The more I appreciated mood barbecue as I grew older, the more I appreciated my father.
He would smoke beef ribs every once in a while when I was growing up. While my mom and I went to Mass on a Sunday morning, he’d start the offset smoker. I could see the smoke in the backyard by the time we came home. For the next few hours, I went back and forth from the backyard to the kitchen. Outside, I kept an eye on the thermometer and nudged the wood with my dad. Inside, I helped my mom make potato salad and a loaf of fresh Italian bread from a Southern Living cookbook.
Dad and I held the ribs in the smoker for a couple of hours and finished them in the oven, while the potato salad chilled in the fridge and bread cooled on top of the stove. In those days, our family budget was tight, so beef ribs were a rare treat.
Many years later, when I became a father myself and my mom had passed away, I began smoking ribs on Father’s Day.