My Brother’s Cabin: Pecan Smoked BBQ Chicken Breasts
My brother has a cabin way up in the woods you see. A humble conglomerate of shingle and cedar. A manly outpost on the edge of all things, in rhythm with the earth and sky. Maybe even a last vestige, perhaps, of solitude in a world surely gone mad. You need only to get in your truck and go there. Out past the city limits, indeed way yonder past that. Past the wind-swept prairies drifted high in waves of granulated white. Over the frozen river and through the woods, where the brown, crisp leaves of the red oak trees still tremble in a winter’s wind. Past the next hamlet and the one after that. Down the winding gravel road you must go. Keep going past all these places, until you reach where the stately white pines rise up and anoint a beautiful, blue sky, and the Blacked Capped Chickadees cavort with a contagious enthusiasm. To where the morning sun dapples on an earth seldom trampled. And here, where the wood smoke curls serenely from a lone chimney stack, on a hill just up from the lake, you will find my brother’s cabin.
I haven’t been to my brother’s cabin in some time now. And I guess the misery of it is, neither has my brother. Oh elder brother is fine and all, it’s just that the wretched noose of society hath wrapped it’s callous coils around his neck again, refusing ever to let go. It’s called work. And responsibility. That’s the high problem of the city life. The city, by it’s very nature will try to pin you down and hold you there, wriggling like a worm under an angler’s thumb. It is it’s most favorite thing to do, seems like. For all the social postures we thus escape, and still to maintain a reasonable and untrammeled urban profile, well, it’s some trick. Some kind of way yonder too big a trick.
So I think of my brother’s cabin now, as I put these chicken thighs to flame. Listening to them sizzle over a hot cast iron grate, with pecan wood buried into the coals. The interesting thing is, every time I light the grill, and smell the wood smoke pillar into the air, even here in urban America, it triggers something, and I cannot help but to recall a vast gamut of recreational fires past, and elsewhere, all over the country in part, and some of those, yes, at my brother’s cabin. That’s the wonderful, under-stated, glory of wood smoke and memories. They are linked in a symbiotic dance. And my how it brings you back. Oh how I fancy to be there right now, under that old, squeaky roof, towering with snow, to hear the crackle of pine and the cedar pop in his portly, old wood stove. A kettle of orange tea simmering quietly there. The sweet, radiating heat of the fire, glory be how it feels like Beethoven incarnate on your cold feet. And I would tarry in the chair there, just because, sipping from an old tin cup, and gaze out across the frozen lake to the far distant shore where the Bald Eagles perch. Drinking in the quietude set aside for thee. Yup, I miss that place. And you need only to get in your truck and go there. And we might, iffin it weren’t for this whole earning a living thing.
This post is turning out rather anemic concerning the things of BBQ, and for that I apologize. I guess I’m engaged in a bit of what you might call, “day dreaming”. It’s just that the winter wears long in these parts, and to a man, we haven’t felt the sun on our face in some five billion years, feels like. Those of you blessed with eternal summers, patron to the good southern life, I do not know for certain if you feel our kink here. Of how long a winter can ride. Or how giddy we can get at the mere thought of spring. For let it be said, it’s that time of the year again, where all that we do, and all that we ponder on, is the promise of spring. Well seems like, anyway. And we pace at the edge of night, with a cup of hot tea in hand, fire crackling in the old wood stove, listening to the cold sleet tapping against our window panes. In the paraphrased words of Jim Klobuchar, “we tingle and ache, waiting for the exploding sun”.
Yes indeed we do that.
Pecan Smoked, Grilled Chicken Breast, varnished in a light but tangy BBQ sauce. Man! Can you smell it people!
Every time we light our fires, we kindle also those quaint fires past. Those smokey memories impressed on the tender fabric of our souls. That and we usually get something good to eat too! Just another couple of reasons to cook outside and revel in it. Amen.
Chicken breasts can be tricky they dry out yours looks perfect and delicious.
February 16, 2016 at 10:56 am
I pretty much got lucky probably! Yup, one should not over cook such things as these.
February 16, 2016 at 11:13 am
Yep, I have the yearnings for the end of the road cabin in the wood cooking. Somehow the under used remote cabin smoking/grilling tastes much better than out front the condo next to Disney world. You got me dreaming now…
February 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm
You speak the truth, Gary. Great to hear from you!
February 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm
LoL, the irony of reading this post 10 minutes after finding out I’m spending the weekend at the office for yet another 7 day work week. No matter, the smoke will rise this weekend one way or another.
February 17, 2016 at 6:26 am
Yup, the irony. I support you Mr Dodd. Here’s hoping those little respites pit-side do the trick!
February 17, 2016 at 10:00 am
Oh PotP, us folk here in The West have been out in the sunshine for nearly a month now. You and yours are welcome to join us any time that callous coil releases you, if just momentarily. A hui hou, until we met.
February 17, 2016 at 9:33 am
Bless ya, Auntiedoni. Appreciate that. Well I’ll tell you, I heard rumor that it’s supposed to get clear up to 45 degrees this weekend. Now that might not seem like much to a you desert folk, but to a Minnesotan in February, that is like Miami beach! So I look forwards to that. The BBQ will be puffing in earnest.
February 17, 2016 at 9:58 am
They say the sense of smell is the most evocative of all of the senses. And the smell of meat sizzling over a smoke fill fire evokes only the best of memories! Your post reminded me of countless enjoyable hours spent on scout trips and camping with the family. Thank you for the memories!
I will not complain about getting a bit sunburned here in Canoa, Ecuador yesterday because (you know me) I do not want to, “rub it in” that some of us enjoy the warmth of the “exploding sun” all year long.
February 18, 2016 at 10:54 am
Oh dear, yes, you would never rub it in too much, I don’t think. I’ve come to learn, as you have, that just about every place on earth has it’s own beauty to behold and appreciate. Even winter in Minnesota is beautiful if you have the right attitude. I can’t imagine endless warm sun the year around. Wow. Oh the burdens you must shoulder, John in Ecuador.
I enjoyed your recent post touring the backyard and what not. So lush and green!
February 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm
I wish I could smell it! Looks good!
March 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm
Technology has come a long ways, but they still can’t crack the smell boundary. Come on smart people!
March 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm
March 2, 2016 at 4:52 pm
Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser and commented:
Use Kosher Chicken
March 23, 2016 at 10:23 am