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With our corn cut, our air fryer ready and a rack of real ribs ready for comparison, we got to cooking — and then, eating.
To see what happened, check out the video above or keep reading for a quick guide on how to make corn ribs yourself.
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What are ‘corn ribs?’
Corn ribs are, basically, just slices of corn that have been cut to look like ribs. The snack isn’t really a one-to-one replacement for barbecue — but it might be a good substitute if you’re say, a vegetarian attending a cookout (as this editor often is).
It seems like the recipe originated with TikToker @spicednice, who’s drawn nearly 13 million views on her video of the snack. According to her clip, she drew inspiration from elote, a Mexican grilled corn dish served with spices and cheese.
Her final product looks somewhat different though. The corn ribs are seasoned in even more spices and then topped with a spicy, chili aioli sauce. Here’s how to make them.
How to make ‘corn ribs’
The first step to making corn ribs is making the … uh, ribs. To do that, you need to cut your corn longways into quarters, so you have four skinny “ribs” per cob. (A quick note: Please, please be careful cutting your corn! It does not give easily!)
Then, it’s time to make your seasoning. These portions make enough for four cobs worth of corn — or 16 ribs, if you’d rather count it that way:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- A pinch of salt
Mix all these ingredients together, then, using a large metal bowl, toss the ribs in your seasoning. After that, place the ribs in the air fryer and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, you can mix your aioli. Here’s what you’ll need for that.
- ½ cup mayo
- 2 tsp chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- Two tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
- Salt, to taste
Once those are combined and your ribs are cooked, spread the sauce lightly over your ribs on a large Instagram-worthy plate. Then, top your ribs with a bit of cilantro — and some cotija cheese, if you want!
So are corn ribs really worth making? To find out, we rated the dish on three highly scientific factors.
First, taste. Those things were absolutely, unbelievably, mind-numbingly delicious. Are they a replacement for barbecue? Of course not. But with a flavor this complex and rich, you might never find yourself craving real ribs again. Final score: 5/5.
Next, difficulty. These things may look easy to make, but cutting corn — let alone cutting it vertically, three times per cob — is extremely challenging. For that reason, we had to knock the recipe a bit. Final score: 2/5
Finally, snapbility. This ranking is about aesthetics, or how good a dish looks on your IG or Snapchat story. Here, we gave the corn ribs a high score again. They’re colorful, beautiful and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. What’s not to love? Final score 5/5.
For those keeping track at home, that’s an average score of 4/5. Not too bad, TikTok! These are definitely worth a try.
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