I’d been meaning to visit Mark Gevaux, a.k.a The Rib Man for ages since a friend told me about him and then yesterday I happened upon him by chance on the South Bank. What a beautiful little bit of luck that was. He sells slow-cooked baby-back rib sandwiches, and we’ve had much discussion on Twitter about his reputedly spectacular ‘HOLY FUCK HOT SAUCE’. “You’re really speeding up”, my friend said as we approached the stall. Damn right – I’m getting me some tender rib meat in a bun. We’d eaten a bratwurst about 10 minutes earlier but I choose my friends wisely and she was more than up for round two.
Mark has been trading on Brick Lane for about 3 years now, since an accident cut his career as a butcher short. He was apparently a “speed boner” (don’t laugh) but circumstance forced him to think about his options and his ribs had always gone down well with colleagues. He started out just selling racks, but people were finding it a bit tricky to eat a rack of ribs on the go and kept asking for bread; eventually he decided to shred the meat off the bone and put it into a sandwich.
The spiced, melty (so melty) meat has the texture of classic pulled pork and he stuffs that bun to bursting with it (“some people say my rolls are too big…I’m not one of them”). You can choose from either BBQ sauce, regular hot sauce or HOLY FUCK HOT SAUCE. I tried the latter, obviously and oh my goodness me if it wasn’t the best damn hot sauce I’ve ever tasted. He uses my favourite Scotch Bonnets but also a small amount of Naga; one of the hottest chillies in the world. The sauce was, of course, hot but genuinely not too hot; just the right amount of tingle, hum and numb and the flavour, oh my goodness…incredible. One of the fruitiest chilli flavours I’ve ever tasted and something you don’t often get without knife-like heat. He could bottle that stuff and make a million.
I feel like the hot sauce is over-shadowing the ribs but they are at one with each other, trust me. The meat is just so juicy, with wibbly strands of fat preserved. For me, this is a rib meat sandwich stall rather than a rack of ribs stall as the name might suggest but what’s not to like? It’s a fantastic sandwich and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned about a hundred times, I’m very, very fond of a good sandwich.
The Rib Man is on the South Bank (next to the South Bank Centre until the 25th and otherwise at Brick Lane on Sundays. See His Website for details.