Crispy Tadyang na Baka a la Marketman


Take a deep breath and smell the meat in oil deep-frying. This is definitely the beef lover’s equivalent of Crispy Pata (deep-fried pork shank/thigh/hind leg). I have only ever eaten crispy tadyang (beef ribs) in restaurants, and more often than not, besides the initial hit of crisp caramelized meat that triggers a temporary food high, the rest of it tastes like crisp cardboard. There is a fine line between crispy good and crispy bad. So how does one manage to get it crispy good? It starts out at the butcher, in this case one of the vendors at the Metro Grocery in the Market!Market! Mall. I asked if they had the whole ribs of a cow and the smart aleck pointed to short ribs and said those were the ribs. I politely re-asked if he had them uncut or whole ribs and he put two cuts of short ribs together and said that was the longest they had. Suppressing an urge to reach across the glass display case and wring his neck, I took a deep breath and purchased something else. But as the smart aleck left the counter, the saleslady of the neighboring supplier (isn’t it weird there are 4-5 different purveyors of the SAME type of meat at a grocery?) wisely picked up on this overheard exchange and asked in Filipino “do you want the whole uncut ribs of a cow?” to which I smiled and said yes, and she sent someone to the freezers…


A couple of minutes later, a pushcart emerges and I swear the entire ribcage of half a cow emerged, and this brought the biggest smile to my face. The ribs were nearly two feet long and even that was a bit bigger than I had hoped for. The butcher then agreed to cut me six 1.5 foot long ribs and then cut them further into individual meaty ribs. Now I had my raw material. This was very Pebbles and Bam-Bam caveman food in the making. Other shoppers looked on without comment but I can only imagine what they were thinking… :)


When we got home, I realized I had a humongous stock pot to boil them in, but it would be nearly impossible to fry the ribs without using several gallons of oil. So despite my wanting the caveman-with-stone-bat-image of an enormous fried rib on one’s platter, I had to send the ribs to my suki butcher and have him cut them in half, to roughly 9 inch long pieces…


With no recipe for crispy tadyang (or is it tadjang?) to guide me, I figured the ribs had to be boiled over very low heat to tenderize the meat and add some flavor to it. Into a pot of water I added the ribs and when it reached the boiling point, threw out the water and started all over again. This step to avoid all the foam and muck in the broth. On the second boiling, I added some star anise, whole peppercorns and onions to the water and boiled this over very low heat for some 3+ hours until the meat was quite soft and tender. You can also add some soy sauce to the broth for the last half hour of cooking, but I was afraid the salt content of the soy sauce might toughen the meat, so I didn’t do this step for this batch of ribs.


The ribs were removed from the liquid, cooled and refrigerated overnight. The next day, I took the ribs out of the fridge to come to room temperature, and basted them with a mixture of kikkoman soy sauce, kalamansi and ground black pepper. I kept brushing/basting the ribs for about an hour before cooking them. But leave them alone for the last 15 minutes before cooking them so the surface isn’t too wet and it has had a chance to absorb the soy and kalamansi. Outdoors, in a large wok with lots of vegetable oil over high heat, we deep-fried the ribs for several minutes until they had a wonderful crisp exterior, but still a moist and tasty interior meat. The result? Excellent crispy tadyang. Served with lots of homemade papaya atchara and this made for a wonderful lunch. We also served this with a sawsawan of soy sauce, fish sauce and lots of fresh lime juice and chilis. Two foreign guests joined us for lunch and they seemed to enjoy this dish immensely.


I still wonder about the dryness of this dish and I think it is best served with a moist seafood or vegetable dish like shrimps or long beans in coconut milk. But then again, pinoys do like dry, crisp food. Overall, this took a long elapsed time but it was incredibly simple to make. Definitely a keeper of a recipe. :)


27 Responses

  1. Another comfort food from home. I’m too lazy to deep fry anything so I get this dish when I’m at Gerry’s and I’m pretty happy with the way they do it. Maanghang na sawsawan at sinangag. Haay. Panira ng dyeta.

  2. I had just done this process of cooking with a whole pigue of pork. It came out deliciously awesome. Way back instead of boiling though, I baked the meat in the oven for 2 hours (with chicken broth at the bottom of the pan), then let it rest in the ref overnight, and fry the next day. Same results… ubos! I served it with atchara mixed with fresh pineapple, sweet onion, and chopped cucumber.

  3. There is a standard way to cut meat. Usually along the backbone to split the carcass in half but after that i suspect the cuts seems to differ butcher to butcher. And with 4-5 vendors selling back to back, you probably assume correctly how they “label” the meats. I am curious though as to what type of vegetable oil you use. We try to stay away from hydrogenated but even the canola we use is partially maybe fully hydrogenated despite no label descriptions. I know because omega is a byproduct of hydrogenation yet the label claims it is even healthier. Badtrip talaga these guys

  4. Around here this is called “English cut”, about 12-16″ long. You can also bake it in a covered Le Creuset for 2-3 hours at 300 F until tender before frying. The old Armory restaurant on 68th and Park used to serve this as their signature dish, roast beef bones.

  5. My mom used to marinate leftover beef nilaga in patis then fry the rib meat to a crisp. Dalish! and I miss those days when I did not have to bother about the health and environmental consequences of eating meat.

  6. I am a beef lover this is another winner :) Great idea for left-over nilagang baka!
    Your recipes are piling up for me to try…I got a few done and most recent was your sirlioin beef tapa (w/o drying) and it was a success the first time! Will write about it soon.

