onions, it was buttery, sweet, salty, and… **indistinct satisfied muttering**… The fries were so good, too. Restaurant-style, hand-cut fries. They know what they’re doing. **more muttering** Crispy outside, fluffy inside, salted correctly. No way they’d ever let anything sit under a warmer to get soggy and stale. The tomato aioli that came with the fries was nice and smoky. **a sound that might be characterized most closely with “nnnnph”** A burger you won’t regret.” – SP, in a burger-induced haze

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

Meanwhile, across the table, AK chowed down on some Hanger Steak. It arrived on a bed of greens and wild mushrooms with sherry, topped with veal sweetbreads, and a croquetta on the side. Our server explained that the steak is served at a default of medium to medium-well as a result of being cooked sous-vide, which usually isn’t preferred (medium rare is the SPAK way), but the meat came out a beautiful, dark, and ultimately irresistible pink. It was tender, juicy, flavorful, and everything it should have been. It’s unclear what exactly was in this particular croquetta, but whatever it was, it was awesome. The insides were moist and salty, while the outside had a lovely crunch. The thought of what goes into sweetbreads usually gets us both feeling a little skeevy, but once you can get past the inherent rubberyness, the taste is rich and enjoyable. Neither of us remember what the sauce on the plate was, but it paired nicely with any of the other items in the dish. Some kind of remoulade, maybe?

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Lest we forget the sides. This time around we decided to get two to share: 1) Beer Battered Eggplant, and 2) Bacon, Egg, & Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin'

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin’

The batter didn’t taste that beerish, but not in a bad way. Nor in a way that makes you feel cheated. It was a very light batter that melts in your mouth without ever separating from the eggplant treasure within. The eggplant doesn’t come out of the battering/frying process too squishy or overly salty, either. Yum!

2015-07-16 19.03.35

The mac & cheese is one of the items we were most looking forward to but, sadly, also the one the ended up being our least favorite. Not because it was bad! It was very good! But something always has to place last. If you tend to enjoy white cheddar mac & cheese with thinner and not so much of the in-your-face types of thick melty cheese, this one is perfect for you. The bacon pervades the dish pleasantly, and the goo from the poached egg on top is a welcome addition (eggs over easy is a SPAK breakfast favorite!). Lastly, the smattering of roasted tomato and rosemary was a very present taste without being too pungent.

And then… there was dessert. We love chocolate. We love chocolate so much that we got both of the chocolate-centric desserts available to us: the Dark Chocolate Torte, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Each came with either a sorbet or ice cream, the freshness of which managed to dampen the heavy richness of all the chocolate. We’ll let them speak for themselves:

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds. Plus, some sort of vaguely brown butter-esque sauce.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, I could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle. But maybe that was just the ganache.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, we could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle.

We’re full.

AK

I Nonni? No, YOU Nonni.

One of my (SP) favorite best-kept-secret kind of restaurants is a pair of Italian restaurants in Lilydale, Buon Giorno pasta bar and Osteria I Nonni. While Buon Giorno provides an amazing Italian marketplace along with deli and pasta bar, the fancy stuff is left to I Nonni. It’s the kind of place that has won readers’ choice awards for its food, its wine list, and its atmosphere with high vaulted ceilings and Italian decor.

The food is where I think I Nonni really shines. (Side note: The wine is still great, with a huge list of amazing Italian wines; however, AK and I are not particularly wine drinkers). We started ourselves out with some Calamari Fritti and Arancini. Most Italian places will have some kind of calamari, but I Nonni hits an immediate homerun with soft, buttery squid in the most light batter for the best kind of crunch. Salty perfection. Arancini are essentially fried risotto balls served in a meaty ragu. It’s super good.

Arancini. One of those moments where we were not even quick enough to get a picture of the whole dish.

Arancini. One of those moments where we were not even quick enough to get a picture of the whole dish.

This is where the options come in: I Nonni, as many classy restaurants do, has a tasting menu option where you pick your antipasti (mostly salads), primi piatti, and secondi. AK had an amazing caprese, which can really make or break an Italian restaurant. Sweet tuscan oil and basil over local tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with just a tinge of saltiness. I ordered the lonza di maiale salad: thin-sliced pork loin with greens, apples, cherries, and onions. Oh, and a handful of lovely shredded parmigiano on top. All of the sweetness and saltiness just made this a salad that goes above and beyond.

