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Fatty mutton rib on the coals

Have you ever heard of a sheep dying of a heart attack? Nei­ther have I, but then again I am not Aus­tralian and not all that famil­iar with sheep either. I was always under the impres­sion that when you eat them they give heart attacks.

When, for the first time you see the copi­ous amounts of golden yel­low fat and oil drip­ping out of a rib over a slow fire, you will be gob smacked, to say the least. I have always been lead to believe, espe­cially by my wife, that even if I ate a minus­cule amount of that evil fat, I would prob­a­bly die a ter­ri­ble death, almost instantly.

Well, this past week­end I finally laid that fal­lacy to rest.

That brings me to this “recipe”. I say “recipe” because this is not really a recipe, it is a very slow braai, and of course the way I like it, very simple.

This past week­end I was invited to Kurt’s house again for a braai and gen­eral socializing.

Kurt is an extremely pas­sion­ate out­doors cook, and every­thing he cooks, he does with great zeal. So, when he told me we will be doing Mut­ton Rib over the coals for at least six hours, I was very, very sceptical.

My first thought was, “What is a rib going to look like that has been singed over the coals for six hours?” Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imag­ine one could cook any­thing over the coals for more than six hours, and it could still be edible.

Six and a half hours later and after umpteen bags of wood that went up in smoke, the rib was finally ready, and not to men­tion more red wine than what was nec­es­sary. (I once read some­where that red wine breaks down fat, and you must remem­ber that ini­tially I was still in fear of loos­ing my life to a fat overdose.)

By now the hunger pangs were painfully writhing through my body and I was pre­pared to stare death squarely in the eye. Bring on the rib, Kurt! Besides, Kurt assured me that most of the fat has been braaied out of the rib.

“Look” he said, “the rib is now only half the size”. He also men­tioned dur­ing the course of the after­noon that Dr Wouter Bas­son is his car­di­ol­o­gist. Straight away I thought of my wife’s dire warn­ing again, this guy does sheep rib often, and he has a very famous car­di­ol­o­gist look­ing after him. Maybe things are not going to turn out good for me after all.

Well, I’m still here and need­less to say, after I sank my teeth into the first piece rib, my taste buds went into over­drive. Now I know why I was lead to believe that sheep rib is pure evil. Once you have tried this, there is no stop­ping, you will def­i­nitely come back for more.

In con­clu­sion, I have realised, that by eat­ing grass you have a greater chance of dying of a heart attack, than by eat­ing sheep. The only rea­son we never hear of a sheep dying of a heart attack is because we eat them way before they have a chance of dying of a heart attack. I just can­not believe that we can have that much fat inside of us. (OK, some of us)

Many peo­ple ask if the rib was not tough, and my answer is, not at all, it actu­ally does melt in your mouth. Accord­ing to Kurt the slow cook­ing process actu­ally breaks down the con­nec­tive tis­sue in the rib, and I can tes­tify to that. Here fol­lows the “recipe”


One very oily sheep rib (ask Kurt where to get it)

Lots of time, six hours plus

Bags and bags of wood

Enough refresh­ments (remem­ber Six hours just watch­ing a rib ooz­ing fat can get long)

Mari­nas braai spice.

Enough wet wipes to wipe the remain­ing fat ooz­ing down your chin.


I don’t think there is any­thing sim­pler than this. Place the rib on your grid, high enough of the coals for you so that you could hold your there for about 8 sec­onds. Sprin­kle the rib with the braai spice. Turn every few min­utes, and add coals as nec­es­sary. Enjoy!

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