Last week my pilots and I finished a super grueling, 3-leg day in a small Pennsylvania town called “State College.” Yeah, that was the actual name of the city– hence the only thing that seemed to encompass the area was Penn State University. It was a rainy and rather dreary afternoon, and with school being out the place was practically a ghost town. None of us were bothered by the mundane mood of State College, since all we wanted to do was find some place convenient to get some good grub and a couple brews before face-planting into our hotel bed pillows. The shuttle driver that took us from the private airport over to our hotel recommended a place called Happy Valley Brewery. She said there were two reasons to go, killer food and they make their own craft beers. Of course, I interrogated further and asked what she recommended from the menu. She mentioned the nachos, the street corn, the burger—and noted them as “pretty good.” But the way she gasped (as if relieved to have not forgotten to mention) about the ribs, was all I needed to hear.
These weren’t just any ribs. These were slow-cooked, then flash fried for crispness, and coated in a spicy-sweet Korean bbq sauce and garnished with crushed peanuts. Listen. To. Me….
They were orgasmic. The meat literally fell off the bone with noticeable ease, and the spicy/sweet bbq sauce was so sticky, yet too good to wipe into a napkin. The only appropriate option seemed to be licking and sucking my fingers clean.
Each order came with 4 ribs, and was listed under the “small plate” options on the menu. They were so insanely delicious that I ordered three plates and singlehandedly devoured them as my pilots looked on in amazement and borderline horror.
I asked the bartender to have the chef come out of the kitchen so that I could personally thank him for what he’d created, but more so as a way to stroke his ego and soften him up long enough to get his recipe. Which I did. So here it is!
* *Keep in mind: You don’t have to do pork ribs, you can also do beef. However I used a rack of St. Louis style ribs for this particular batch that you see pictured.