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Saturday, May 25, 2013



I never expected to have Bourbon Glazed Pork Ribs for breakfast. But I had to. You see, I’d been thinking about that take-home container in the refrigerator when I went to bed the night before, and it was the first thing I thought of in the morning. Why? Because, it held what remained of my dinner at Maxwell’sSpeakeasy and Lounge in Tacoma— namely, the best ribs I’ve ever tasted in my life. In my opinion, they’re probably the best in the world.
I first learned of this dish during my interview with Chef Hudson Slater about the new spring menu, back in April and immediately put them on my “must try”list. Don’t picture typical barbequed ribs.Think instead of savory, slow cooked comfort food, although they do come with a tangy Scotch bourbon and beer barbeque sauce on the side.
“We do a wet, then dry, rub on the ribs and make sure all of the seasonings are worked into the meat,” the chef told me. “We then smoke them in house and cook the ribs covered, low and slow, for many hours. It is a labor of love, but well worth it

After giving a portion to my husband, the slaw is revealed.
Yes, indeed. I never expected to have any leftovers at all, once I tasted the first bite. Dark and slightly crispy on the outside, the ribs greeted me with a mouthwatering aroma of smokiness and came as two racks, each conveniently pre-cut in half. They covered my plate, with tiny oven browned new potatoes and a heap of Maxwell’s popular (for good reason) fennel and Fuji apple slaw peeking out from underneath.

Even though I saw the size of the portions, I still didn’t expect leftovers. I planned to share some with my husband. And you know how ribs usually are—a lot of bone and not all that much meat. But in this case, they turned out to be meatier than I imagined. At $21, this menu item is a true bargain.
inner delights of the blackened prawn sandwich

In spite of the fact that he’d ordered the special sandwich of the night—a fabulous blackened prawn po’ boy—he did want to try the ribs. That’s when I discovered the surprise that made me declare them the best ever. When I went to fork up one of the halves to pass over to him, it just fell apart cleanly into bare bones and sumptuous, thick, unbelievably tender pieces of pork. Forget the extra napkin I’d ask the waiter to bring. Forget my visions of stickiness everywhere and feeling like a cave woman. This was an experience of eating ribs I’d never had before; I could easily and neatly do so with only a fork.
fork tender and going fast

There was no room for dessert. But what’s a person to do when Chef Hudson tells you he just went to the local farmers market that afternoon and bought fresh strawberries? I’ve made plenty of desserts with strawberries, but I’ve never used them in a cobbler, so I just had to try it. He topped his with crunchy, buttery, oatmeal goodness and Olympic Mountain Ice Cream. Does it make me less guilty if I tell you we shared?

So that, my friends, is why I came home with leftovers and had ribs for breakfast. I even had a few of those cute little potatoes left over to have on the side. Until you’ve tired starting your day this way, you’ll never know what you’re missing. Now, I suggest you go on down to Maxwell’s and order a plate of Bourbon Glazed Pork Ribs so you can have your own leftovers for breakfast. You can’t have mine.

Top photo by Hudson Slater. Remaining photos by Candace Brown

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Chellis Jensen said...

I've had Maxwell's ribs and they truly are yummy, delicious, and the meat really does fall off the bones. The leftovers are equally as heavenly as the night before. The only ribs that might come close are the ones at the St. Louis airport, and they were at least 6 years ago. They do come with a small container of sauce so you can heat them up to your liking. If you are a rib lover, you'll love these!

Candace Brown said...

Thanks for endorsing my declaration, Chellis. I knew there had to be others out there who had experience this bliss. And there will be more. One of my readers who lives way up near the Canadian border emailed this morning to say:

"Morning Candace,

I was just getting ready to have breakfast and you tell me about those mouth watering Bourbon Ribs way down in Tacoma, my taste buds are all excited, if it were closer I would be there,wish I had one of those new combination car/planes and I could fly there. Yum,yum,now my taste buds don't want breakfast."