600g St Louis pork ribs
4 tbsp salt flake
4 tbsp kibbled black pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce
½ cup tapioca flour
100g Italian chilli paste
40g oyster sauce
½ bunch Thai basil
½ carrot, julienned
1 stick celery, julienned
1L canola oil
Recipe by Michael Portley
Photography by Shannon Wappet
1. Place pork on a tray. Mix your salt flake and kibbled black pepper. Apply it liberally to all sides of your slab of pork rib.
2. Refrigerate rib for 2 hours with excess salt and pepper mix.
3. Dust off excess salt and pepper mix. Place pork in a slow cooker and set on high setting for 8 hours. Do not cover with any liquid.
4. Check for doneness. Ribs should we wobbly and separate without applying much pressure. Refrigerate until completely chilled, approx. 2–3 hours.
5. Cut pork into bite-sized pieces. You can choose to remove the spare ribs and serve separately, or use a cleaver to cut right through.
6. Set up a pot for deep-frying. A 5-litre pot should suffice. It needs to be deep enough to submerge ribs. The pot should be no more than ¼ full, as the oil will boil vigorously once ribs are added.
7. Bring the oil temperature to 160–170°C.
8. Toss the diced ribs in a mixing bowl with fish sauce. Coat the ribs in tapioca flour, shaking off excess.
9. Use a slotted spoon or spider to lower the ribs into fryer oil. Fry for approx. 3–4 minutes, until a deep reddish colour and crispy. Remove from oil.
10. Toss ribs with carrot, celery, oyster and chilli sauce. Garnish with Thai basil.