It was the 1920’s. The place, Chicago, Illinois. Francois and Antoinette Pope made they mark on the culinary scene first with the Antoinette Pope School of Fancy Cookery. Then came the television show hosted by the couple. Finally, their cookbook, The Antoinette Pope School Cookbook. I would never have known about any of this had one of the Pope family members not presented me with a copy of the cookbook. The more I read about the Pope’s, (on line there are even blogs about the cooking duo with comments by the many people who graduated from their school or who have called the cookbook their “go-to” cooking bible), the more fascinated I became with their story. The Crunchy Top Butter Cake is one of the many delightful recipes from an American heritage cookbook that elevated the art of cooking to “Fancy Cookery.”
brown sugar, firmly packed
I have no idea if it’s Kansas City, Carolina, Texas, Memphis or St. Louis style. All I know is that this dry rub is magic dust on a rib. Just in time for your summer menus, this Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs recipe is the perfect seasoning for a meaty slab of pork or beef ribs, finished off with just a light brushing of barbecue sauce. So let’s tackle cooking first. Slow and low. It’s the only way to keep those juices moistening the meat. For the rub, don’t overpower. Generally, whatever sticks to the slab should give you just the right amount of flavor. And because BBQ sauce is loaded with sugar or honey which can burn, save it for the last 10-15 minutes, and then just lightly coat it on the slab at the end of the cooking process. You want the flavor of the rub to come through. Now for the rub. It’s an incredibly simple formula I found in an old paperback cookbook called Tasty Vittles. This rub is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, hot and salty. You can add a slightly citrusy kick if you’re using something like a chili lime sea salt, or burn it up big time with various chili powders. I’ve been on a quest for a good basic rub that I can make ahead, keep it in a jar in the pantry, and shake out onto a slab whenever I’m craving ribs, and this is it! Start with the basic rub and then add your own special touches using some of your favorite herbs and spices, a little at a time, until you make it your own. Rub some ribs and reap the rewards this summer!