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese

Lonza di Maiale

Lonza di Maiale

At this point, we probably could have gone home and been happy with our lovely salads. But why would we, when the pasta was about to show up? I ordered my favorite pasta at I Nonni, the gnocchi alla sorrentina. This gnocchi is not that chewy gross stuff that you thaw from the freezer. These are pockets of potato that explode flavor. You can chew them using just your gums; that’s how tender they are. Throw in some chunks of mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and parmigiano, and you’ve got a world-class pasta. AK ordered the rigatoncini alla gricia, made with house-cured pancetta, onion, tomato, arugula, and pecorino. The crumbliness of the pecorino just soaks into the pasta sauce and boosts the boldness of the dish.

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Rigatoncini alla Gricia

Rigatoncini alla Gricia

Now we are really in deep. We had our pasta — good for us, let’s be done, right? Instead we head for our entrees. And I can’t glow enough about this part. AK‘s dinner was the costoletta di maiale, a green peppercorn-breadcrumb crusted fried pork chop, served over incredible marsala grilled onions and a saffron risoto. The salty, peppery fried crust and that super moist pork, mixed with the sweetness of the onions made this a dish I was jealous of all night. I just want you to bask in this for a bit.

Costoletta di Maiale

Costoletta di Maiale

Right? Well I tried to beat that with my spuntature, a balsamic braised beef short rib with a potato-parmigiano puree, served with pancetta brussels sprouts. This meat is more tender than you can possibly imagine. As though a pot roast just came out of the oven. Creamy potatoes emphasized just how meaty this dish is.

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SPom and SPad were with us and each got some great food. SPom got the Ippoglosso, a shrimp/potato crusted alaskan halibut. I have never in my life had halibut this good. It was insane. SPad got bucatini as his dinner entree. Bucatini is an interesting pasta. It’s not one you can really slurp, as its straw-like shape lends itself better to sucking something through it. But it’s served with guanciale, garlic, chiles, you know the drill.

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We’re full. We’re looking at our plates feeling defeated. But this is not the kind of restaurant to skip dessert. We get three: carrot cake, a chocolate gianduja torta, and “figgy toffee pudding.” Let’s do the rundown.

Carrot cake. Beautiful carrot cake. A dessert that is so high on my list I can never pass it up. But this is the Italian twist. Candied carrot sits on top of this slice of cake that has a thick 1″ layer of vanilla bean mascarpone cheese inside. Cream cheese frosting? No. Mascarpone. This thing is warm and gooey and each bite gets better and better.

Carrot cake, carrot cake, come on and carrot caaake

Carrot cake, carrot cake, come on and carrot caaake

A chocolate torta huh? Yes. Flourless chocolate cake means density like none other (I’d like to point out that SPad, a former baker, makes one of the best flourless chocolate cakes in the world). But still, it somehow has enough air to breathe. Olive oil brings out the flavor of the chocolate, and with some hazelnuts inside and out, you’ve got a great cake.

What's dessert without chocolate?

What’s dessert without chocolate?

Figgy Toffee Pudding. The staple for our dinners at I Nonni. Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of those desserts that is a rare find on pub menus that always turns heads. But when you make it with calimyrna figs, english toffee, caramel, and lava salt, you unleash this super goopy, impossibly-textured dessert that melts your heart. If I could eat this condensed little puddingy cake every day, I’d die a very large, very happy man.

I wish you could be smelling this with me.

I wish you could be smelling this with me.

Until next time, I Nonni. Don’t ever change.

SP

P.S. Happy Anniversary, SPom & SPad!

Ice cream is great! Local ice cream is better.

This evening we went for a walk! The best part of the walk was the precious time spent together that we were going for ICE CREAM! Here in St. Paul’s North End, we’re fortunate enough to have two locally-run (and tasty!) frozen treat spots pretty dang close together: Dar’s Double Scoop, and Conny’s Creamy Cone.

