It is interesting to study the practice of cooking ribs in the context of different nations and their customs.
In South Africa, the term "cooking ribs" is almost never used. The South African use a term called "braai", which is the American equivalent of "barbeque". In South Africa, the most traditional way of cooking ribs is to braai ( or barbeque ) them. South Africans are especially fond of what is called "Spare Ribs", being a smoked pork rib which is grilled, barbequed, or braai'd over an open flame. Of course, basting sauces and all the rest go without saying.
Spare ribs are to be found in most steak houses in South Africa, one of the most well known being Spur Steak Ranches all around the country. In fact, Spur made name for themselves with their famous Spare Ribs and secret spur basting sauce.
Spur Steak Ranches has played an integral part in South African family life for over 37 years. Spur founder and executive chairman Allen Ambor first established the company's reputation for tasty, nutritious, value for money meals when he invested R4 000 to open the Golden Spur in Newlands, Cape Town in 1967. A Spur burger cost 40 cents ( South African currency ) in those days! Today, 40 years later, it costs about 100 x more, going at around R40.00 !
From these early beginnings, Spur has grown into an internationally recognised brand comprising 200 South African and 24 international outlets. In the last financial year ending June 2005, annual turnover increased by 11 per cent up to R200.6 million. In the past year 11 new Spur outlets were opened, while 19 revamps were completed and four stores were strategically relocated - quite an accomplishment for people in the business of cooking ribs.
Even more interestingly, most South Africans have the idea that Spur is an American franchise, since the whole look and feel is in line with the historical American image of Ranches, the wide open plains , and the wild west of yesteryear with Cowboys and Indians - in the minds of South Africans anyway.
Coming soon : Instead of cooking ribs, try braaing ribs the South African way.