My Top 10 Irish Dishes of 2018 #10
Tender and delicious slow smoked Beef Ribs at Bad Boys BBQ in Cork.
Last January, I took a trip to Cork to sample some BBQ joints I had heard about. Two of the ones I tried were turning out some decent meats on Southern Pride stainless steel smokers. But Bad Boys BBQ at 30 MacCurtain St. had an honest-to-goodness "stick burner" -- a giant steel smoker that burned logs and sent the hot smoke into a separate cooking chamber. Their giant Texas offset smoker was manufactured in Poland by Route 66 Grill.
Oddly, it seems that Bad Boys BBQ is best known for its hamburgers and that's what most customers were eating. Sadly, there wasn't any brisket or other smoked meat available for lunch, the manager told me, but then he threw me a curve ball--the daily special was beef ribs. My eyes widened and my stomach growled.
I had been searching all over Europe for real American-style BBQ, and I would have been happy with some decent pulled pork or a well-smoked chicken. So I was amazed to encounter this unique BBQ treat. Back in Texas, beef ribs are one of the trickiest items on a BBQ menu. You have to start with some well-marbled beef to begin with if you hope to end up with something worth eating. They can take 12 hours on the smoker to get anywhere near tender--but let them go too long and they get all dried out.
Amazingly, the beef ribs at Bad Boys BBQ were perfectly tender--the meat was not falling apart, but easy to shred with a fork. Every bite was moist and full of great smoke flavor. They came with sauce on the side and a basket of chips (of course). So far, the beef ribs at Bad Boys in Cork are the best barbecue dish I have eaten in Ireland.
UPDATE: Bad Boys BBQ has closed its MacCurtain St. location, but you can still find their Bad Boys BBQ Food Truck at festivals and events.