Eat this: Sticky Bourbon Ribs at Beaver's

The baby back ribs at Beaver's on Westheimer are exuberant specimens and you need them in your life, says Alison Cook. 

"Sticky bourbon ribs" is not the sort of menu description that makes my jaded critic's heart leap.

Yet chef Arash Kharat's stack of four neatly trimmed, smoky baby backs at Beaver's on Westheimer location flout my direst expectations. They're not one of those cloying "sweet meat" preparations I dread. Far from it: their deep gloss of sauce thrums with heat and tartness, complicated by just the right sweet, fruity undertone.

And the textures! Sticky they may be; exuberantly messy, even. But beneath the sauce lies tender pork edged with charry bark, the latter achieved by spritzing the ribs with acetic liquid as they smoke. The bark holds up under the sauce unexpectedly well.

You could split an order of these spectacular little ribs for 14 bucks, but you might not want to share.

LISTEN: The Chronicle food team chats with Arash Kharat on BBQ State of Mind. 

While you're there, check out some of the excellent things Kharat is doing with his 44 Farms smoked brisket these days. A pair of art-directed chopped brisket sandwiches on diminutive potato buns come two to a $14 order, and they are very good indeed.

Then there are the award-winning brisket tacos on supple, light-on-their-feet tortillas made by nearby El Patio using Beaver's own brisket fat. The smoky beef is highlighted by pico de gallo, pickled onion, queso fresco and a racy jalapeño crema, and the effect is dynamic enough to have taken a first-place tie at the annual Houston BBQ Throwdown a few weeks back. Two of 'em go for $15. And like the Sticky Bourbon Ribs, they'll go fast.

Turn off Westheimer at the giant beaver statue, a veritable civic attraction. Sit out in the big backyard, have a draft beer or a serious cocktail, and enjoy the beginning of Houston's fall weather. Yankees may celebrate the season to the aroma of burning leaves, but I'll take barbecue woodsmoke any day.

Beaver's, 6025 Westheimer, 713-714-4111; beavershtx.com. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Article Eat this: Sticky Bourbon Ribs at Beaver's compiled by www.chron.com

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