How To Think of Nothing Else: Pecan Smoked Chicken Fajitas
The fly line went taut and the rod hooped over nicely, as I set the hook into the leviathan that which swam the grass banks. I soon managed to get the fish onto the reel as I played him closer to shore, determined this time not to let old “Moby” elude me once again. A light rain dappled over the pond, tapping lightly on my rain jacket, as I let out some more line, the reel singing as the fish muscled for rank. “Keep the line tight”, I thought to myself. I have already lost this bucket mouth once today, and this time, if I could help it, he would be mine. The bass suddenly torpedoed out for deeper water, like bass do, then reconsidered to the divining will of my 5 weight fly rod, and made haste instead for a small passel of weeds, there upon and of which he was, I dare say, masterfully escorted unto the damp shore from whence I stood. He laid for a moment there in the grass, panting. We both did.
I do not know what it is about fishing, but I am continually amazed how sweet life’s keen focus is when a fish is tight to our line. More sharpened moments of clarity I seldom see. Likewise, I’m reminded of the show Gilligan’s Island, and something they once said there. I digress. You see on Gilligan’s Island, the Skipper and Gilligan were fishing in the lagoon one day. And the skipper, being a salty, fishing man who never changed his blue shirt, said to Gilligan in a bellowing fashion, that when you’re fishing, and you get a fish on line, for as long as you’re hooked up together, that fish and you, you will in turn think of nothing else. And it’s true.
You think of nothing else.
Maybe that’s why we like to fish so much around here. For the focus. For the rendering of life’s many complexities into quaint, articulate moments of intense, penetrating focus. Fish do that to a body. Don’t ask me why. And we are blessed and highly favored to have a nice pond, pit-side, in which to partake of our craft nearly every day if we want. To stand on it’s earthy shores, and for a while at least, think of nothing else. Man…
Anyways, all this fishing of late has made this little pit boy ripe with hunger. And if you are too, you’re in luck. Tonight’s feast will sooth what ails you, believe me. Pecan smoked chicken fajitas, patron to the pit. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this.
Today’s seasoning once again comes from our friends at Miners Mix. XXX Garlic, and man does it do right by poultry. All natural, no junk in this stuff, people. If it wasn’t around in 1850, it ain’t in there. If you’re still looking for your next favorite rub, go and check these mates out. We don’t know how they do it, but they’ve managed to crack the code on spice rubs. We’ve really been enjoying their products. Anyways, we semi-liberally dashed this garlic rub over some boneless chicken breasts, and set them indirect on the Weber Kettle Grill, along with a good bandy of pecan smoke. Lid on, and damper tweaked. I sat back in the BBQ chair with a manly beverage in hand, legs crossed like a gentleman of leisure.
When the chicken was almost, but not quite done, we removed it and set it aside for a few short moments. If grilling wasn’t fun enough, it’s about to get even better. Enter the ever-sexy, oft-coveted, Mojoe Griddle. Oh yes…
I tell you this people, if ever in the world a piece of cooking equipment were to have a swagger, this is it. If you’ve been in our readership over the last year or so, you’ve seen this beast surface now and again. 35 pounds of high grade, hot-rolled steel- a restaurant quality griddle, and it all fits neatly over a multiple of heat sources. Simple, effective, and tough. Thus, not wanting to let my cooking coals go to waste, we plunked this behemoth over the top of the Weber Kettle and, viola, the best griddle action money can buy.
We are pretty much in love with this griddle. And we aren’t bashful about it. If you want to up your game some day, or just want to learn more about it, we did a review on it a while back, and you can read that here. Or better yet, go and visit our friend, Cam, the inventor of the Mojoe Griddle, at his website, http://www.mojoegriddle.com/ , and he’ll show you around. Tell him PotP sent you! Anyways, where were we…
On a hot, oiled, Mojoe, we set forth our green peppers and onions to saute their way to greatness. Spatula in hand, what great pleasure it is to stand aside the hot steel, cooking in the freshened air. Where the song birds trill and the skies are so blue they do not stop, save for to smile down upon the lone, outdoor cook, flipping his vegetables yonder, amid a soft, summer’s breeze. There is great therapy in cooking outside.
