Warning – this post is rated MLO (Meat Lovers Only). This post may contain images that are disturbing to vegetarians.
(Inhaling and holding my breath) Here, you want some of this? It’s good
Don’t you think it is funny when people inhale and try to talk while holding the smoke in their lungs? I do. Think it’s funny, I mean. I don’t actually inhale anything, but I have friends who do.
Over the years (or months if that’s how long you’ve known me) you have undoubtedly asked yourself this very question “What has that girl been smokin’?” Well, today I intend to answer that question because (cough, cough, cough – exhale) inquiring minds want to know. This, dear ones, is what I am smoking today.
"Rubbed and Resting"
Yep, that’s right. Pork butt. Whole chicken. Beef roast. Sausages (as in Jimmy Dean pork sausage rolls). And it smells heavenly. As does my hair from tending the little square smoker out on the patio.
Shelby watches over the smoker - drooling at the lovely smell.
Every time I smoke something (food – I mean FOOD, people), my husband asks me if I wrote down the recipe for the rub I used. So I ask him, “When you make love to a beautiful woman do you need a recipe?” I see him struggle to come up with the best possible answer for that one, (What would the best answer for that question be, anyway?) So I answer the question for him. “Of course, you do”.
Then I realize that is not a good analogy, since I don’t have a recipe. So I try again to answer the question for him. “No, you go to the store and buy something you know will do the trick!” Again the analogy is not quite right.
I’m just kidding, folks. I don’t send him to the store for a dry rub for my meat, I make my own. Uh, oh, I can see where your minds are going with that one.
Okay, okay. So smoking stuff does not make me funnier (or even funny, for that matter). But my rub recipe goes something like this. Stand in front of the pantry door that is covered with little racks of spices. Get a bowl and toss in some brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, dry mustard, salt, freshly ground black pepper, a dash of cayenne, some allspice and a little cumin. Don’t measure and don’t even guess how much of each ingredient is added, just add according to your own preference for each.
Flatten out (butterfly) a whole chicken. What? You don’t know how to flatten out a whole chicken? Watch this video
Or, if that link isn’t working (I couldn’t get Word Press to embed the video) – Get your kitchen scissors and cut down both sides of the backbone, pull it out and save it, with the giblets, for making stock. Then open up the chicken, rinse it off, and dry with a paper towel. Then rub your special rub all over it, and all over the pork and beef roasts, as well. Roll your sausage rolls in the spice rub. Let them set for an hour or so, basking in their lovely rub, to bring them to room temperature.
Slap everything on the preheated little smoker. Chicken takes about an hour per pound – keeping the temperature in the smoker between 225 and 250. So my 5+ pound chicken will be done in about 5 hours. The roasts will cook a bit longer. The sausages about 3 hours. I’ll check with a meat thermometer to ensure things are done before I start pulling them off.
Keeping a little fire burning
Sometimes, I have been known to sit on the patio with liquid refreshments because I need to keep track of the smoker, and let’s face it – we all need fluids. This is work, people. Serious, hot, smoky work done from my Zero Gravity reclining lawn chair with a drink in my hand.
Image via Wikipedia
Mine is a charcoal smoker, so I add charcoal briquets (without the nasty lighter fuel on it – gack!!), natural charcoal (which is already burned wood – who knew you could buy already burned wood!!), and chunks of hardwood (hickory) throughout the day.
Supplies needed, in addition to lime juice, tequila, and salt
I check the coals every 1/2 hour or so, and add water to the water bowl as needed. The water keeps things from drying out. I keep a pan of water on top of the smoker so it is pretty well heated up when I add it (otherwise, adding cold water lowers the temperature in the smoker box). There are little vents on the sides of the smoker and every once in awhile I’ll twist one open or closed, depending on how the temperature is holding. I told you, this is very demanding work…I have to set down my book AND my drink to accomplish all this.
Anyway, if I haven’t passed out from the “refreshments” or managed to give myself a heatstroke from lounging in close proximity to the smoker in the bright Florida sun, I will end up with a delicious array of yumminess like this:
The dark outside is called the "bark" and the pink coloration is the "smoke ring"
Some of which I will serve today with strawberry shortcake for dessert (strawberries I picked yesterday at a friend’s farm). My beloved husband will do all the clean-up. And I will not cook for the rest of the week.
So, what have you been smokin’?