Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I've taken up smoking

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?

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