Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

For You Are Mine: A Love Letter to a Rack of Ribs (unabridged)

 

I held aloft your mahogany-tinted rack for all the world to see. For you are mine, and I have fairly loved you so. I slaved over you, from membrane to rub, and from foil to dinner plate. You were no small task, let me say. And aside this quaint fire, with embers glowing, and a lovely beverage at hand, I am moved to reminisce but for the heady days of yore. To hearken back to our time together, which goes way back today indeed, about five hours I should say. Nay, maybe six. Oh who am I kidding, I loved you at first sight, you know. When it was I saw you laying there, with all the other pork racks just like you, sprawled in one accord, in the cold, artificially lit compartments of the grocery aisle. Your fat cap was pronounced, and unashamed, illuminated in the soft fluorescent light, and your meatiness struck me just right. And you won me over there, like good ribs do, wrought from the hands of a balding butcher named Sam.

So with a courtship anew,I brought you home, and henceforth, like any pit crooner would, I made you my own. It didn’t go well at first. Nay, you were reluctant if you recall. Stripping thee of your gnarly membrane, which peeled in a fashion like that of industrial adhesive off an old tennis shoe. But we muddled through it alright. We made it there together. And then I trimmed you of your ill-flattering flaps, and squared you up a bit, a la the immortal St Louis cut, fashioning you at once presentable to thee. You looked svelte in the morning light, and eager with purpose. Indeed, you were destined for the smokey fires yet to come.

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Now whilst the smoker came up to speed, I bathed thee. Flushing your bone fragments clear under the cool streams of the kitchen sink. I think you kind of liked that, tho I’m not sure. Next I slathered you with a cheap, embarrassing mustard. It was cold, but you didn’t complain. Nary said a word, humbled in that yellow smear. For you and I both knew of the adhesive properties of a mustard base, and we were OK with it, by and far. And then, with delicate hands, I pampered your flanks with a litany of spice and rub, conceived the night prior, just for you. Patting you down, and around, and everywhere else, for to fortify the flavors most becoming of your shapely rack. It was good times, and the outlook was high. Stomachs rumbled on cue.

Ushering you to the smoker, it was my privilege to place you gently upon the oiled grate, bone-side down of course. There but to bathe you now, for three hours in the heady plumes of aromatic hickory and apple wood smoke. Ever stalwart, ever by your side, I tarried long in my reclining man chair, chin upon my chest. You were never far from my sight, beloved. Well sort of. That is until I fell asleep, I suppose, lulled to nap amid the succulent images of your forthcoming, which flirted asunder about the flickering emulsion of my mind. I awoke as if by instinct, eyes snapping open, prompted from above. I scampered pit side, your bones were showing now, and your meat had pulled back just right. And hence I swaddled you tenderly in aluminum foil, in the mild acquaintance of apple juice and a wee shot of honey, for to while away the next hour and a half, at 250 degrees. A sweet steam bath for the unruly likes concerning you. And never since had a set of ribs been so pampered. The swine who grew you would even nod in approval.

Lastly, with foil removed, I saw you there, tender, and falling apart. You wouldn’t win any awards, but for the one which took my stomach straight to church. For a good rack of ribs is much more than just supper in the belly. It is a relationship, you see. A journey. And every rack is a little different trip. Every trip takes time. And oh but to taste that first glorious bite, the venerable pit master privilege. Succulent and savory – the edible opus of spice and smoke and sweet time. And there in the slanting rays of the evening sun, you were declared worthy, and for a moment at least, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. So I held aloft your mahogany-tinted rack for all the world to see. For you are mine, and I have fairly loved you so…

And then of course I ate you. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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28 responses

  1. Ron Duke

    You Sir have an incredible skill at making me hungry every time I read your verse.
    Bless you and yours:)

    December 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm

  2. Liz

    lovely letter–need to read more of this! It’s a bit more racy than what you’ve written, but have you read Fifty Shades of Chicken? (real book, not being cheeky) It’s entertaining and the recipes look good, too. You are a gifted writer.

    December 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    • Crikies! Nope, haven’t read that one! Sounds entertaining tho.
      Thanks Liz!

      December 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm

  3. That was kinda hot. I feel dirty. And hungry. Cheers.

    December 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm

  4. O such beauty in words – such culinary poetry…

    December 29, 2014 at 1:03 am

  5. I think this is the first time I’ve ever craved ribs for breakfast. What a read!

    December 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

  6. Y’all crack me up! Hope you and your families had a Merry Christmas and here’s to a succulent New Year!

    December 29, 2014 at 8:30 am

    • Thank you, Kate. It was a great Christmas indeed. And the new Year has a succulent forecast I do believe. Like wise back to you and yours. And go Cowboys!

      December 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

  7. Suitable prose for any high school literature text!

    December 29, 2014 at 9:43 am

  8. *wipes tear from eye

    December 29, 2014 at 9:52 am

  9. That sounds almost pervy but my mouth is still watering… is that wrong?

    December 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm

  10. I too have been smitten by a love affair with a rack of ribs. Sadly, they have usually been a one-day affair.

    December 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  11. I just love the way you talk about meat. 🙂 You can totally tell it’s a passion. 🙂

    December 30, 2014 at 3:25 am

  12. Ditto to the comments above – But one thing I would like to add…

    I know people say that properly cooked ribs are not supposed to fall off the bone, but I do not care. I think they taste better and are easier to eat when they are falling off the bone good.

    Loved your prose and look forward to visiting with you via WordPress throughout the coming year. God Bless!

    December 31, 2014 at 11:53 am

    • Thanks, John, appreciate that. I’m with you, good is good, where ribs are concerned. The only time people frown upon falling off the bone ribs is within the highly nit picking world of competitive BBQ. A place most of us will never venture. Their reasoning, I assume, is because a rib still clinging to the bone some takes more skill to cook than one that is falling apart.

      For the rest of us mere mortals, may our ribs long fall to pieces. Amen.

      Happy New Year, John and Mary in Ecuador!

      January 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

  13. Amen!

    December 31, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  14. Ha. I can only imagine you holding that ma-hog-ony (I crack myself up sometmes) rack aloft ala “The Lion King” and giving it a name. All kidding aside, you’ve given me pause to think about a St Louis rack. I always go with baby backs, but I sure like the meaty look of a fine St Louis cut. I also never foil – although I know that the 3-2-1 method is quite popular. How does that work out for you? BTW, Loved the post. Stay warm, mighty Patrons.

    January 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    • That’s funny you mention that. When I wrote that line, the imagery of the lion king was flashing about my mind, It was as corny as it gets, and I liked it!

      I have found two things to happen supremely well when I use the 3-2-1 method. Firstly, it always makes the meat tender and delicious. Every time. And secondly, it almost always over cooks the meat, least wise by competition standards. The old cliche “falls off the bone” line you hear in BBQ seems to go hand in hand with the 3-2-1 method. Least for me it does. But if you’re not trying to win any awards, who cares, good is good. Even so, in attempts to perfect the craft, I’ve modified the method some over the years, lessening the time spent in the foil, and that seems to help. Some times its even fun to forego the foil altogether, like you do, and live on the wild side! It all works, as you know.

      Take care, and Happy New Year to you and yours!
      -PotP

      January 2, 2015 at 9:45 am

  15. Oh, what a glorious, tender ode. I almost felt it was too personal for my eyes to read. I may never be able able to look at a rack of ribs again without blushing. ☺️ Happy New Year!

    January 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm

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