By Friday, the fever pitch is nearly at its bursting point. The workday’s best day of the week, the harbinger of the weekend, and it seems like the day lasts for an eternity. After all, it is almost game day.
For me, football fan-aticism is a fairly new emotion. You see, I grew up in northeastern Oregon. The state has no NFL team, and even though many will be quick to chime in, “but you have the Ducks”, referring to the University of Oregon’s furious flock, when I was growing up, they were as intimidating as… well, a duck.
So even though I grew up playing backyard football and got all grass stained nearly every recess; even though I played jr. high & high school football; and despite watching the NFL games as a second helping of Sunday service, I can’t say I grew up a fanatic.
Not like I’ve seen those who’ve grown up in a serious football culture, whether it be NFL or college football.
Take one example: last year in Nashville, Diane and I were standing line waiting to board the bus to haul everyone over to the night’s Grand Ole Opry show and we’re chatting it up with the couple behind us. Several minutes into the conversation the husband politely excuses himself.
He makes his way over to a complete stranger and greets him, “Roll Tide”. The stranger extends the “roll Tide” wishes back, and then the husband quietly makes his way back over to us and continues the conversation without a hitch. Anyone who has seen the ESPN “Roll Tide” commercial would be rolling, and here I wast thinking ESPN was exaggerating the “roll Tide” culture for a little commercial comedy. However sometimes life is funny enough you just have to show it as is.
Today I have my adopted team, not having one rooted in family blood. My week is filled with Patriot hopes, speculations, and rooting. A loss leads to several days of mourning while a win lifts the spirits throughout the whole week. Friends who are a rival team’s fanatic get a hefty dose of taunting after a beat down, while those who express disregard for our teams stars or coach roll off the back like rain hitting an armadillo. Normally not the chatty type, I can ramble for hours with other football fans; commiserating, teasing, sharing hopes and recognizing rivalries.
Just like the “Roll Tide” husband, friendships will be quickly formed with those of the same loyalty. There is that instant fist thumping over the heart understanding. “I get you, man” or “dudette” as the case may be. After all fandom isn’t limited to the boys. There are girls which are just as hardcore football fans as any of the boys. One of the most passionate fans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing is a female New England Patriot fanatic.
Rachael is one of those who grew up with pigskin in her blood. First time Diane and I met with her, our intended ½ hour coffee meeting lasted over a couple hours after the talk turned to football and puppies. She’s been dear to our hearts ever since. Rachael was lucky enough to win a bet last year with her boyfriend (huge Raven fan) regarding the naming of their future puppy and soon there will be an adorable pup prancing around New York named Brady.
Chatting, texting, Facebooking, and tweeting with her over the NFL season introduced me to another level of fandom insanity which I had only seen on tv. This chick is Patriot-Brady-Gronk crazy and I love it. There’s nothing like having a comrade in arms over the football season.
So as all of us fans deal with our weekly emotional roller coaster as our teams win and lose, here a pork rib recipe to gnaw on. After all, ribs are one of the perfect dude (or dudette) game day foods.
This is a tender fall off the bone rib recipe which is done in the oven. We usually use St. Louis cut spare ribs but the recipe will work great for any spare rib or baby back rib cut. The sauce is made to have a balance between the sweetness of the hoisin with the spice of the sriracha sauce. They aren’t devilishly spicy, however if that is your preference, up the sriracha amount or sub in another spicier sauce. We will often use our homemade sriracha sauce which we’ve spiced up with the garden’s habaneros and devil peppers. Zesty!
First the ribs wrapped in foil with with apple juice and salt & pepper, and then roasted for an hour. While they roast I’ll make the sauce although you could always make the sauce days in advance. It keeps quite well. After the first hour of roasting, open up the foil and brush the ribs with the sauce, roast for 45 minutes, brush again, roast 45 minutes more, then brush one more time. If you like you can run them under the broiler for a couple minutes to give them a little singe.
I must say, these ribs are bad-ass. Moist, tender, almost fall off the bone but with just enough bite not too, slightly sweet with a spicy tingle afterglow. Grab a beer and turn on the tube. Game’s on! And remember, “It isn’t crazy, it’s sports”.
Making Siracha-Hoisin Glazed Ribs
Cut the racks in half to help make them more manageable.
Create foil “boats” out of a double layer of foil.
After the first hour, brush both sides of ribs with glaze.
Keep foil sides upright to keep the juices surrounding the ribs.
Yield: Serves 4-6
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
We usually make these with the St.Louis cut spare ribs. They are a nice meaty rib with a good balance of meat to bone. You can make them with any cut though, just adjust the baking times if needed. These aren't especially spicy, just giving a hit of spice as an afterglow, so if spice is your thing add a little extra sriracha or toss in another devilish hot sauce. We will often use our homemade sriracha sauce which we personally zing up with habaneros and Goat's Weed peppers. The recipe is based off two average St. Louis cut rack of ribs (@ 3 pounds each). We will usually just make the glaze as the ribs are cooking in the first hour, but you can always make it days ahead of time if needed. The ribs also reheat very well in the oven. Keep them wrapped in foil and reheat at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until warm, and then broil & serve. It is nice and easy to make the ribs the night before and re-heat on game day.
Preheat oven to 350°F.