Saturday, April 6, 2013

I Ate Ribs, and They Had Bones in Them

It's Day 6 of my 30 Days of Blogging. I don't know if anyone is enjoying it or not, although I have received feedback from one person that "it's boring. It's not funny. And they're too short. You're not investing enough energy in them." I'm still enjoying it, though, and I'm not a quitter, so today, for Day 6, I considered the words of my friend Ilona, who said:

new experiences, new foods, trying new ideas or thoughts

Ilona, I took your words to heart, and decided to do something completely new:

I ate pork ribs for the first time in my life today.

If you didn't already know this, I don't eat meat that has bones in it. I've never eaten a chicken wing, ribs, t-bone steak, ribeye, and have only eaten a bone-in porkchop once. That's once, ever, in my life, and I turn 38 this year. I have had chicken with bones in it maybe five times, total, and each time is a lengthy, distressing process where I pretty much dissect the chicken with a knife before eating it.

And don't even get me started on chicken that has skin on it.

I love barbecue, though, and I love pulled pork. Everyone always tells me that ribs are delicious, so I decided to finally give it a try now that I had a reason to just go ahead and do it.

I emailed Kristin earlier this week: "Hi. I need a favor on Saturday, and will buy you late lunch/early dinner. For my 30 Days of Blogging project my friend Ilona said that she likes it when I write about trying new things, so I want to go eat ribs and I need someone to take pictures of me doing so. Also, I need to know where one goes to eat ribs. Are you in?"

"You're going to buy me ribs? YES."

And that was that. We planned a time to meet today, and decided between two recommended restaurants. We settled on Dead End BBQ here in town because we've both had pulled pork from there and because everyone raves about it. On the way there, Kristin tried to prepare me:

"Now, it's theoretically possible to eat ribs with a knife and fork, but..."

"How else would you eat them?"

"You're gonna just have to use your hands. Like, tear the ribs apart with your hands, and then you kind of bite all the meat off."

"...what? I don't... what? With my hands?"

"They'll bring you napkins. And you'll need some for your face, too."

"My face?" Nothing can happen to the face, Kristin. That's the moneymaker.

"Well, the meat is super tender if they're good, so they'll be, like, falling off of the bone, but you'll get sauce and stuff on your face."

OK. Yeah. I'm trying new things. I'll eat with my hands. Yeah. It'll be fine.

Within minutes of sitting down, I had a half rack of ribs in front of me, with sides:

my rib dinner

One of the good things about eating at a barbecue place is that food is always ready, so you never wait long. Kristin offered some more advice, telling me that, "It's a lot of meat, so don't feel bad if you don't finish. They heat up really easily." I nodded, laid out my napkins, and Kristin got the camera ready.

I delicately picked at a rib:

Me, eating ribs (1)

Me, eating ribs (2)

Me, eating ribs (3)

and it was delicious.

Oh my God, it was like pulled pork on a stick. I immediately grabbed the other end of the rib, reservations about eating with my hands rapidly vanishing, so that I could inhale more of the soft tender barbecued meat into my mouth:

Me, eating ribs (4)

And then I fell into a carnivorous haze where nothing existed but hot meat that needed to fall into my mouth:

Me, eating ribs (5)

Me, eating ribs (6)

Me, eating ribs (7)

Me, eating ribs (8)

For a few minutes, I'm not sure I even breathed. The waiter came to bring me another Diet Coke and I was like, "THANKYOUOHGODTHISISSOGOOD!" and he was like, "Uh... I'm glad you're enjoying it..." as he slowly backed away from our table.

Kristin looked up at once point and asked, "Are you having some kind of rib-gasm?" and that was the moment when I realized that not only had I been tearing a ribcage apart with my bare hands and burying my face in it, but I was also making a series of Chewbacca-esque sounds while eating: "Mnnnn. Nnnnn. Errrrr. Mmmmm."

I even ate a spot of fallen barbecue off of my shirt rather than wipe my fingers on a napkin.

I cleaned my plate in less than twenty minutes:

finished lunch

and now I kind of want to go out to get more ribs sometime soon.


Erin said...

I've scared off a few servers in my day. You put a perfect creme brulee in front of me and I will enter a state of ecstasy. Good blog!

strong cookie. said...

I am loving these posts!!!!

Dee said...

Whoever said you're not putting enough effort in can STFU. It's your blog and you are writing something every day. Write what you want.

Jeannie said...

This my favorite Joel post EVER. I knew you would love ribs if you ever tried them! If we hit up Memphis again together, I am going to get you a treat - best ribs ever!!

Justin Bower said...

I had never had ribs as a child either. The first time I remember having them was on a dinner cruise on the Erie canal I took with my work team at ADT right after college. It was a weird thing to begin with, four underemployed college grads and our type A, leadershipspeak-spouting boss, going on this cruise on the Erie canal which is not a place one often goes on cruises on. The boat was serving ribs that night. I was somewhat heistant since 1) I was in dress clothes (we had come straight from work) 2) I didn't want to be super messy in front of my colleagues, and 3) I had not had ribs and didn't think I'd like them all that much.

One bite in and I was hooked. It was like the cartoons where the character sticks a whole ham in their mouth and then pulls out the clean bone in one motion. My boss, whoh scared me more than pretty much any other woman I'd ever know up until that point, jokingly said I'd have to hurry up or she would steal one of my ribs. I think I literally snarled at her like a cornered wolf.

nan said...

Catching up with your blog today, Joel. Enjoyed this post. Next time you are in NYS, try Brooks BBQ in Oneonta. (I know, I know, Dinasaur BBQ in Syracuse and Bob's BBQ in Homer, NY get all the love . . . but I was a vegetarian for 2 years until I went to Brooks, and then I fell off that veggie wagon for good. It is Am.Az.Ing.)

Anonymous said...

Go Joel, Go, Oh my I can almost taste those ribs!! Lovin it!

Marcheline said...

Congratulations on popping your bone cherry. Which sounds suspiciously like something else, but you know what I mean. Because there's no "r".