Cleveland Follies: Part One, The Rib Cook-Off
Cleveland use to host an annual rib cook-off in the summer. It was a great attraction. Restaurants and armature chefs would come out and show their stuff. Not only did they cook ribs, they also made their own sauce. Some were sweet, while others were very, very hot. A friend of mine (we will call him Bill) won two tickets to the event, and invited me to attend with him.
The tickets paid for the cover charge and gave us each $20 on a swipe card to spend. You could get one rib for $1. You could also by drinks. The first thing I saw once we were in the gates was a Jack Daniels stand. Being the whiskey drinker that I am, I bought one. I took one sip (keep this in mind, it will come into play later). Bill did not drink, so he drove.
We made our way to the first rib stand. We each ordered one rib and swiped our cards. I saw five large dispensers of sauce. Each was labeled. I saw a label that said HOT and had a skull with crossed bones. I poured some of the sauce into the paper tray they gave me. The guy working the stand gave me the warning that its very hot. I cockily said, I know.
Bill and I went over to a table and got ready to try the ribs out. He had no sauce on his. I spooned some of my death sauce onto my rib, covering the whole thing. I picked it up, and my fingers started to burn. I thought to myself, This could be great, or end badly. I took a look at my Jack Daniels, still full to the rim, but did not drink. I brought the rib up to my mouth. My lips started to burn once they touched the sauce. My gums, tongue, and entire mouth started to burn as I bit into the rib. It burned all the way down. I began to sweat, and my ears began to burn. It was amazing (assuming you like hot stuff as I do).
I looked to my buddy, Bill, and told him to try some. He used my spoon to put a small amount on his rib. He took one bite. It looked as if he were a cartoon character eating something hot. His eyes bugged out and he gave a primal scream. He grabbed my Jack Daniels (the very one that Ive only taken one sip of) and pounded the whole thing. It was all gone in one gulp. He slammed the cup down to the table and the few ice cubes flew out. My JD was gone. I felt as if I were Gollum and Frodo had just destroyed my precious. I looked at Bill and could see that he was still in pain. I asked him if he was ok. He said yes, but asked if Id drive home. No problem.
We continued through the afternoon feasting on ribs and specially made sauces. Neither of us tried very hot sauce anymore. Now this took place several years ago. Since that day, Bill has acquired a taste for alcohol. When I went home last, he asked me to come over. He and I drained a bottle of JD Single Barrel. Who knew death sauce would make a man like whiskey?