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Why JJ Johnson Pairs Dark-Aged Rum With A Plate Of Fatty Ribs - Exclusive

Rum, JJ Johnson and ribs
Rum, JJ Johnson and ribs - Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

Before you is a plate of fatty beef ribs, and as delicious as these ribs are, you can't help but wonder if there's some way to cut through all that buttery fat with a drink. And not just any drink. You're craving a boozy one.

At the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest's Jerk Jam, we chatted about fatty ribs and the best drink to pair with them with chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author (of "The Simple Art of Rice") JJ Johnson. You might be surprised by Johnson's unique answer, which has nothing to do with red wine. "You can drink dark-aged rum with some type of fatty ribs," Johnson says, "like lamb ribs."

We dove deeper and asked how exactly he paired dark-aged rum with a plate of fatty lamb ribs. "I like to drink it on the rocks as a starter to the meal," he continues. "[It's] similar to champagne because it brightens up your palate."

Dark-aged rum tastes sweet and smoky and has just the right amount of oak tannins and acidity to cut through all the fat in the ribs. The reason is because the darker the rum, the older and more flavorful it is. Darker rum has more time to absorb the tannins from the oak barrels they're aged in. Rum and ribs are so iconic as a pairing that you'll often find rum in the sauce or marinade of some of the best barbecue ribs recipes.

Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts Of Meat You Should Be Grilling

Dark-Aged Rum Cuts Through The Fat In Fatty Ribs And Ribeyes

rum pouring into a glass
rum pouring into a glass - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

When JJ Johnson recommended starting a meal with dark-aged rum on the rocks, to us, this sounds like using dark-aged rum as an aperitif or a liquor served before a meal to cleanse the palate and excite one's appetite. Taking sips of dark-aged rum between bites of rich, buttery ribs can also help slice through the fat. We'd also like to think of dark-aged rum, with all its spices, as a digestif, like brandy or sherry, to help one wash down and digest all that fat and meat.

Aside from pairing dark rum with fatty ribs, Johnson adds, "... rum will go really well with ribeyes." To the chef, as long as the meat is red and fatty, the perfect drink pairing will always be dark-aged rum. Therefore, be sure to look through our recommended list of 15 popular rum brands, ranked, to pick out a quality dark-aged rum to pair your next plate of fatty ribs or ribeyes with.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.