The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The Smoke Off (that's 'off', not 'out', People, keep it clean)

Whew! It’s been utter chaos around here for the Labor Day weekend. I showed properties for 11 million hours a day and then dashed home to attend various parties and BBQ events. Basically by the time Tuesday rolled around I had a raging food/party/work/no sleep hangover. But let me tell you, it was all worth it. Friday I’ll post some fun showing details, but today, I’d like to discuss the food. Mmmmm… food…

The various men in my family (minus my brother, who is currently a fancy-pants San Franciscan but plus our ‘brother from another mother’, Todd) have been debating lately who makes the best smoked meat. Clearly this is a man-thang. I like smokey meat as well as the next carnivore, but I really have no desire to spend 6 hours sitting in a lawn chair in 108 degree Arizona sun monitoring what is basically a cylindrical space heater full of meat. But in a room filled with my husband, my father, my brother-in-law-to-be and my brother-from-another-mother, I would be alone in this opinion. So they decided the only way to settle the ongoing debate would be to hold a Labor Day BBQ rib ‘smoke-off’. And that is what they did.

The Competitors - John, Todd, Jason and JT

Each man had to prepare a rack of babyback ribs and his own, homemade BBQ sauce. We all voted on best rib, best sauce, and best rib/sauce combo.

The Ribs

I was extremely impressed with the selection of meats. Each had different flavor and texture, and none was in any way unyummy. I told Todd after I found out that his was the rib with the crispy black crust and smokey-sweet flavor that I didn’t think I would like the black stuff, but I did, it was really fabulous. He replied, ‘That’s what they all say, Sweetheart, that’s what all the ladies say.’ Because he’s Todd.

Sarah, 36 or so months pregnant, explaining the rules.

We put my sister, Sarah, in charge of putting out the ribs and explaining the directions to everyone. This was because she’s a vegetarian and wasn’t participating in the tasting portion (so that it could remain blind) and because she’s a teacher and a mom-to-be and really good at bossing everyone around.

Wouldn't this be a cute picture of my sister and me if only my sister didn't have her eyes closed? That's why you always take at least two, MOM.

After everyone had voted the results came in as such:

Best Rib: Tie – JT and Todd
Best Sauce: Tie – Jason and John
Best Rib/Sauce Combo:

The Big Man won it! That's right, JT, my dad took home the big prize.

Which, you know, makes sense. He does have the most experience out of all of the competitors. In life. (Because he’s old, get it?) Nah, but really, his ribs and sauce were excellent and flawless. It was a tough win, but he deserved it.

Although, it is possible that my sister rigged the voting. It had a bit of a storybook outcome, you know. Everyone wins, no hurt feelings. She is flooded with mothering hormones and instincts right now, I’m just saying.

Eventually worn out from all of the bossing and vote-rigging, the head judge needed a nap.

My culinary contribution to the meal was a side of Smashed Potatoes. That’s right, ‘smashed’, not mashed. And I forgot to take a picture, but basically it goes like this:

Small red potatoes
Fresh parsley
Garlic powder

Boil the potatoes, whole, until soft. Smash potatoes with the back of a spoon directly out of the water and toss into a large bowl with butter, salt and parsley and finish off with garlic powder and a couple of shakes of vinegar. It’s kind of a cross between mashed potatoes and a potato salad. And it’s all ‘to taste’. It’s super fast, easy and yum.

This is my youngest with my brother's wife's mother, Diane (so sort of a mother in-law?). Jonas has never looked so angelic or smiled so well for a picture before. This was immediately before he went and found my mother's favorite ceramic bell, snuck out the front door and threw it into the fountain in their front yard, shattering it. Demonic possession - sometimes it just happens, Mom, what can I say?

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