Tears of BBQ Sauce

Jordan Aaron // New York, NY

The author as a child (far right) with his three older brothers.

As a young and innocent nine-year-old, my older brothers and de-facto babysitters decided to take me out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

I attended a religious Yeshiva until I was thirteen and lasted the longest of my three older brothers. The oldest lasted two days, the next one never made it and the third brother was expelled after two years because he pulled down his friend’s pants during morning services. Our traditional Conservative Jewish household adhered to a lenient kosher style mantra, and I was a treyf virgin.

At Outback I ordered the baby back ribs, and before I knew it, I was staring face to face with the ribs that I presumed to be the same as the kosher beef ribs I so enjoyed when cooked at home. I went in head first. My face and clothes were camouflaged with BBQ sauce. I took breaks only to breathe.

After ten minutes of devouring these ribs, I sat back and innocently said with a smile, “Guys these ribs are fantastic. Why don’t Mom and Dad cook them like this?”

My brothers looked at each other, giggled, then said in unison, “because they are pork.”

I started to sniffle. I thought to myself, how will God punish me? Then tears rolled down my cheeks, mixed with the barbecue sauce and then flowed into my mouth. My brothers looked at each other, looked at my plate, then asked uncouthly, “are you going to finish those?” and proceeded to eat my plate of ribs.

To this day, whenever we have ribs (which we do every so often together), we recount the story of Jordan’s first baby back ribs that ended with BBQ Sauce tears.

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