Pork butcheries used to dot the landscape of Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve been fortunate to eat my way across the barbecue stalls and restaurants of the city, and cuts of pig have grown increasingly difficult to score over the years.
Istanbullus (Istanbul residents), famously tolerant, may or may not have frequented the kasaps (butchers) that specialized in pork, but they didn’t care if their fellow swine-loving Turks did. Unfortunately, once Recep Erdogan became prime minister back in 2003, the landscape for pork lovers in Turkey changed dramatically. Erdogan is of the “men should grow their beards and keep their women at home” sort. And he doesn’t like pork, not even spare ribs.
Now, as near as I can tell, there is only one pork butchery in all of Istanbul.
This recipe is in honor of Kozma and Lazari Kozmaoglu. They run Ideal Salam in the Dolapdere neighborhood in Istanbul. If you need a rack of ribs off a hog to throw on your backyard smoker in Istanbul, this is your source.
1 each rack Ribs, Pork, Spare
2 T. Salt
3 T. Pepper, Aleppo
1 T. Za’atar
* Build fire in backyard smoker or set oven temperature to 225 degrees
* Score membrane on back of rib rack
* Blend all seasonings together and liberally crust both sides of rib rack
* Place on smoker or in roasting dish in oven
* Smoke/Roast ribs for approximately 3-4 hours or til tender
* Serve with lavash and simmered pinto beans
These ribs do not need sauce.
Have a nice glass of raki or Efes Pilsener to go with your ribs and hoist your drink in the general direction of Istanbul and toast the Kozmaoglu brothers.
They’re fighting the power by providing a much needed service to a city with 15 million souls, many of whom just want to eat some barbecue and drink some beer without being hassled by the man.