Monday, January 5, 2009

Friends, Fifths, Food, and Football

Despite the fact that all four NFL games this weekend ended in ways ranging from annoying (Eagles over Vikings) to upsetting (Chargers over Colts), it turned out to be a pretty darned good weekend in the end.
On Saturday (after heart-breaking, anger-inducing overtime NFL game) I had the pleasure of attending the annual Fifthmas get-together hosted by Micahoe and his housemates. (This was one of the pre-Christmas events that the snow had postponed.) Amdist the hanging out, chatting, and beverage-consuming was a White Elephant Fifth Exchange. The large number of chicks participating resulted in 90% of the bottles containging fruit-flavored alcohol of one form or another. After the only "good" bottles (Crown Royal and Tanqueray) were stolen away from me, (as tends to happen with good things in such gift exchanges) I ended up with a mediocre Nebbiolo, which I opened to share with my fellow partygoers in the spirit of Fifthmas. Nonetheless, the party was super fun and one of my hosts was even nice enough to share some of his personal stash of gin (which happened to be my very favorite brand) with me, so I can't complain.
Much to the dismay of Max (my driver), I was having so much fun that we ended up staying until past 1:30am, which made the next morning a bit difficult given that we had to wake up bright and early (in our respective homes, of course) to continue preparations for the Rib Cook-Off I was hosting on Sunday.
I had put the pork for Pulled Pork Sandwiches (above) into the oven before leaving for Fifthmas, but I still had to get up at 7am (pretty early for a kid like me who needs 8 hours of sleep every night to avoid crankiness and exhaustion) to pull it out of the oven and get my ribs going. (A quick aside about something that is a pet peeve of mine: "Barbecue" involves cooking meat at low temperature for long periods of time, while "Grilling" involves cooking meat over high heat. (I know Aussies are particularly baffled by this distinction, since they refer to grilling as "barbecuing" and to broiling in the oven as "grilling"...) If you have a set-up for doing actual barbecue then that's an awesome way to do ribs but if, like me and many of my friends, you only have a gas grill (thus can only "grill," not "barbecue") then you're going to want to slow-cook your ribs in a 250°F oven for 3-4 hours before throwing them on your grill to finish.)
The Rib Cook-Off turned out to be pretty darned fun and rather competitive. There were 6 entries which were quite varied, with three "traditional" entries and three entries that were more new-fangled. More traditional entries included my dad's First Prize Winning rack of baby backs (which are made with my mom's dry rub and my mom's barbecue sauce, yet are somehow still referred to as dad's), my (totally not First Prize Winning, labeled "Emmo's (2)" below) spare ribs with coffee in the dry rub and espresso in the barbecue sauce, and Dustin's Third Place baby backs cooked all proper and stuff in a smoker. Dustin also contributed some ridiculous homemade jalepeƱo poppers (stuffed with sausage, cream cheese, and cheddar, wrapped in bacon, and smoked) that blew several minds. In the less traditional category were Micahoe's spare ribs with red curry and pineapple (which were super-tasty and quite unique) and Max's apricot-pineapple baby backs (also really unique and delicious) which tied for Fourth Place, as well as my Second Place ginger-hoisin spare ribs (labeled "Emmo's 1" below) which I would love to give you the recipe for but can't since I just threw a bunch of stuff together until it tasted right, so there you go...
It was a lot of fun getting together with my Portland friends, eating some fantastic food that everyone contributed to, and watching some mediocre football. I know I'm going to love being back in Boston and that I'll (eventually) make friends over there, but sometimes I wish there were fun jobs for a kid like me in Portland so that I wouldn't have to live thousands of miles away from these awesome people.


outdoorgriller said...

That looks good, you cooked a lot of food and I love to grill.If you want more recipes or if you want to take a look at the collection of tips I have for grilling you can visit

Max Power said...

Boy, us guys did a lot of cooking last weekend. I love to grill. If you want more recipes or grilling tips, you can go to my website,

emmo said...

Man... I was just logging on to delete that spam comment, but Max is so freaking hilarious that I think I'm going to have to leave it. =)