Battle of the Ribs

My brother, Tom, and I both consider ourselves good cooks. The problem lies in who we each consider the best cook - ourselves of course! So over the years there has been a bit of rivalry between us.

For the short time my lost soul brother lived with me in California, we raved over each others dishes occasionally. Then, without warning to the other, we would try to duplicate, actually, IMPROVE on the recipe.

I was convinced my rendition of ‘Red Beans and Rice’ was more superb than his! Tom declared certain superiority in his version. Once, the fool tried his best to duplicate my ‘famous’ Lasagna, much to his chagrin. Tom even admitted defeat in the face of my Lasagna expertise.

And so the battle went… until he denounced the land of fruit and nuts, and traffic, and returned home to Missouri (pronounced misery).

Alas, after years of uncountable conversations by phone about food, sharing recipes rather than competing with each other, the topic of Ribs arose. That was a big mistake! For weeks we debated the correct way to prepare them. After all, Tom had been cooking ribs for years; I had just begun my experiments with the delicacy.

Finally the day came - I traveled home, to Misery, and confronted the rib offender. At his home, in the hills and green countryside of the tiny town of Old Appleton, in his big grassy back yard next to the creek, we began the battle. My concoction on the grill, his in the oven.

Tom baked his ribs in the oven, covered with aluminum foil. He covered them with small amount of sauce as they neared completion.

My ribs went on the grill covered with a dry rub. The temperature was kept between 275°F and 300°F.

We mulled over our precious creations, checking often with great care. Creating a delicious and tender rack of ribs takes time and patience after all. It was a family gathering with lots of kids playing, adults sharing good wine and conversation. Laughter filled the air alongside the scrumptious aroma of cooking. Everyone was having fun and grew hungry with anticipation for a yummy dinner together.

As we devoured our dinner, it became clear I had been defeated, this time. My worthy opponent did well that hot summer day. After all, I was cooking on someone else’s equipment. No matter, our ultimate goal was met. To have fun, food and family together.

It has been 2 long years since our battle in the countryside. Since then, my experiments with ribs have paid off richly, with a fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful-and-juicy delight. Next time he won’t have a chance!

Check out the “Melt-In-Your-Mouth Baby Back Ribs” recipe….

Re: Battle of the ribs

Can’t wait to try your recipe. Ribs are my pick if I have a ‘last meal’! I think you’re really lucky since I’m the only one in my family who likes to cook, no fun to be the only one in the kitchen!