Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Meat Poetry

What is meat poetry? Simply put it is a means of expression, of this curious joy we find tending the grill. It is about the ambiance, the art, and the love of cooking out-of-doors. Indeed what it is, is the poetry of the moment, when we tarry grill-side, with our tongs in our hand, watching the world spin round and round. It is the seasoning on the brisket of life, and quite frankly needs to be shared.  Thus enjoy, with our compliments.

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An Ode to Smoke

If memories are linked with smell, and we believe this to be so, then there are a lifetime of them every time we light the grill. The charcoal grill that is.  Not to be snobbish or disrespectful to you gassy people out there, your way is fun too, for at least you are out there, putting meat to flame, but less you plunk a tatter of wood upon thy burner, you simply will never know the joy of smoke. Nor achieve that true smokey flavor that real BBQ is known for.  That’s half the reason we grill in the first place, for the smell of it. For the sheer wafting ambiance of wood smoke floating over a quiet pit. Ducks milling on the pond. Gophers dashing across the back forty. The waning golden rays of sun a’wash over your tranquil patio.  And the smell of smoldering mesquite in the air there, whilst your prized rump roast sizzles in the cooker. Ah yes, the ambiance. And the smoke, for better or for worse, is a part of that.

People often dash the charcoal grill for the speed and convenience of the gas units. We do not understand. Why would you take something you love, like grilling, and try to speed it up. For let it be said, because it’s true, anything that is worth doing in this life, is worth doing slowly. There is a pleasure in the process of lighting the coals, of watching the fire slowly come to life, and the puffs of smoke ascending to the heavens. To grill over charcoal is to say to yourself, and who ever else is looking, that you’re in no hurry. Such action confounds your peers, and grabs the sun by the tail as it were, and pauses it there in sky, extending the moment for the moment’s sake. And all the Brethren of the Smoke rejoice. Indeed, there is a simple joy residing with the charcoal and wood cookers, patron to those who choose the scenic path, and the smoke which rises there. Amen.

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A Small Cut of Meat Poetry

The grill is doing most of the work here, thus freeing you up for the highly important business of loitering in your recliner, or if the day is adequate, your Adirondack chair out by the pit. Be encouraged to slow your day down, and repair quietly with your favorite beverage, pit-side, watching the smoke waft upwards into a beautiful, November sky. And know that for a while the world will spin without you, and that your OK with that. For grilling proper harbors no haste. Life ebbs by fast enough as it is, so let not our grills, nor our time there, know any such swiftness. Indeed, we seek to extend the moment for the moment’s sake, and in that alone, it is well with our soul.

Meat Poetry 101: During the smoke

Put on the cover. The hardest part is done now. Now, and at last, you are liberated to do as you wish. These are the moments BBQ people live for. For the next 2 1/2 hours, you are free to saunter about the house, doing what ever it is you do in your house when meat is cooking quietly. I would suggest taking up residence in your big leather man chair, with a lovely beverage at hand, and a Stallone movie on play. Either that or tranquil nap pit-side, smoke wafting, with the Black Capped Chickadees flirting at your bird feeder, and the warm sunbeams melting over your rose bushes. These are the poetic moments of the smoke, and the binders of your memories whence the food is gone, and the coal is out. This is why, by choice, you go low and slow. Simply to extend the beauty of the moment, for the moment’s sake. What a joy it is to take your foot off the accelerator pedal of life, and coast amid it’s treasured ambiance. This is your time to revel in the cook, and glory in the smoke patron to the scenic path. This is why we do what we do.

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A Case for Charcoal

“There is a simple pleasure in charcoal, not soon lost after the cook is done. You go to put on your grilling jacket the next day, and it smells like a hundred and one campfires, reminding you of the good life. Lighting charcoal also takes time, and in this day of the drive through mentality, that is an oddity indeed. But one worth doing. For the smoke that rises gently from your stack is at once poetic, and a small victory in an otherwise busy life. When smoke rises from your charcoal grill, it is a signal to yourself and those around you, that for a while at least, you’re in no hurry. That you are taking something you love, grilling, and not betraying the moment for the tragedy of haste. That the world can spin without you now, for there is meat to be cooked, and joy to be had, patron to those who choose the scenic path, and the smoke which rises there. Amen.”

-POTP

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Scattered in the Wind

As for my ashes, let them sooner scatter in the breeze, across the lawn from whence yonder smokes I have done, and over thy neighbor’s marigolds, and who’s yapping dog they do belong.

Many a pit well-used tends to produces a commendable quantity of ash,  mountains to rival a miniature Matterhorn in due respect. And should the winds press stiffly upon thy ash pan, surely a face full of it you will have.  Ever changing. Ever eroding piles of the past. Ash. It is common deed among those not yet bonded with their pits to frown upon the ashes there. To scorn it, and moan it’s very name in vain. It i. ugly they presume, and simply a chore amid the process of BBQ they must endure. Forgive them. For we were all green yet in these ways, before our pits were seasoned, and our hearts re-written, to the simple pleasures of grilling.

Indeed as our pits and cookers season, smoke after smoke, so do we. We change in part, along with the fires kindled, and our joys thus ascend with the curling smoke, and in time, even the mounting ashes left below.  For these ashes, dry and gray, are really a monument to our grilling past. The higher they lean, the better for it we are. Proof positive that we have been out there, doing that which is well with our souls. And that is no small thing.