Next we chopped up the smoked chicken and tossed that into the mix too, and listened to it sizzle there, next to the green peppers and onion. Oh man! The aromas which filled the patio were point blank, off-the-charts. Olfactory high-def stuff, people. Thus, and with great exuberance, I plowed thy spoils about with the steel edge of an inverted spatula, and smiled to myself, as the cloud shadows calved silently across the lawn. Oh if only to slow this cook down, and to extend the moment for the moments sake. I was enjoying this. This relatively simple moment of cooking supper in a complex world. There is just something magical about it. Something right under the sun. If you’re lucky in this life, you will enjoy a few pursuits like this, that which gently cull you from the throngs of haste. Activities that which defy distraction. And promote moments of lingering focus. Like fishing I suppose, and cooking outside. The results of which will illuminate your day, and tug by tender strings, the joy for which tarries down in your soul. Amen.
Pecan Smoked, Garlic Tinted, chicken fajita makings, patron to the pit. I do believe you can take it from here. Yum!
Maybe that was my problem with fishing… I am more like Wally when he was telling the Beaver that even when you’re not thinking of one thing, you are thinking of something else. The Beaver replied, “No, when I’m thinking of nothing, I’m not thinking of nothing else.” (Or something like that.) It has taken nearly five years of retirement to get close to the point where I can just think of one thing at a time.
But, if you have to concentrate on only one thing – why not make it cooking up a fantastic meal of grilled fajitas? Great job, my friend.
May 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm
I love that show. Yup that’s classic leave it to beaver dialogue right there. That’s funny. Well maybe we’re not all designed to focus only on one thing , or barring that think of nothing. Making thinking of lots things at once is beneficial for FBI guys. You were rather tenacious in your day, or so the legend goes. I’ve long been intrigued how your brain works. Regardless, I’m glad life seems to be getting back to normal down there in Ecuador.
Blessing to you and Mary!
May 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm
If my analyst ever figures out how my brain works, I’ll let you know. Actually it is a wonder that it works at all (assuming it does…)!
May 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm
Another masterpiece. I am an English major, and I have noticed that, from time to time, you stray from the strict rules of grammar. Normally, I would be critical (in my head, of course. I wouldn’t be so rude to point out errors in public to the average writer), but I have fallen in love with your prose. You are enthusiastic and vigorous in your writing. You have a style that is your own and is compelling. Please don’t change. By the way, I appreciate your appreciation of fishing. I grew up fishing but haven’t kept it up. I enjoyed revisiting those battles with our finned friends through your post. I honor you this evening by grilling up humble salmon filets (purchased from Costco, I confess), seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little Old Bay. Cheers, my friend. I look forward to reading your book one fine, warm day.
May 16, 2016 at 7:34 pm
Wow, thanks Todd. I do appreciate the kind words. Coming from a skilled writer as yourself, it means a lot. Thank you. Yeah, grammar and I don’t often get along. And I’ll be the first to admit I screw it up routinely. Sometimes on purpose even. However, my goal for writing a piece is this – to simply get the reader to feel what I’m feeling. If I can do that, whether breaking the rules or not, then I’m satisfied with the piece. Sometimes I even start a paragraph with “And”, and secretly revel in it. I forget I have a literature pro in the readership.
May I say likewise about your writing style. It is very smooth, and pleasurable to digest. It is sincere too. With a nice dollop of humor here and there, to keep it fresh. Yup, it’s a good style. No doubt honed through the years, to the well crafted prose that it is today. I wouldn’t change the way you write either. It just works.
And hey, Costco salmon ain’t that bad! And neither is Star Trek v !
May 16, 2016 at 8:26 pm
Star Trek V is pretty awful. I loved the idea, but the execution was horrible. Perhaps you just liked the sexy dance by Uhura. I won’t argue with the beauty of that performance.
May 16, 2016 at 8:39 pm
Well I like camping. And they camped in Yosemite. And the acting was so bad it was funny. I don’t remember a dancing Uhura. Guess I fell asleep before that part. Hmmm. Maybe you’re right on this after all.
May 16, 2016 at 8:43 pm
Oh yeah that was a great scene when they were camping in Star Trek V. I enjoyed their comradery in the campfire setting, giving Spock a hard time as usual. As I recall, Bones flavored his campfire pot of beans with bourbon, which I always wanted to try…have you tried anything like it? And Spock produced a “marsh-melon” as he called it, from some light saber looking gizmo, to roast over the fire. Yeah, the acting made me lol at times!
June 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Indeed, it isn’t often you see Kirk and Spock camping together in the Yosemite grandeur. And maybe that’s why I liked it. Two childhood heroes doing my favorite thing, in one of my favorite places. Bourbon in the beans. Well I haven’t, but my fellow patron, and co founder of Potp, he rather fancies the practice. He’s more likely to put a little whiskey in there than anything. He loves to cook with it. Seems like half the things I eat over there have an undertone of whiskey in it. Tastes good! I reckon bourbon would be good too. If Bones would do it, well there must be something to it. Scotty surely would do it. You should do it, and report back on the results!
