Vegan ribs with edible bones: This could be the future of BBQ

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Hailing from South Africa, I like to think of myself as a bit of a barbecue virtuoso. Come rain or shine, most weekends I’ll be out in my backyard, tongs in hand, manning the grill like a meat-addicted maniac (guilty as charged). 

So when someone suggested I try the world’s first plant-based ribs, adorned with edible vegan bones, you can imagine I was more than a little sceptical.  

The ‘ribs’ in question were made by Slovenian food tech startup Juicy Marbles. The company says it wants to recreate the “shared sense of nostalgia” and “primal joys” of eating ribs — but without the negative environmental impact. 

And the vegan bones? Well, apparently, they’re just for a laugh.

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“To some, bones from plants may be an ideological provocation, but we shouldn’t take these things too seriously,” says co-founder Vladimir Mićković. “It’s just fun from every angle. Bones invite you to eat with your hands, to tear off succulent chunks of meat, and share that indulgence with the whole table.”

While the idea of replacing a succulent steak with a hunk of soy protein didn’t exactly tickle my tastebuds, it did niggle my conscience. You see, dear reader, perhaps greater than my hankering for flesh, is my love for our planet. And, unfortunately, the two don’t really align. 

Spurred on by climate guilt, I decided to give the imitation ribs a try. So, I fired up the grill and cooked them the same way I’d prepare pork ribs — over hot coals and smothered with sticky, sweet basting sauce. Yum!

Check out my recipe here: