For those who have tasted a “staanrib” done right, there are few better ways to enjoy the true simplicity of South African mutton. “Staanrib” is the indirect way of cooking a whole mutton rib on a closed hinged grid next to a fire, leaning agains a fireplace wall or grid stand. This cooking method ensures a smoky result, with very crispy fatty edges (because the fat renders and rolls down as the meat is turned often). All it needs is a squeeze of lemon juice after slicing the whole rib into riblets – eaten straight from the grid, you’ll be licking your fingers!
This recipe was created in proud collaboration with Cape of Good Hope Wines, to pair with their stunning Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Shiraz. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large whole mutton rib rack
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon coarsely crushed coriander (optional)
2 lemons, cut into quarters
Get a fire ready for indirect grilling – you should have a wall or stand about 10 cm from the hot coals, where the rib can stand upright on an angle next to it, allowing you to turn it every now and then (also have extra wood on hand, so that you can continue to make more coals when needed – you’re looking for medium indirect heat for about 3 hours). Note: If your rib is leaning high up towards a wall on the left, your fire should be on the right hand side. Season the rib with salt, pepper and coarse coriander on both sides, then braai for 3 hours, turning every 15 minutes or so to prevent the rib for browning too quickly. If you want to, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice while grilling. When the ribs are very crispy and the meat is tender enough to easily come away from the bone, remove it from the fire, cut into riblets, and serve at once with a squeeze of lemon juice and some lemon wedges on the side.