June 26, 2016 at 6:03 pm
A solemn duty to report while cookin’ baked beans for supper tonight, I recalled your instruction to try it with bourbon ‘n share some bean insight…
but while reaching to fetch some ‘n add smokey flair, I realized alas my cupboard lay bare!
June 30, 2016 at 11:10 pm
Well you can’t win them all mate. If it’s true that it’s the thought that counts, then you’ve at least succeeded in spirit. And to that end, we salute you anyways. And just because.
Have a fantastic Holiday weekend!
July 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm
You’re still at it – this makes me so happy 🙂 Nom on the chicken. And love the Gilligan reference. So fishing is your yoga, then? Good to see you again. Your griddle has me drooling. But not on the griddle because that would be gross.
May 16, 2016 at 8:02 pm
Hiya Liz! Long time since we’ve seen you in these parts. Indeed it is great to see you swing by like olden times. And yup, still at it. It’s all for the fun of it. And because grilling is so much fun, it’s rather easy to keep doing it. Anyways, fantastic to see your name in the comment box. Thank you!
May 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm
my youngest needed some extra help – those youngens (as you call them) don’t raise themselves, I’m learning – so I had to take a sabbatical. There was a baby in the patron of the pit world, yes? How goes that?
May 16, 2016 at 8:10 pm
Yes, the co founder of this blog had one a while back. The little one is two years old, with the energy of a small monkey. I think they’re finally getting some proper sleep around there now. But who knows. Yup a lot of work and worthy of a sabbatical. Good job, Liz!
May 16, 2016 at 8:29 pm
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Good work as usual. You inspired me with last week’s blog. The grilled meatloaf (minus the whole egg) was well received. Thank you men.
May 17, 2016 at 8:27 am
Thanks TJ! Yeah, some folk don’t care for eggs that way. Maybe you gotta be Australian to get it.. Regardless, meatloaf on the pit is fantastic. Hope you try it some day.
May 17, 2016 at 8:42 am
Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.
May 19, 2016 at 1:02 am
Yummi, it looks, but I converted to lamb and mutton…
I’ve never thought a steak of lamb’s leg, or a mutton slow stew could ever beat the beef, but it did.
I’m also getting to be fairly fond of free-range poultry. It tastes completely different of the industrial stuff.
I’d still clean up a whole plate of your cooking, no questions asked…
May 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm
The heck you say? Lamb better than beef! Well I suppose all things are possible.Lamb is good stuff. And in the hands of a good chef, it could be great. So, I’ll take your word for it.
I too have been coming to the same conclusion about free range chicken. There is a prominent difference concerning taste. I haven’t noticed it so much in turkeys tho. Not sure why.
Besides all of that, a pleasure hearing from you good sir. Been a while! I always did quite enjoy your thoughtful comments, and bent sense of humor.
Take care, and enjoy that mutton!
May 25, 2016 at 8:31 am
My Excellent Patrons of the Pit, I’ve just been (and still) semi-drowned in another degree, and it looks I’m on it ’till next autumn… But thanks from the heart for the good thoughts, please rest assured they’re reflected within the humble meself:-)
As for turkey, ermmm/grrrr/etc. not friends at all, eating it forced by circumstances requiring silent and heroic politeness, sorry about that 🙂
Nevertheless, an at least two years old proper bone-diced mutton, stewed sloooooowly with a whole bunch of chopped leaks, tomatoes, celery, peppers, name it, until nearly off the bone, with a generous (diabetically acceptable) dollop of fresh polenta, hmmm, thy kingdom come 🙂
Followed by a stuffed pipe of American Whiskey tobacco and a double-creamed ginormous mug of coffee outside on porch with my poetry scrap book, makes life defendable.
I’ll try dining more often at your pit, as it’s always worth throwing away any diet:-)
All my very best Gentlemen!
May 25, 2016 at 8:59 am
Now that’s the Liberty of Thinking we’ve come to know and love! Well done, old boy! A tip of the coffee mug to thee. Be well.
May 25, 2016 at 9:09 am
When peppers and onions hit the grill the neighbors come running faster than teenage boys to a bikini contest.
May 24, 2016 at 6:06 am
Well you must feed your neighbors often then! They seem to always be poking their noses up over the fence, sniffing your spoils. You’ve conditioned them like Pavlov’s pooch!
Regardless, I concur, nothing is quite so inviting as the aroma of peppers and onions sizzling on the grill outside. Love it!
Blessings Mr Dodd!
May 25, 2016 at 8:34 am