Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Ribs, Ribs, and more Ribs
The results are in! I survived my first rib cook-off as a competitor (see previous post) and came back with the 2nd place trophy. My cousin Patrick won again, even while admitting that his ribs were not up to par this year so one has to wonder how he pulled off another victory. I didn't get to try his ribs this year so I can't say I know if he should have won or not. Maybe I should start my own rib cook-off so I can win every year.......just kidding Pat!
One thing is for sure.....the ribs were all really good this year. There was a great variety from all those who participated, and I got to try many different entries. I tried one that had a strong taste of rosemary and other herbs which is unusual for ribs in this kind of setting but was a refreshing change from the expected.
My brother-in-law Joe took 3rd behind me and I think my sister is done talking for a while, at least until next year. After taking my trophy, Michelle asked me in all humility, "you'll never let me live this down, will you?" For her sake, as well as Joe's bruised ego, I hope next year they'll be cooking some ribs with a side of humble pie. I may have talked big but I was actually surprised that I placed among the top; in all honesty, my only plan was to beat Joe. I was in the back of the house changing Gavin when I started hearing the yelling and then was summoned to come out and claim my 2nd place trophy.
I know I surprised a lot of people with my ribs, which is a good thing. On the other hand, it's also confusing because I'm known to be a good cook at most things but I was treated like the ultimate underdog. Everything I did, from the grill I was using to the low heat of the coals, was ridiculed by nearly all of the others as if I had no idea what I was doing. The ultimate revenge was knowing what fools they all must have felt like as I accepted my trophy.
They say "second place is the first loser" but it's hard to feel like a loser when your ribs are picked second best from a pool of about 15 entries and they're all really good. If this was the Rib Olympics, I'd be taking home a Silver Medal.
Michelle made a good point afterwards by telling my dad that Joe and I learned everything from him and now we've beaten him, to which he replied "they learned from the best." I may have learned a lot about cooking from my dad, but these ribs are my sole creation and they will continue to evolve every year. I know what I need to do in order to take the first place trophy next year and now I've proven myself a worth contender. However, for the sake of my wife's sanity there will be no rib talk until next May.
Above all, this rib cook-off is really more about having a great time with family and friends than it is about winning. Everyone who comes to enjoy the day is a winner whether they leave with a trophy in their hands, or just a bunch of stuff to clean.