They get rubbed, they get sauced, they get smoked, they get judged, they get eaten. And then they’re ribs.

  1. Turning out a lip-smacking plate of barbecued ribs isn't as hard as you'd think. All it takes is a little know-how, nerves of steel, and a very special recipe.

    Slowly, my heart sinking, we inched past BAD BRYAN'S BUTT RUB, BUBBA'S GOT A TOP SECRET, THE DUCK STOPS HERE, tim & todd's we smoke but we don't inhale, and so good you'll think you died and went to texas. My eyes skittered from the signs to the hardware. One cooker must've been five feet high, in the shape of a Jack Daniel's bottle. Another was as big as a Civil War cannon and painted in flames. A third was wide enough to swallow a four-foot pig splayed out like Grandpa's overalls on a backyard clothesline. Many were so large you'd mistake them for trailers if you passed them on the highway. We braked at a grassy rectangle next to a lady wearing a shirt that read: i didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables.

    "Looks like as good a place as any," I said to my father, "for Custer's Last Stand."


The complete text of “Smokin’” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Esquire, July 1999

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