I made ribs today.
I say I made them today because it was an all-day affair. I smoked them in the Little Chief smoker along with the last of the brined beef from when I made jerky recently. (See previous post.)
I made a rub of salt and pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder and Chinese Five-Spice powder. I removed the strip of tendon or whatever it is on the underside of the ribs, and then I rubbed the...well, the rub...all over the ribs, which I'd divided into two sections, the better to fit them inside the Little Chief.
They went in at 9:15 this morning.
At 3:30 I took the ribs out (the beef jerky-to-be is still in there as I type this) and put them in the oven, which was set at 225 degrees F.
At just before 6:00, Bill mopped some barbecue sauce on them and put them back in the oven for another fifteen minutes.
They looked great. Not falling-off-the-bone, but pulling away from the bone and definitely tender and flavorful.
Alex had three, along with baked beans and a bit of mashed potatoes.
Bill asked Alex how the ribs were, and Alex...well, he didn't answer. He made a little noise while he chewed, and looked thoughtful, but he said nothing.
Bill asked him again. "Alex, how did you like Mommy's ribs?"
Alex still looked thoughtful, though, and a bit trapped.
Finally he said, "They're not as bad as they taste."
I looked at Bill; we both looked at Alex. He looked like he didn't know how to say what he meant, but that was kind of sort of somehow somewhere close in a weird way but not exactly.
He still looked trapped.
I tossed him a rope. "Not as good as Daddy's, were they." I said to him. I knew he just didn't want to say it himself.
He got that worried, concerned little look he gets...a little furrow between his brows...when he doesn't want to say anything hurtful.
And then he said, his sweet blue eyes bright with care and sympathy, "Well...Dad's been cooking ribs a lot longer than you have, Mom...Ribs are his food."
He worked so hard to be honest while trying, at the same time, not to hurt my feelings.
My feelings have never felt better.