As I write this, my parents are coming up to visit my wife and me for the first time since we got married. It is a bit intimidating for me, really, as this will be the first time my folks have come to see me with me having a household and being a "grownup," but it is also quite exciting, as I am fond of my parents and am looking forward to their being here. That we will be celebrating their thirtieth anniversary while they are up only makes it better.
I know that I missed making a post on Memorial Day, and it is not at all because I devalue the contributions made by those who have served and who still serve. I believe I stated that rather decisively on Memorial Day 2010, at which time I made a substantial statement to that effect. No, I missed making the post because I was doing one of the things typical of householders, particularly those who come from the part of Texas that I do.
I was barbecuing.
I do not mean by that that I was cooking meat on a grill--although I did do that later in the day, flame-kissing close to three dozen hot dogs and a whole chicken. No, what I mean by "barbecuing" is that I was slow-smoking chunks of beef and pork, using an offset firebox to heat a chamber to 250-300 degrees F and filling that chamber with sweet hickory smoke. The beef I treated with salt and black pepper and cooked low, slow, and smoky for seven hours. The pork sat overnight in a composite of brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, garlic powder, ground cloves, and ground allspice, and it cooked in six. The dozen or so people who came by all enjoyed what they got to eat, but since they were all excellent guests and therefore brought stuff over, we had a lot of food remaining at the end of the night.
It made for good meals yesterday and into today.
A few of the guests asked me about my methods for cooking the meat. I am happy to discuss such things, although I cannot claim originality for any of it. Those desiring to get a good take on the history and methodologies* of Texas-style smoking can find a good treatment in the books of Robb Walsh. Those desiring to launch in will do well to start small, getting a barrel smoker and working with London broil or pork tenderloins until they get the hang of how much smoke they like and how long they need to leave it--which will be longer than expected, I promise.
My wife and I are going to do this again. We are also looking into smoking peppers and cheese; both seem like they will be fun to try, and if they work, well, that's that much less I need to get special at the grocery store...
*Yes, plural. Texas is a big state full of proud people, and they do not all agree on the best way to go about setting up a spread. Most of them are right.