  7. thanks for this! I’ve long wanted to cook crispy tadyang but not willing to do a hit & miss :))

  8. my fave! pair it up with beer and it’ll be heaven for me! :D

    Try to cook it adobo style first before deep frying it… the best!

  9. I will definitely try this MM.I hope I can find that cut of meat in our local market. Thank you so much for sharing! I love the photos!

  10. A marinade we use is toyo, sugar, and garlic. The trick is to amp up the sugar until the toyo looses its saltiness and becomes a syrup. Very basic but to die for. Cheers !

  11. off topic Marketman ; i cooked chili garlic crab and baked some blueberry muffins over the wikend from ur archives, and my husband simply said, 3 thumbs-up ;) ,. thank u so much for sharing those recipes

  12. I think this is the perfect occassion to use the expression “holy cow!”…that looks amazing MM! I love crispy tadyang but agree that many that you get at restaurants are too dry. In fact, I had one such dissappointing experience yesterday :( Glad to have this recipe now although I am still not over my deep-frying fears! Do you think you could do this in the turbo broiler that way they say you can make crispy pata in the turbo (after the boiling step)?

  13. Hi MM

    I had crispy tadyang once upon a time served in a sort of disassembled kare kare offering in a local resto. I enjoyed it with and without the sauce. :)

    Thanks for sharing!


  14. Perfect timing for the recipe. Over the weekend, my husband and I were just talking about how he only ever eats crispy tadyang in restaurants because (i) he could never find a good recipe and (ii) beef ribs dont seem to be available in the groceries or market we frequent. Is there a place where there is a regular supply of beef ribs so we can try MM’s recipe? Thanks MM!

  15. oh my, this is one of my husband’s favorites in cafe laguna. we often order this for take-out. but now, it looks like he wouldn’t have to go to laguna if he has a hankering for it. thanks, MM for showing us how to do it! i’m really excited to do this…

  16. If you think names and methods of cooking certain dishes is contentious matter, look into a few English Usage fora where familiar expressions are harrowed through with a fine-toothed comb.
    For example, I have always considered crisp an adequate modifier to describe certain food that crackle and crunch upon being munched but apparently crispy is the word for that but only if the food being so described is thin and flat. Crunch is for thicker food. For the alternatives in the current poll then, crispy seems most accurate for the ones with skin such as pork hocks and chicken. Fish is mostly thin, flat and often filleted so I guess they can be crispy too. Prawns, of course, can be crispy specially if they are prepared as gambas rebosadas and served right away. For certain vegetables such as lettuce, crisp sounds suitable whereas for celery, crunch would be a better choice. A noisy eating apple though falls far from just crisp or crunchy, its consumption being always, no matter how couth and gracious one aspires to be, attended by a loud juicy soupy sucking sound.

    We haven’t heard from Lee of Great Britain in a long time. I hope his undisclosed location is not under siege.

  17. There are two types of beef ribs that can be used for crispy tadyang. You have the Shortribs and the Camto Ribs. Shortribs are less fatty, but easily turn out dry and tough when fried. I personally prefer the Camto Ribs, since it has a bit of fat and cartilage. Braising does wonders to the cartilage, and you get moist crispy tadyang with a bit of a crunch from the soft bones. Also, try the soft bones (cartilage) from the Batok part of the cow! Here you have good marbling of the meat which gives a more tender outcome.

    Grabe I miss this so much! In the Philippines, my Nanay would braise the ribs adobo style before deep-frying. We also have our own meat stall in the San Juan market so I can have my beef ribs cut to my own specifications (actually, other customers can also ask for special cuts without our butchers getting smart-alecky, hehe). Here in Italy, it’s hard to get the whole long ribs since they cut the ribcage differently. Ah, I can’t wait to be back home!

  18. Footloose, funny you should raise the “crisp” discussion now, I had just pre-written a post that included a similar discussion on “piping hot” — it will be up in a day or two. As for Lee, he is around, I think he left a comment a couple of days ago, but he isn’t as heavy on the comments lately, probably due to the dearth of pork posts. He assures me from time to time that he is well…

  19. The turbo broiler route in lieu of deep frying could work. Upon the suggestion of a colleague at work, I’ve made turbo lechon kawali and the results are as good as deep frying . . . cuts back a bit on the fat

  20. randyb, I agree, the turbo option is a possible one. So is baking in a hot convection oven. Just brush the pieces with some oil to help crisp up the skin without drying it out too much.

  21. when we did this, i found it also incredibly dry, but i still think it was overfried in our case :) i haven’t done this again after our first experiment, but I think next time, I wouldn’t really fry it like a lechon kawali, but more of a fried chicken to get that crispy texture but tender inside flakiness of the meat :)

  22. was this meat purveyor the one on the left most counter? Don’t you wish someone opens up a real butcher shop where we can get tadyang, bone marrow, ox tongue, ox tail, beef cheeks, fresh pig’s blood, pig’s head, etc.?

  23. I read the post twice and could almost sense the frustration between you and the first vendor…LOL (so much for Pinoy humor). Dang, I’m laughing about it right now as I write. Its good that vendor no. 2 picked up where vendor no. 1 dropped off. I could only imagine the size of the ribbage when it was presented to you.

    Yeah, my family has done this in a turbo oven. For my tastes, I think I prefer the deep frying instead. Either way, turbo or fried, crispy beef with fresh tomatoes and onions with some steamed rice and bagaoong alamang makes for a tasty treat.



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