Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

The Fellowship of the Coals: A Pep Talk For Winter

“We are men. We eat meat. And half the year we grill in the dark. We do it in part because not doing it chews about as well as a half-cooked brisket.”

I was out at the pit the other day, grilling up some supper, and noticed it then. Like a long-lost and once-upon-a-time house guest peering over the bushes. Darkness. And it stirs folks to action. It is getting to that point in the year where good people are rolling their cookers into garages and sheds, or barring that, getting comfortable afterfocus_1374957059205_edit0with the mind-set of putting the BBQ toys away for the winter. We do not understand. These were once upstanding citizens, you see, capable of much smokey goodness. Able to roll a brat or flip a burger with the very best of us. Now regressed, cowering in their flannel sheets and cotton afghans, supping herbal teas and watching the Wheel of Fortune. That sort of Tom Foolery seldom sits will with a patron of the pit. You will nary see a white flag waving over our cookers, nay, not if we can still lift a bag of charcoal you won’t. There is a better way. So stand tall brethren of the brisket, for now is not the time to become lax. It is a smokey imperative that we bandy together, and stoke the fires tall, for a great darkness is coming, and snow is coming with it.

Go henceforth to the market and secure yourself a plunder of meat and coals, and stock your larder at once. Let there be no excuses whence the gales of November come howling. Devise a wind break if we must, for to thwart that icy wind, and light the fires strong, boys, for there is still meat to be smoked, and joy to be had, patron to the pit. There is. It is our time now to rise and to revel in the quaint ambiance of the night shift. To where as my elder brother is fond of saying, “the metal meets the meat“. To warm our hands over a beautiful bed of coals. To be out-of-doors, under star-spangled nights, aside smoking pits, grilling at the end of blue-tinted moon beams. Glory!

Or, I suppose, we could dawdle inside our thermally advanced housing units, in designer slippers, watching that wheel spin by, and nary see any of this.

Indeed, it is wired into our manly nature to put meat to flame, and declare for all the world that it is good. It is just what we do. And to do outside, under magnificent skies, is how it was always meant to be done. The heck with heat waves or blizzards or any other inclement for that matter. And as this fair Autumn ebbs into darkness, which it will, we will be there too, pit-side, with our tongs in one hand, and lovely beverage in the other. There is no off-season for the keeper of the flame, you see. Nor would be wish for there to be. This is our twinkle. Our humble opus. So let us treat it as such.

And so together we will stand stalwart at our pits, leaning into the wintry tempest.  You are not alone. We are the fellowship of coals. And there is camaraderie in flame. And meat.

This concludes our pep talk. Grill on and sally forth!




25 responses

  1. This is the time I prefer to BBQ – it’s not 110 dg outside so it’s much easier to stand out there and flip the meat, potatoes and sometimes even the pineapple I have going over the open flame!

    October 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    • Very cool. Our hat is off to you. And grilled pineapple is one of the finer delights. Now I need to do that. Thanks Kate!

      October 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

  2. I am with you on this one 100% brother. By the way, what’s your adult bevy of choice when the temps grow chilly and you are contemplating a long smoke in the cold? I’ve been experimenting with a bit of cocktalia and have yet to settle on something that inspires me appropriately.

    October 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    • Well believe it or not, just a hot chocolate, or flavorful tea is good enough for me, whence the chills of winter descend upon the pit. I know, not terribly manly, but lovely anyways. That and I’m cheap I guess.

      I wish you luck in your libation quest. Tho it may be a life long affair.

      October 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm

  3. Liz

    Thinking I’ll leave the dark and wintry outdoor cooking thing to you guys. But will be ready to fire it up again on this end come spring. Until then, I’ll be grilling vicariously through PotP. Also, love your beverage choices. Can’t beat hot chocolate.

    October 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    • Understandable. Not even our brides will join us on the patio if they can see their breath. Some people just have common sense I guess. Not to worry tho, we have not soon been accused of that!

      Love a good hot chocolate when snow flakes are falling. Is there really any beverage better?

      Thanks Liz!

      October 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm

  4. the shichirin and the bamboo charcoal are stocked and dry. soon as this typhoon passes on by and the cold weather gets going, i’m going to make enough meat skewers to feed the russian army.

    and spending all day bundled up in winter coats and blankets around the grill eating kimchi hot-pot? guaranteed.

    god speed, fellas. you live an inspired life.

    October 25, 2013 at 2:00 am

    • Thank you Misha! How do you like that bamboo charcoal? Thinking about trying some.

      October 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

      • it is totally worth a try. it burns much hotter and lights much quicker than regular charcoal. by which i mean to say, it literally requires no lighter fluid to get the grill going.

        that being said, it doesn’t last quite as long and it doesn’t produce an actual flame. it just gets really dang hot embers. for things like skewers of chicken, nice cuts of fish, and steaks, i think it can’t be beat. the flavor it imparts is out of this world.

        October 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      • No kidding, wow. I like it! Most definitely will have to give that a go then.

        You sure seem to enjoy yourself over there. Carry on!


        October 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm

  5. Wooden club over shoulder, I’m leaving my cave in search of a mastodon. Perhaps I may smoke it, or cover it in plum sauce marinade and grill it slowly. 🙂 Keep it up guys you have a great blog here.

    October 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    • Haha, we sure look forward to your comments! Always a treat!

      Thanks much Laurie and likewise unto you!


      October 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      • I look forward to your prose and recipes. 🙂

        October 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  6. We have and will continue to dig many a smoker and grill out of the snow for no other reason than simply enjoying that deep rich smokey flavor. Oh and when winter grilling you don’t have to worry about your beverage of choice getting warm.

    October 26, 2013 at 5:48 am

    • Very cool Mr Dodd! Well said too. Half the reason at least that we fire up the pits in the first place is for that smokey flavor that is so awesome.

      Yes, may the ice in our cups remain ever that, upon this the threshold of yet another winter grilling season.

      October 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

  7. I agree. Being a Florida native whose blood is as thin as lighter fluid, I tend to smoke and grill more in the winter. The smoker and chimera burn in unison. One tenderly smokes meat while the other warms this Florida cracker.

    October 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

    • Haha, that was funny TJ! You Florida folk have a sense of humor. But let it be said, winter in Florida is not exactly the least pleasant environment to light up a pit in. Even so, glad you are out there anyways, enjoying the good life patron to the pit.

      Blessings to the fair Florida cracker

      Thanks TJ

      October 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

  8. About a month ago we went camping with my niece and her husband. He put salmon on a wet alder board and cooked them in a closed charcoal bbq. I was amazed. They came out tasting just as good as fish that took me hours to smoke. He had one he smeared with mayonnaise that was to die for!

    October 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

    • Ah yes, sounds like he was planking the fish, as we say. That method works great with fish , and could not be more intimate with smoke. It works for anything really. We’ve done up some bacon cheese burgers that way even. Marvelous!
      Thanks for checking in on us Richard !

      October 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

  9. sarahfoto

    Hear ye hear ye!
    Tomorrow I’m stocking up on some more coal (if the Storm doesn’t hit Sweden that is).

    October 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    • Hello to Sweden! Good to hear from you! Thanks for commenting. Grill on!


      October 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm

  10. And a wonderful Opus it was. Come hither Old Man Winter, I do not fear thee!

    October 29, 2013 at 8:13 am

  11. Snow!
    The BEST BBQing is done just after a significant snow fall when the air has been freshly scrubbed clean by all of those snowflakes…..

    November 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

    • Couldn’t have put it better! Thanks for that, Rod.
      Let is snow, and snow deeply upon our pits.

      November 5, 2013 at 11:56 am

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