For Father’s day this year, my wife got me a charcoal grill and smoker- something that I had wanted for a while. I had never once in my entire life cooked with, or even eaten food cooked with charcoal, but had chicken that was and knew I needed to have one.
|No, got-dangit! Taste the meat, not the heat!|
My inaugural meal on the grill was the old standby- ribs. While I have no photographic proof, you’ll have to take my word that they were fantastic. It really isn’t that hard to get a charcoal grill going, but it is a little disorienting cooking without a flame, only heat. I was using the charcoal that already had the lighter fluid in it, and getting it started was a breeze.
|Gimme some of that mmm mmm good, meat falls of the bone...baby i'm hongry, i said baby you hongry?|
After doing the ribs, I wanted to try burgers, which were delicious. I mixed in some A1 steak sauce with the beef and grilled them. I’m pretty sure I could never go back to gas grilling!
|Artist's depiction of a burger|
The real test came when I wanted to smoke something. I initially tried smoking some chicken, but had no idea what I was doing. I had the wrong kind of wood, didn’t soak it, etc. It turned out ok, but was very wasteful when it came to how I actually proceeded. This time, I bought a really nice looking pork loin, some applewood chunks, and I was ready to roll.
|One yummy pork loin|
Soaking the wood was something I didn’t know you were supposed to do, but it makes sense- otherwise the wood burns too quickly and you don’t get any smoke. Well, very little smoke, and for a very short time. So the wood was soaking, and I made a simple rub for the pork, consisting of sea salt, red wine salt, black pepper, onion powder and seasoned salt.
I had read that you want to slow-cook the pork, and that required a lower heat. I lit the briquettes, then added the wet applewood to the top and let them start to smolder. I kept the heat inside of the grill around 200 (occasionally spiking to 250 when I wasn’t paying really close attention…) and occasionally freshened the wood chips. With about 30 minutes left, I put on a coat of Open Pit BBQ sauce. For what I wanted, which was basically just to have a glaze, it was perfect. As the pork neared completion, the sauce turned to a dark, sweet glaze. The aroma wafting up from the grill was damn near indescribable. As my wife put it, the whole yard smelled like the fair.
|What's wrong with the license plate? I should get that looked at.|
It took about 3.5 hours from start to finish. I had to add a couple of pieces of charcoal, and I found some chicken quarters in my fridge and tossed them on the grill as well.
|Do not drool on your keyboard (or iPhone or Android...)|
I wish I could show you picture of everything plated….but I was so excited to carve into the pork loin that I didn’t get any pictures. If you don’t have a smoker, you really should get one. It opens a smoky door to another smoky world. I can’t wait to try more! Anyone out there have any recommendations? Wood type, meats, etc?