The REAL reason I visit my family

Twice a year I pack Mrs. Wife and The Daughters into the car and drive 480 miles from New Jersey to Cleveland to visit my family. I’d do it more frequently if I had more time off. We get along splendidly and the Daughters are crazy about their cousins. The days leading up to the trip, it’s all they talk about.

But there’s an underlying motivation for my efforts. Something that is unsaid but understood by all. Do you know what’s in this measuring cup?


This witch’s brew is my brother-in-law’s special bar-b-que sauce. I don’t know it for a fact, but I believe it contains a mysterious element that give it an addictive quality. It should be criminal to own it. Once poured over three racks of baby back ribs, you are powerless against it’s allure.


I’m not supposed to spread this around but fuck it. My readership isn’t that great. The ribs are first treated with a special dry rub of powdered garlic, powdered rotisserie chicken seasoning, paprika, white cane sugar, onion powder and Uncle Charlie’s Cajun spices. They’re allowed to marinate for a while and then tossed into an oven for two hours at 265, low heat being the key.

Then they’re slapped onto a grill and a wet rub is generously applied. The wet rub contains fresh garlic, honey, a half can of beer and Sweet Baby Ray’s bar-b-cue rib sauce. Then, the excruciating wait.


Approximately :20 minutes later they’re done. They’re CAREFULLY lifted off the grill because, at this point, the meat is falling off the bone. It takes a delicate touch. You need someone with the hands of a skilled surgeon. This isn’t a job for amateurs. That’s why I stay the hell out of his way.

Just look at them in all their grilled perfection. It brings a tear to my eye. I’m an evolved human being. I can understand why someone would choose to be a vegetarian. Actually, that’s not true. I have no idea why anyone would deny themselves this succulent, singular pleasure.


Garnish with homemade potato salad and cole slaw. Resistance is futile. Feel free to lick your monitor. Welcome to August in Cleveland.


23 thoughts on “The REAL reason I visit my family

  1. Who could resist baby back ribs? Give your brother-in-law a round of applause from hubby and me. Those ribs looks good enough to try to make them ourselves here. Enjoy your visit with your family.

  2. TechnoBabe sent me this post, and I’m carefully stealing all the information needed to make our fall and winter (way hard to cook outdoors in August here) ribs look, smell, and taste as good as these apparently do. Yum!

  3. Thanks for this! My 12 yr old son is a rib connoisseur. Question though – how long in the oven and at what temp. If you’re gonna give the secret, it must be exact!

  4. TB: Bro-in-law was, indeed, given much respect, ovations and loud belches.MT: You have a lot to live up to with the pasta dish but I had a preview and you have nothing to worry about.James: Welcome! FYI the ribs were in the oven at 265 for 2 hours. Low heat is, apparently, the key.ZM: Please see the above comment for time/temp. I’ll have bro-in-law proof my post for accuracy.Pat: Would love to have had you over for a half a slab. Long commute, though.

  5. That’s what i’m talking about, we may not have a sports title to yak about but Cleveland is a great place, you done the hometown proud and those ribs look effin delicious.

  6. You are so funny. And a good food photographer. I was honest to goodness thinking, as I was reading this, just before I got to the vegetarian part, that it was too bad I was a vegetarian.For real, not kidding.I was really thinking this and I really am a vegetarian.Then I got to your remark and had to laugh.:)

  7. I can’t believe you’re going to the Berea fairgrounds…sniff sniff! That’s where I’m from, about 5 seconds to the West, in Middleburg Hts. Have a great time and say hey to my Mom. Those ribs look fantastic!

  8. Sorry sweets but your post doesn’t say the time or the temperature to keep in the oven. It’s that ubiquitous step before they are slapped on the grill. Either that, or I truly am blind in my old age.

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