The Rib Project

The Rib Project
By:  Eben van Tonder
16 September 2019


I have been working with Transglutaminase for many years.  In January I pulled everything I have done on bacon together in an article:  Best Bacon System on Earth.  The application to pork ribs is something I have played with for years but could never completely master.

The reality dawned on me that Transglutaminase in itself can never be more than a processing aid.  It is one of many methods developed over the eons of time to bind meat, whether it is in cooked hams, extending bacon logs to fit the use of high-speed slicers or in sausages.  Using a number of these techniques in combination yields the best results.  Relying on Transglutaminase alone for any result is a mistake.

The work of a few years came together last week.  Here is the story.

Amazing Results

I tried for years to make this product. At a management meeting, the chairman, owner, and founder of the new company I joined after I left Woodys told the story how he started his company by selling ribs. He celebrated his 60th birthday this week. This inspired me to take another stab at making the ribs. Stephen, my processing partner and I took Thursday night to try half of a new process. The results were very good. So, on Friday night we pressed on to build on the success of the previous night. We adjusted the process slightly and here are the results.


Product Sampling

We had the honour of serving it to guests whom he and his wife invited to their farm to celebrate his birthday. It is in no way perfect yet and the guests very graciously offered small suggestions to tweak it so that we can achieve perfection.

Can we have the recipe?

I normally have no problem sharing recipes, but this one I’m holding close to my chest. At least for the next few years as we investigate the commercial viability. Most of my butcher friends will any way figure it out in minutes what took me years!  There are a number of clues in the photos below.  🙂  I am very pleased with where we are with it so far and my sincere thanks to Stephen! His input has been so substantial that I can no longer claim that its all my work. A proper team effort!

A Combination of Systems

It is very important to at least state that the use of Transglutaminase in the product is kept to a bare minimum.  The major mechanisms relied on are ancient.


Leave a Reply