Category Archives: sports

How I make ribs…

It’s Labor Day weekend. College football is kicking off. [Georgia plays tonight! Go, DAWGS!] I made ribs yesterday. I haven’t posted in quite a while. [I’ve been suffering from a bit of BD (i.e., bloggers disfunction). The ideas are there; they just haven’t been substantiating. Ugh.]

For all of the above reasons (and, perhaps, more), it’s time to talk about barbecue. Ribs are what I prefer barbecuing. So, here goes…

Yesterday's batch along with a mess of home-made macaroni and cheese.

Yesterday’s batch along with a mess of home-made macaroni and cheese.


First things first: pork, not beef. I’ve made beef ribs, and they end up tasting alright enough but are just too “greasy” and chewy. Stick with pork. It’s easier to manage, tastier, and just downright better.

Furthermore, I’m unwaveringly adamant that if one wants to prepare a proper slab of ribs, one must smoke them. There’s no way around it – smoking is the way to go, even if you don’t have a “smoker” in your outdoors arsenal.

Now for the recipe: the following dry rub is enough to cover a couple of slabs unless you’re the stingy-on-the-seasoning type. If that’s the case, sure, you could make this work for three slabs.

my dry rub:

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of sea salt

2 tablespoons of dried oregano leaves (or you can use fresh leaves, chopped)

1/4 of a teaspoon of ground mustard seeds

1/4 of a teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 of a teaspoon of onion granules (or you can use powder)

1/4 of a teaspoon of celery salt

1/2 of a teaspoon of ground coriander seeds

50 “turns” of freshly-ground black peppercorns

The sauce will come in handy toward the end of the cooking process but should definitely be prepared ahead of time so as to have plenty of time to “marry” and cool off.

my barbecue sauce:

29 ounces of tomato sauce

6 ounces of tomato paste

1/2 of a cup of apple cider vinegar

10 tablespoons of yellow mustard

30 shakes of Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lea & Perrins)

50 shakes of Tabasco Sauce

5 tablespoons of honey (preferably something local)

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3 tablespoons of sea salt

1 handful of garlic salt

1 handful of onion salt

50 “turns” of freshly-ground black peppercorns

[Combine over heat and simmer for half an hour or so, stirring often.]

I generally prepare the ribs the night before I plan to smoke them – cutting the slabs in half, applying the rub generously, wrapping each half-rack separately in heavy duty aluminum foil, and refrigerating over-night.

On the day of the smoke, I take the ribs out and bring them to room-temperature. Then I begin preparing my smoking vessel. I have a traditional charcoal/wood smoker, but I often just use my large kettle grill. Either is fine for smoking as long as you have room for the meat to hang out indirect from the fire. If you have room for this, you also have room for a moisture source. [See the bowl behind/under the ribs in the first three photos below.]

I generally start my fire using natural chunk-charcoal, adding wood (oak, hickory, cherry, or apple, but definitely not mesquite) once the fire’s burning well and then throughout the cooking process.

While they’re cooking, I check the ribs roughly every hour – adding more wood as needed, rearranging the ribs if necessary (N. B. hotspots), and adding more liquid if necessary.

Believe it or not, no sauce has yet been added and they already look this gorgeous.

Believe it or not, no sauce has yet been added and they already look this gorgeous.

After a couple of hours or so of cooking, you’ll know when the ribs almost done as a couple of things should be happening:

  • the meat will have pulled in from the tips of the bone, leaving bare about half an inch of bone

  • the half slabs bend significantly (the meat barely pulling apart) when lifted with tongs

Please keep in mind that properly cooked ribs should best be described as “pull-off-the-bone” not “fall-off-the-bone” – according to my preferences, at least.

If grease (or, melted fat) touches fire, flare-ups are sure to follow.  Manage your ribs carefully, folks.

If grease (or, melted fat) touches fire, flare-ups are sure to follow. Manage your ribs carefully.

Once these two phenomena occur, I begin applying the barbecue sauce I prefer to apply it as a glaze in layers. Rather than just dumping on a bunch of sauce, I lightly apply a single coat at a time, allowing the ribs to continue cooking while each layer caramelizes and “gets friendly with” the ribs. Depending on how the ribs are looking, I will apply anywhere from 2-4 thin layers of sauce as they finish smoking.

