Top Ten Dishes 2011 #1: Pork Ribs at Salume Beddu

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I'm counting down my ten favorite dishes from the restaurants that I reviewed in 2011. Look for a slideshow featuring most of the winners on Wednesday, December 28.

From left to right are Cary Exler and Salume Beddu co-owners Ben Poremba and Mark Sanfilippo. - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • From left to right are Cary Exler and Salume Beddu co-owners Ben Poremba and Mark Sanfilippo.
An occasional special at the acclaimed south city salumeria, which began serving lunch this spring, these ribs are the most beguiling -- and delicious -- thing I ate all year. The dish begins with a dry rub called ras-el-hanout, a Moroccan blend of more than twenty different, warming spices; ginger, mace, clove, nutmeg, cardamom and even a little ground-up rose petal among them. After curing, the ribs are steamed at low temperature for three to four hours and then, when you order them, given a quick charring. The flavor is almost indescribable. An initial hit of olive oil and lemon slices through the browned exterior, then gives way to the complexity of the ras-el-hanout, whose warmth and pungency fills out the pork's natural blend of savor and sweetness. The meat is so tender that if you didn't know, you might assume it had cooked low and slow over smoldering wood.

- from "Grand Salami" May 26, 2011

Salume Beddu (3467 Hampton Avenue; 314-353-3100)

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