Conny’s Creamy Cone

Conny’s is housed in a tiny little corner shopfront that screams “summer Americana.” With limited outdoor seating and a walk-up window, this is a March-October seasonal establishment. That just gives us all winter long to daydream about grabbing some creamy goodness and walking just a block or two over to Lake Como! It’s easy to make mediocre soft-serve, but Conny’s kills it with everything they do. They’ve got malts, they’ve got sundaes, they’ve got flurries — and we’ve personally never had it, but they’ve got non-dessert foods, too! It’s extra creamy, flavorful, and they don’t skimp on the fresh toppings.

Banana Cream Pie Flurry, and Turtle Sundae.

Banana Cream Pie Flurry, and Turtle Sundae.

One thing that Dar’s has on Conny’s is that it’s open year-round. It, like Conny’s, also serves non-dessert food… but, like Conny’s, we haven’t had any yet! Dar’s doesn’t do soft-serve, but that’s alright with us. There are 32+ flavors to choose from, and the usual cake cone/waffle cone/cup options. This is the kind of ice cream that doesn’t need toppings. A “small” gets you two healthy, firm, perfectly cold scoops that don’t melt all over the place. Plus, like all the best ice cream places, there’s a malted milk ball at the bottom of every waffle cone! Speaking of malt, the malts are as fantastic as you’d expect, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. We’ve gotta try that pizza sometime…

SP's Bear Creek Caramel/Zanzibar Chocolate in a waffle cone

SP’s Bear Creek Caramel/Zanzibar Chocolate in a waffle cone

AK is partial to cake cones. Maple Nut on the bottom, Rocky Road on top!

AK is partial to cake cones. Maple Nut on the bottom, Rocky Road on top!

Thanks for bein’ around, Con-Dar’s!

SPAK

Our Declaration of Rib-Dependence

Well, imaginary blog audience (blogdience?)… we, SPAK, have made a terrible mistake. The two of us try to be thorough planners, but this one just sneaked by us. Surely it’ll be difficult to forgive, considering that we’ve violated your trust, but hopefully you’ll find it in your hearts and grant us this one trespass:

We accidentally celebrated a food holiday 6 months before the start of our food holiday challenge.

It really was an accident! While trying to determine what to eat with the family on 4th of July weekend, SP thought it would be a great time for ribs. So, the plans went into motion: St. Louis-style pork ribs, garlicky roasted Brussels sprouts, barbecue baked beans, homemade apple sauce, and coleslaw, all prepared lovingly by SPom and SPad (with SP‘s signature BBQ sauce). So it turns out, it’s not just National Barbecued Spare Ribs Day — it’s also National Grilling Month and National Baked Bean Month.

SPad picked up the St. Louis-style spare ribs from Von Hanson’s Meats. The St. Louis style means removing the sternum and excess cartilage to make a more rectangular shaped rib rack. This is ideal because it makes a uniformly sized, deliciously meaty rib. The dry rub is made from a mess of brown sugar and paprika with all sorts of special spices, most of which also comprise the dry ingredients of SP‘s BBQ sauce. We can’t reveal ALL the secrets of SPad‘s ribs, but let’s just say there’s a bottle of beer involved. Wiiiink.

Racks on racks.

Racks on racks.

We are primed and ready to scale Meat Mountain.

We are primed and ready to scale Meat Mountain.

Rib, meet sauce.

Rib, meet sauce.

Lots of people talk about how the best BBQ should be consumed without sauce. Those people are usually Texans. From Missouri northward, sauce is boss. A few years ago, SP spent his summer experimenting with various recipes looking for what he thought were the best elements of a masterful barbecue sauce. We don’t want to offend anybody with strong sauce convictions, but SP‘s favorite kind of barbecue sauce is not mustardy or watery or vinegary. It’s ketchup-based, sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy. AK tends to agree. Essentially, it’s a cross between southern and midwestern flavors.

Pronounced "sowse."

Here’s the audio: glub glub glub glub. Also pictured: sprout.

Lastly but not leastly, some barbecue chicken for your consideration:

Chicken lickin'.

Chicken lickin’.

Later, you better believe we’re finally getting to those Colossal Brownie Sundae leftovers. Merry Independence to all, and to all a good night!

SPAK