Instead Of Grilling Ribs, Try Deep Frying Them During Cold Winter Months

Some folks will fry anything — dill pickles, green beans, guacamole, ravioli, flowers, and even, believe it or not, jelly beans. But is it crossing a culinary line to suggest deep frying a holy-grill food like ribs? Not at all, based on the number of fried-rib ideas appearing on YouTube and TikTok channels as well as in mainstream cooking venues. Especially during the cold winter months when grills lie dormant, laced in sheets of ice, it might be time for an inside date with another appliance. 

Your grill misses you, but those short ribs and baby backs don't have to wait for sultry summer evenings. Give them some deep-fried love instead. They'll be sizzling hot and steaming up your plate in no time. All you need is some cooking oil, flour, and seasonings to taste. That's unless you want them super tender, in which case there's a way to make them moist and juicy inside with a crispy fried exterior. That will take a few more ingredients and a lot more time, but most of it is hands-off in the oven before a quick oily dip in the skillet. Deep frying ribs, whether the longer or slower way, is a simple affair, but there are a few things to consider. 

Slow braise and quick fry for tender, crispy ribs

If you've ever made fried chicken, you know that timing and technique matter. The same goes for deep-fried ribs, though it's easier in some ways because meat on ribs is generally thinner than whole chicken breasts, with less worry about uneven cooking. Having said that, you'll still want to slice the ribs into individual pieces rather than frying them in rack sections, which lets you monitor each rib individually as it crackles in the hot oil. 

In the quick-fry method, you'll coat the ribs in seasonings or your favorite rub, spreading on liquids like mustard or barbecue sauce if desired, and then dredging them in flour before lowering them into the heated oil. Make sure your ribs are at room temperature before they get fried, otherwise, the cold meat could lower the temperature of the oil. Then deep fry as you would any other type of meat. 

The alternative long-braise and quick-fry method is exactly as it sounds. You'll have ultimately tender and tasty ribs when slow-braising them first in the oven for at least a couple of hours. That's where you'll also have a chance to introduce any kind of flavor imaginable into the ribs before they hit the frying pan. It lets you slip in known natural tenderizers as well, such as soy sauce, ginger ale, white wine, and orange juice, along with aromatics like garlic, fresh ginger, or cilantro. When the braising is complete, just deep fry the ribs as usual.