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Ribs are Like Hope – Try a Little Tenderness

When it comes to music, you might think about Otis Redding (1) or Three Dog Night (2) and their rendition of Try a Little Tenderness. But the interesting thing is that it was written and first recorded way back in 1932! Even Bing Crosby covered it in 1933.

Yes, in relationships, it’s all about tenderness. And the same can be said when it comes to ribs. Everyone loves tender ribs. Novice and experts alike agree. If the meat is not tender, then the ribs are not cooked.

But then we come to a fork in the road. Should ribs be “fall off the bone” tender? There are two schools of thought.


The vast majority of people want their ribs “fall off the bone” tender. This is why just about every restaurant chain serves only “fall off the bone” ribs. It’s on the menus, it’s on their commercials. They can’t say enough about their ribs being “fall of the bone” tender. This is good for restaurants because ribs separate from the meat at an internal temperature somewhere between 190 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit (87 – 96 Celsius.)


Professional pitmasters and competition enthusiasts all agree that ribs shouldn’t be fall-off-the-bone tender. If the meat falls off the bone, it’s overcooked. It should have a little pull, a little chew to it. On the other hand, if the meat doesn't pull away from the bone, it’s undercooked.

We can all agree that ribs must be tender. But how tender is up for discussion, debate, and disagreement.

We can also all agree that everyone needs hope. But one person’s hope may not be another person’s cup of tea when it comes to hope.

Don’t force your assumptions about hope down the throat of someone else. Ask questions, look for their reaction and words.

When it comes to sharing hope, we all need to “try a little tenderness.”

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