Commencement Ribs

About a week ago, I started planning on something special to eat while watching the bears play the night game on Sunday. It would also happenthat the Cards would also be playing that night. And then, on Saturday, we bought a new couch, which meant that Sunday would be my last day with my old couch.

We had been talking about getting a new couch for a while. With a baby on the way, we figured we would need a pullout couch so that in-laws would have something more comfortable than an air mattress for those longer visits. So I knew this day was coming.

Now, any decision involving furniture or home decor takes ages for my wife and I. Normally, we move achingly slow. But this time, in just 8 short hours, we looked at, reviewed, debated, discussed, re-reviewed, and then pulled the trigger on a new couch.


It wasn’t until the couch got delivered the next day, and even then, it wasn’t until after I finished assembling it (ikea), that it hit me just how attached I was to the old couch. We bought our old couch in 2004. Back then, the most advanced phone you could buy was made by compaq.

It’s weird when you think about it, but we’ve had this couch for 7 years. That makes it just about as old as our marriage and our dog – combined. I have more nieces and nephews that are younger than this couch than the other way around. I’ve had celebratory drinks on that couch. And I’ve had mournful drinks on it.

On that couch is where I learned to cook. It is the first big thing my wife and I ever bought together. And I can’t tell you how many meals I’ve eaten at it or naps I’ve taken on it.

In the winter time, my wife and I will lay down and snuggle together on it. And the dog will sleep underneath us. The new couch doesn’t have such a space.


I instantly remembered an old Cosby episode where Claire tried to get rid of their old couch. And Cliff took a special moment to say goodbye to it. That couch was the scene of one of my favorite Cosby clips of all time – the one where he calls a meeting of the Huxtable Men’s Club, an organization whose sole purpose was to eat hoagies. Man, they sure did love their hoagies on that show.

Commencement Ribs Recipe (oven):

1. Rub it: I put my usual rub on the ribs – Famous Dave’s Rib Rub. But this time, I also experimented and rubbed half the ribs in yellow mustard first. I had to cut the rib rack in half so as to better thaw it from the freezer, so having the two rib rack halves would make it easy to compare the differences in preparation.

2. Bake it: wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil. Set them on a baking tray and bake at 300 for 2.5 hours.


3. Bake it some more: open up the foil and bake the ribs at 400 for twenty minutes. (the ribs that were rubbed only are on the left in the photos. The ones that got mustard and rub are on the right). This was a good time to put some tater tots in the oven. They happen to need to be baked at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, too.

4. Baste it: paint on some barbecue sauce and put the ribs back in for another ten minutes.


5. Eat it: these ribs made me very happy. Not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly the best I’ve ever made.


I preferred the ribs that had gotten mustard and rub treatment. They were juicier and more plump. They were also fattier.


The ribs that for rub-only were less fatty, as more of the fat was able to cook off. But this also intensified the pork flavor of the ribs, which caused my wife to describe the rub-only ribs as “porkier.” Such a description is not typically a compliment from my wife. We each agreed, however, that we like both ways, and so I will henceforth be cooking them both ways do as to give ourselves a little bit of a rib sampler.



Filed under recipes

2 responses to “Commencement Ribs

  1. Mmmm….Ribs and Tots….Can I hire you to cook for me for a couple weeks?

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