When I first starting writing this blog the question I was asked more than any other was “Will you not run out of things to review?”. I responded by telling people of the vast range of products out there just waiting to be tried. But 20 months later I find myself struggling to seek out new and exciting things to write about, which is why it’s been almost a month since I last blogged.
I could of course work my way through a chef’s entire range trying different versions of the same product, but I tend to think if Ainsley’s “Moroccan Medley Cous Cous” tastes like freeze dried cat sick, then the chances are that his “Lemon, Mint and Parsley Cous Cous” won’t taste much better. And besides with eight cous cous flavours, 16 soup flavours, four risottos, five rice, five amazing grains, five croutons, five cooking sauces and four pan soups I’d run out of Ainsley jokes pretty quickly.
But enough Ainsley and back to good old Heston whose range is far more dynamic. The latest addition is hazelwood smoked back ribs with a mesquite rub. Beef ribs are one of those cuts that require long, slow cooking to make the meat tender and juicy – a big ask in the ready meal market, and one that rarely comes good. However if anyone will find a solution Heston will.
The ribs are packaged in a black box that seems to have a picture of a blurry nettle on it, perhaps it’s a hazelwood leaf – I wouldn’t know. Either way it is trusty, classy “Heston from Waitrose” branding. However once you tear open the box, branding goes out the window. I was left holding a vac packed bag containing ribs and congealed orangey fat. It looked like a love affair between an abattoir and a liposuction clinic – it did not look like dinner. What’s more for all that vac packing I was left with liposuction leak all over my fingers which wasn’t the greatest appetiser.
I squeezed the ribs and fat into a baking tray and cooked for 15 mins, then I drizzled over the BBQ sauce and cooked them for a further 10 mins. They came out looking amazing; the fat lumps had melted away and the ribs looked dark, succulent and appetising. The meat fell away from the bone in tender strands of deliciousness, the depth of flavour in the beef was excellent and the mesquite rub and hazelwood smoking added to the complexity of overall flavour. If I had a more refined palate I might be able to articulate the flavour profile of each element, but I don’t. The important thing though is that it tastes bloody good. But then things take a bad turn and all that delicacy of smoking and rubbing gets obliterated by the BBQ sauce which is a very average, slightly too sweet, gloopy coating. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it ruins the ribs, but it definitely doesn’t improve them.
Heston from Waitrose Hazelwood-Smoked Beef Back Ribs with Mesquite Rub £12.99 per kilo (the pack I had was £7.09). These ribs don’t come cheap – but then I reckon a lot of work has gone into getting them supermarket ready.
8/10 for the ribs
4/10 for the BBQ sauce
Hopefully I’ll be back with another blog soon – but it really depends what I can find out there. If you see a celeb endorsed product then please do let me know and I will hunt it down.