Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

How to Smoke Your Kielbasa: The Rapture of Ignorance

It was a windows down sort of day, this day last, as I was driving about town. The hum of my tires on the road, and tweety 20130506_123319_edit0birds chirping around every bend. No trace of snow anywhere, and the green things of this world gather now, conspiring in the warming light. Spring, if we get such a thing this year, looks poised to pop here, any day soon. I love this time year. Good weather to go for a drive, and to smell the earth unfold. Which is precisely what I was up to until I noted I was within striking radius of my elder brother’s abode. It’s usually a good time over there, so I thought I’d pull in, and visit him there for a while.

I was pleased to observe he was out on his driveway enjoying the day likewise. Brother had his motor home awning deployed, lawn chairs flipped out, and much to my delight, his little Weber grill was in service, puffing away like a mired toy battleship. The boy was “dug in”, not about to waste the beautiful spring day bestowed upon him. He greeted me with a smile as I walked up his drive way, and offered me his very best lawn chair. We sat together, at his urban camp, and chewed the fat a spell, like brothers do.

I noted his little Weber Smokey Joe was putting out a commendable smoke, and queried him accordingly.

“What do you have cooking there?” I asked

“Kielbasa!” he croaked. His grizzled face brimming with a joy usually reserved for 5-year-old school girls at Chuck E Cheese.

“Yup” he continued, “You have inspired me to try smoking. It’s been smoking away for about a half hour now in fact”

“Very cool”, I said, “The smoke looks a little funny tho, what sort of wood are you using?”

“”No idea”, he blurted.

I shook my head. Did he not know that the type of smoke wood was his leverage on poetry, his step stool to bragging rights, not to mention governor of the subtle effects it might impart upon his sausage.

“Well, where did you find this wood?” I queried again.

“Along side the road”, he belched.

My eyebrow raised. For all he knew, which admittedly wasn’t much about smoking, he could have tossed in some chips hewn from a manure-encrusted Lilac log , or worse yet, a pressure treated 2 x 4 or the like. The potential to defile his beloved Kielbasa hung in the balance. I just wanted to take over his cook, and land this plane.

“Well at least I soaked the chips”, he said. “That’s what you taught me to do!”


We milled about for a few more minutes in brother’s serene BBQ camp, and I gradually ebbed from critiquing his grill craft. For it was obvious, amid the afternoon sunbeams, that the man was clearly delighted with himself.  I remember those heady days too, new to the smokey arts, where every thing I did was magic. Even if it was wrong. For in the BBQ and smoking sciences, there is a certain thrill undeniably embedded into the first portions of the learning curve.  The first time you smell a cloud of mesquite wafting over your patio, and look upon those golden rays of sun slanting through it. Or the maiden voyage of a new smoker. Or your first 12 hour pork butt, when you had no idea what you were doing. Or the first time you try the minion method. The list goes on. Giddy times we old timers to the smokey arts look back on, in recollection, and smile. A smile kind of like what my brother had painted across his face today, whilst basking in the dubious aromas of an unknown smoke cloud. Pining for a smoked Kielbasa. Lost in the rapture of ignorance. Amen.


16 responses

  1. How was the kielbasa? Mystery wood, thats hilarious. Your brother is great!!

    May 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

    • Well, I have yet to ask him how it was. I think he made out OK tho, him and his Kielbasa.

      May 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

  2. Liz

    awesome tale–and love the title. You could sub in many phrases for “How to Smoke Your Kielbasa” (leaving the rapture part) and speak wisely on just about anything! Also get a kick out of how many months your blog has been predicting and waiting on spring. I dare say we’ve skipped over it and gone straight to summer. Per usual.

    Glad if the kielbasa turned out well–hope the wood wasn’t treated, yes. He’s very kind to have given you his best lawn chair 🙂 My husband is the smoker at our house I benefit greatly from his toil. He’s nowhere near as dedicated and ambitious as you, though we did have some amazing smoked pork chops the other week. I love how moist they are–no brining necessary. Keep up the good work, oh patron.

    May 9, 2013 at 9:23 am

    • Ah thank you Liz. Yeah, pork chops are a real trick sometimes to keep moist. Hats off to your husband. Sounds like he done good!

      Those chocolate mint cookies are calling my name. Nice work over there!

      May 9, 2013 at 9:27 am

      • Standing around a smokey fire, cooking meat, and sharing stories crosses all cultural boundaries. I enjoyed reading it

        May 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

  3. A proud angler shared his smoked fish with me one day. The first bite made me grimace. As the moisture returned to my inflamed throat, I croaked “What kind of wood did you use?” “Just some old two by fours behind the house” he replied. I excused myself, left our tackle shop and purchased the largest Slurpee they had at the convenience store down the street. 😦

    May 9, 2013 at 10:57 am

    • That is most disgusting TJ. And behold the power of the Slurpee!

      May 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

  4. Reblogged this on Azee Graphics.

    May 9, 2013 at 11:15 am

  5. I didn’t think smoking anything could sound so poetic. 🙂

    May 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  6. After reading this I want to smoke kielbasa. Have never smoked anything in my life but promise I will be very particular about the sourcing of my chips! Your brother sounds great.

    May 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    • He is pretty great. Yes, be inspired to smoke something soon, and let us know of the results. For better or for worse.

      May 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

  7. Very very funny as usual!
    My latest blog post about smoking might amuse you. As my husband continues to be inspired by Patrons of the Pit.

    May 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm

  8. I now consider myself a pretty decent cook. When I first started smoking, I really F’ed up alot of shit. You are quite right, in that ignorance can make joy out of the accomplishment the ignorant accomplished. As we lear, we look back at those times and just shake our head and drink a big ole sip of Old Milwaukee.

    May 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    • Well said, O Bearded One. When it comes right down to it, I suspect we probably just like playing with fire. The rest sorts itself out, by and by.

      May 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm

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