Memorial Day Ribs 2020

It’s Memorial Day weekend once again, and it’s time to make bbq ribs. This year is unique. It’s been 10 years since I started this tradition (yay), and we are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic (boo). Last year, you may recall, I made some good ribs. This year, the rain forecast for Sunday and Monday is threatening to wash out the smoker portion of our rib day so I’m cooking them on Saturday.

Ingredients

(Meat)
2 slabs (~6 lbs) of baby back ribs
2 Shiner Smokehouse sausages

(Rub)
4 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder

(Sides)
Potato Salad
Corn on the cob

(Condiments)
Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
3 A.M. Bobby Que Original barbecue sauce [my local favorite]
Sliced pickles
Sliced white onion
Sliced cheddar cheese

Cook

After 10 years I’m getting better at this part. Start with thawed (refrigerator temperature) ribs. Take the membrane off the bone and cover in a rub 1-2 hours before cooking. Cook uncovered ribs (bone side down) on a cooking sheet in the oven at 250° F for 2 hours. Wrap them with heavy duty aluminum foil, and cook for another 2 hours. Finish them uncovered with bbq sauce (in the oven or in a 250° F smokey grill) for up to 30 minutes; check them every few minutes.

Corn on the cob is easy: shuck, boil for 6 minutes, plate with butter and salt.

It’s Barbie’s tradition to cook the potato salad, and she’s not divulging any secrets today. She said it has potatoes, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, and onion.

I didn’t cook the sausage – 4 lbs of ribs seemed like enough – and it was.

Results

The potato salad had perfectly sized pieces of potato, and it was delicious. The corn on the cob was sweet, crisp and good. The ribs were tender and yummy (a little over cooked). Since I got the ribs on different days in May I got two brands: Indiana Kitchen (2.36 lbs) and Kroger Natural Ribs (2.47 lbs); couldn’t tell the difference when cooked.

Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise

With ever mounting deaths, scientists have been under pressure to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna, Inc., reported that they have developed a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe. Phase I testing (45 subjects) appears to elicit the kind of immune response capable of preventing the disease. There were no no serious side-effects after the first trial. Source: NPR

Phase II can start right away, and the company hopes to start phase III in early July.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

This new virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19. Source: Wall Street Journal. This is a serious disease – “a potential pandemic.” They think it originated in a (animal) market in Wuhan, China, on December 1, 2019. As of March 3, 2020, the WHO reports that there are 92,315 confirmed cases – 3,131 deaths; 60 cases in the US and 6 deaths.

The WHO and the CDC are monitoring the disease very closely, and they are taking measures to minimize the spread of the disease – no thanks to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, his appointed “White House coronavirus response coordinator.” Source: Politico.com

Countries like China (Wuhan specifically) have been shut down; affecting the global economy. Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, South Korean, Japan, and Iran have also been hit hard. There’s talk of a global recession if this goes on for too much longer. (President Trump says it will be over by April, because of the warmer weather.)

A big health concern is the massing of people: any place or event where people gather is considered dangerous. The Summer Olympics, scheduled to open in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, are in danger of being cancelled – or at best delayed for months. “March Madness” basketball tournaments might be played without fans. The Major League Baseball Opening Day is scheduled for March 26; they’re monitoring the situation.

Update 3/15/2020

Last week the WHO declared COVID-19 is a pandemic. Things are getting worse in the United States. Tomorrow, we’re starting to work-from-home and shelter-in-place for at least 1 week and possibly up to 8 weeks. It is already affecting the US economy, and we are looking at a global recession. Mnuchin dropped the “we could reach 20% unemployment” bomb, and the Fed cut rates to 0.0%. Smaller restaurants and retail shops in my town – and every city and town – are closing; health departments are mandating bars & restaurants close dining rooms. Some restaurants are adjusting – drive through, curbside, home delivery, etc.

Update 4/3/2020

Coronavirus map 4-2-2020
Coronavirus map April 3, 2020. Source: Johns Hopkins University.

As of now there have been 1,076,017 cases worldwide and 58,004 deaths (JHU map); 5,368 cases in Texas and 93 deaths (Texas DSHS). We’ve been ordered to continue to shelter-in-place until April 30.

Many States have postponed their Primaries until Summer. The 2020 Summer Olympics has been postponed until July 2021.

Update 4/15/2020

We are still stay-at-home/work-from-home, but there are signs that we will begin to “restart the economy” in phases in May.

Countries around the world are working to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic. Flattening the curve involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.

To date there have been 2,006,513 cases and 128,886 deaths worldwide (JHU map); 14,624 cases in Texas and 318 deaths (Texas DSHS).

Update 5/6/2020

Beginning in May, the President and the states’ governors were looking for ways to jump-start the economy – with coronavirus cases still increasing – and risking more American lives.

President Donald Trump fixed his course on reopening the nation for business, acknowledging that the move would cause more illness and death from the pandemic but insisting it’s a cost he’s willing to pay to get the economy back on track.

Source: Bloomberg.com

As of today there have been 3,688,635 cases worldwide and 258,051 deaths (JHU map); 1,205,138 cases in the United States and 71,078 deaths; 33,369 cases in Texas and 906 deaths (Texas DSHS).

On April 27, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued additional Executive Orders (GA-18) to continue the process of reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (still no bars) , retail shops, movie theaters, malls, museums and libraries, and one-man shops.

Texas A&M President Michael Young basically told everyone to continue to work-from-home until until further notice (probably through May, maybe through June), but he – and Chancellor Sharp – want to have campus open for the Fall 2020 semester; all summer classes/activities will be online.

Update 5/19/2020

As of today there have been 4,829,232 cases worldwide and 319,031 deaths (JHU map); 1,508,957 cases in the United States and 90,369 deaths; 48,693 cases in Texas and 1,347 deaths (Texas DSHS).

On May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-23) to expand reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (50% capacity), bars (25%), tattoo parlors, child-care, gyms (25%). At the end of May more restrictions will be lifted.

Update 6/1/2020