Tupelo Honey is all about updating the classics. All the Southern staples are there: martinis at lunch, fresh flowers on the wooden tables every day, fried green tomatoes, and impressive hospitality.
The blackberry habanero ribs are no exception. Ribs are classic on a comfort food menu. But this rendition takes it over the top.
"I love this restaurant company because everything is so ingredient-driven. And so are these ribs. It's very seasonal and the flavors all work together," said executive chef Chris Kobayashi.
"I was actually concerned that the habaneros would be too hot. But the acid from the blackberries really mellows it out so the dish has a nice balance to it."
They start with a half-rack of ribs from Tender Belly. They use their signature rib rub: brown sugar, salt, paprika, and cayenne. The meat sits in that overnight. Then the next day, it roasts in the CVap overnight—usually about 6 hours. The racks are grilled to order throughout the day, and topped with a generous spoonful of the blackberry sauce.
The sauce is made of mostly blackberries, but also ginger, habaneros, brown sugar, honey, and garlic. And these flavors all come across in every bite.
And Kobayashi is right. It's spicy, but not overly done. It doesn't overtake the rest of the elements and the sticky sweets ribs have a satisfying kick.
"This dish has a great depth of flavor that you can expect from Southern food. But it's a seasonal twist. Don't be afraid of the spice!" said Kobayashi.
Get it at Tupelo Honey for brunch, lunch, or dinner any day of the week.