Ashen trophies; a dish to be held high, and wagered of great esteem. Thus sport it proudly and with great affection, for it is a pit master’s receipt if you will, this pile of ashes which scatter in the wind. And blessed is the man of whom’s ash pan over flows in this way. Amen.

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Awkward

It happens like this more than I’d probably care to admit. How do I tell them, so innocent and feathery, that it is not their kin they smell humbled under the lid. And why is it they always have to show up when it seems they have every right to. That’s not fair. And just a little awkward for everybody.

It happens like this more times than I would care to admit. Ironically so, when ever I happen to be grilling a bird of some kind. It's just awkward.

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Allies of the Ash

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Though the snow may be cold

And the wind chills the air

Associates gather to bend their wit

These two logs have held the cheeks

Of Patrons of the Pit

Conversations of brisket cuts

And ribs that drip with flavor

To watch your cronies eat with joy

And sacrifice dietary behavior

The culinary dares may bet and fly

To see who alters the plan

The recipe changes from bloke to bloke

Yet still fill the greasy drip pan

Though our pits don’t always look the same

The outcome still comes together

To give your smoke some bragging rights

Because you have smoked in astringent weather…

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The Smoking Jacket

afterfocus_1356992921119_edit0No, I do not speak of the kind of smoking jacket you’re probably thinking of. The purple-velvet sort worn by gentlemen of high leisure, who own a humidor, and pace about in front of their fireplace with a pipe in hand, attempting to look thoughtful. No, the jacket I speak of is more humble than that, but equally as enchanting. And if you tend the grill year-around, and live in the colder places, you probably have one too. Indeed, it is the jacket we dawn most when favoring our spoils over a beautiful bed of coals, pit-side, amid the rising wood smoke. It is our smoking jacket, and it is well with our souls.

My go to grilling jacket is a thick, red and black, checkered affair, and made entirely of wool. It has just enough pockets to hold the various spices allotted for the cook, a book of matches, and a couple of cold hands. But what it holds best, is smoke. Something about the woolen fibers which absorb and record a tapestry of cooks in the out-of-doors. Grill-side gems I am reminded of every time I slip into its heavy sleeves, and I smell the aromas patron to the good life, and the memories procured there. It all tarries quietly in the smoke.

Memories of a thousand and one heady cook outs, on crisp, autumn days and frigid, starry nights. Of blizzards, and Christmas hams. And tho I never wear it in the warmer months, it even reminds me gently of Memorial Day cook-outs, and long Fourth of July smokes, beneath a balmy sun. Oh yes, if smell is linked with memories, and science has proven this to be so, then a smoking jacket proper beholds a lifetime supply of them.  A cornucopia of moments, doing something we love, preserved in smoke.  And tho I may not have the fanciest smoker, or the biggest grill, nor the covetous meat budget of some other guys, even so, every time I put on the smoking jacket,  and smell the gloried past upon it, I know that I am favored, and a considerably a rich man. Amen.

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Testament of a Grilling Geek

I went out to the grill the other night, in routine fashion to tend the meat, and found myself for a time just standing there, staring into the hot, glowing coals. It was a crisp night, and the heat from the fire felt good on my hands. And the sky was dark, and scattered with stars, shimmering vanward to a blackened infinity. I turned up the collar on my smoking jacket, and noted momentarily how pleasant it was – this fire, this night. The simple pleasures of loitering pit-side, while lovingly doting over a piece of meat. I just love it. But why. Why would a grown man of apt intelligence forsake a perfectly good stove top, and a heated house, to go instead outside, into the cold, and cook his supper in the humbling style of hobos and passing vagrants.  I pushed the meat over indirect heat,  paused, and thought about it for a while.

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The reasons reside I suspect, with the soft-rising tendrils of smoke, and the waving mirages of heat against a pale, crescent moon. With the dancing flames, and the aromas of smoldering wood. It might also be because of all the many campsites  beneath whispering pines I am thus reminded of, every time I strike a match, and kindle a fire. Because meat cooked over an open fire is at once a pleasure, and akin to something deeper in our souls than electric skillets or microwave ovens. Because of the freshened air which expands my chest, and the Black Capped Chickadees which flirt yonder, in the stately trees.  Because BBQ is a fickle pursuit, and you are not always so sure how it will turn out. And because good BBQ takes time,  lots of time, and loitering over a beautiful bed of coals, with my tongs in hand, is at once a stand of small defiance, in a falling world wrought with haste. And that is no small thing.

Because one day I might smoke the perfect rack of ribs.

Indeed, the reasons are many I suppose, of why we do what we do. And I suppose too there are plenty of other ways to cook a cut of meat, that will taste just as good, and surely a might more comfortable than standing out in the cold. But scarce any of them, let it be said, are nearly so much fun as this; with this fire, this night out-of-doors, under magnificent skies, and over fiery beds of glowing coal.  Ah yes. The simple pleasures patron to the pit, and to those who tarry there. This I suspect, is why I grill by and by, and why it is we do what we do.

That, and I like to eat! Amen.

The Long Way Home: The Art and Play of BBQ

“At the heart of all good BBQ, is a soul on the scenic path”

It is sweetened by the passage of time. BBQ. