Meet BBQ's delicious pork spare ribs are noteworthy for their firm but moist texture, deep, blackened bark, and clear applewood smoke flavor, but it's their crispy tips that make them distinctly Kansas City-style. What are crispy tips? Think of the last inch of a perfectly-roasted chicken's wing: the bit you can bite off like a Frito. Like that, but with pork, which takes upwards of six hours over dry heat to attain. It's a beautiful dark flavor and slightly chewy texture to have on the same rib as pink, moist meat. They are served un-sauced, and eat well that way, but a freshly-made hot mustard sauce, as well as a sweet-hot sauce that tasted something like ancho, are quite worth trying once you're sure the rib can stand on its own.
Chef-proprietor John Wysong is quick to point out that he doesn't use a par-boil or steaming method to get his ribs slide-off-the-bone tender; they are therefore, while perfectly cooked, perhaps more interesting to eat for the little resistance the meat gives before pulling free. Wysong knows his cooking: he's been in Portland kitchens for two decades, having worked in the pre-Paley restaurants Cafe des Amis and L'Auberge. He also boasts stints in New York City, at the famed Le Cirque and Union Square. Now here he is, unassumingly turning out some of the best BBQ ribs in the city.
This year-old cart in the Mississippi Marketplace also serves smoked chicken and brisket, as well as a full menu of classic and not-so-classic sides, including pork-rich Boston baked beans, and buttery brown rice. It's remarkably accomplished BBQ, and worth a visit from anyone who's still looking for their slow-cooked holy grail.
Hours: W-Sun, 10am-8pm.
More photos after the jump.