No doubt: delicious and delectable.

No doubt: delicious and delectable.

Once the ribs are finished cooking, I let them rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting them into single ribs. To be sure, though serving the half-slabs together is impressive, cutting them down makes for a nice presentation of the bright pink smoke-ring and makes for easier handling throughout your delightful consumption.

Holy pork! Look at that smoke-ring!  [not even edited in the least]

Holy pork! Look at that smoke-ring! [not even edited in the least]

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>Aidan’s 4-month check-up…

>He’s getting huge, fellas. He’s getting huge!

This dude is already over 15 pounds – in fact, 2 ounces over. Just to put that into perspective… At his two month check-up, he was 11 pounds and 8 ounces. In case your math is a bit rusty, that means he has gained almost half a pound a week. Yikes! At this rate, I think he will be able to get signed with the Packers and work his way into a starting position on the offensive line before Favre retires. [Maybe this could be my chance to finally meet #4!]


>brett favre: a portrait of perseverance

>“…Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” -Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV

The writer to the Hebrews calls his readers to press on. Having access to the very presence of God through the veil of Jesus’ flesh, they are urged to draw near in the full assurance of faith. However, they face hardship. In fact, they face persecution. And yet, this is nothing new to them, for they have already endured such things. They had faced public scorn and humiliation; they had watched their property as it was taken from them. And now, they faced more – possibly even similar – threats and dangers.

In light of this, the writer encourages them to not give up but, rather, to hold fast to their confession of hope. If they failed to do so, the fact that they had “endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (10:32b ESV) before would be null and void. And so, they had a serious and pressing need for perseverance.

— — —

I personally see Brett Favre as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football. Though many would strongly disagree with such a statement, one would only be fooling himself to disagree with the following statement: Brett Favre is by far the greatest picture of perseverance to ever play the game of football.

In the midst of several record-breaking statistics, Favre’s greatest stat, in my estimation, is in the category of consecutive starts: He stands at 244 consecutive starts (264 including playoffs). This still-growing feat spans 17 seasons. The only other player in NFL history to have more consecutive starts was a lineman – defensive end Jim Marshall, who ended his career with 270 consecutive starts (widely known also for returning a fumble the wrong direction, resulting in a safety).

To put Favre’s starts as a quarterback in perspective, the following is of interest: Among those still playing the game, the only others even “on the radar” with Favre are Peyton Manning (151) and Tom Brady (102), a point which is interesting to note, in and of itself. Of those whose careers have already ended, there is Ron Jaworski (162) and Joe Ferguson (107), both beginning and ending their careers in 1977 and 1984, respectively. Other than these five, there are, in fact, no other quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who have accumulated 100 consecutive starts.

Brett Favre has played through concussions and pains of all sorts. Only a few years ago, he played most of the season with a broken thumb on his right hand. More importantly, he’s right-handed! During this past off-season, he underwent surgery to repair various fractures in his foot, an injury he simply ignored during the last part of the 2006-2007 season.

In 2003 (December 22), Favre led the Green Bay Packers (his team since his second NFL season) to trample the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. Favre, not surprisingly, chose to play this game despite the fact that his father died the day before. The night before the game, he wanted to bear his heart to his teammates and did so in a called team meeting. The game turned out to be quite possibly one of the greatest performances of Favre’s career and one of the most emotionally-charged games of NFL history. In the first half alone, Favre threw 4 touchdowns. He ended the game with a score of 41-7 and 399 passings yards.

Despite the criticism and skepticism of others, Favre has continued, and this year he is among the best in the NFL, as he leads the Packers into week 9 with a record of 6-1, tied only with the Dallas Cowboys at the top of the NFC. Doing so, he continues to play with child-like fun – shouting, running, and leaping after long completed passes, carrying teammates off the field after touchdowns, and the likes. His love for the game is endearing.

Brett Favre… He is relentless. And, for that, he is a portrait of perseverance.

— — —

* check out this video by Deanna Favre which served as the introduction to this past week’s Monday Night Football game (the Green Bay Packers at the Denver Broncos):

http://www.faniq.com/video/Deanna-Favre-introduction-on-Monday-Night-Football-YouTube-3532,10,2/sport_recent


>"are you ready for some football?!"

>

I am.