The Sharper Chef, Montreal: Nicholas Giambattisto, Liverpool House

Montreal’s “Sharper Chef” series is written by food and drink aficionados, and features prominent chefs, brewers, vintners and distillers, all of whom share some of their finest (and often most secret) culinary insights. In this installment, entremetier Nicholas “Two Shoes” Giambattisto of Liverpool House offers up the recipe for the restaurant’s famously hardy Liverpool Ribs.

The Rub:
2 tbs smoked paprika
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs Colman’s dry mustard
2 tbs pepper
½ tbs ground bay leaf

The Goods:
4 racks baby back ribs
1 bottle of Molson beer
1 liter of woodchips

The Sauce:
1 bottle (237ml) of cola
1 cup vinegar
½ cup cider vinegar
2 tbs molasses
1 tbs Sriracha sauce
1 tsp instant coffee
salt & pepper

No Brainer
Giambattisto is fondly referred to as “Nicky Two Shoes” by the rest of the brigade de cuisine at Liverpool House.The reason? He’s always wearing two shoes. You might think that the joke goes right over your head, but really it hits you square between the eyes. Liverpool House prides itself on this sort of blatancy: “Do I have to mention the meat’s fresh? Nah.” To start, Giambattisto suggests you get a “fat pig,” which surely you could find yourself given your resourcefulness, we’re sure. Otherwise, look into the milk-fed piglets over at Fermes St-Canut Farmes. Giambattisto vouches that they’re the best-tasting in the entire province, more so after applying the Liverpool House signature rub (Step 1). The combination of spices is a result of a “BBQ crusade” the owners undertook, where they happened upon this mix, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Personal Touch
Liverpool House is stacked with not only a jaw-droppingly attractive staff, but a handy one at that. For the next step — smoking the ribs for an hour (Step 2) — Giambattisto lets us in on an audacious detail that cannot go unsaid: They hack down their own apple trees in order to get the right-tasting woodchips (easily replaced by all-natural woodchips, if you like). Handier than that is the fact owner Fred Morin installed a handmade smoker  to ensure the ribs are done exactly how he wants them.

Steam and Sauce
Next, you want to steam the ribs for three and a half hours in beer, which is a considerably long time if you’re starving to death (they suggest Molson for the beer; we suppose Molson is the equivalent of cooking wine). The only safeguard is to make yourself useful while you wait, and we have just the busywork to do the trick: Mix up the spices and cola in a shallow saucepan and let it simmer for a half hour (Step 3). This keeps for about two weeks, so don’t hesitate to use it for the next wing night with the boys.

Finishing Touches
Straight-faced, but ever the joker, Giambattisto confides that the ribs are much like “getting kicked in the face by a donkey,” meaning, you’ll need some wine to wash ’em down. Our pick is a cabernet sauvignon by Liberty School — a dense and richly textured wine out of California. Couple your personal rack of ribs with some baked beans and cornbread for a Nicky Two Shoes–approved meal, which, as we’ve seen, is no joke at all.

Image courtesy of Su-Lin.

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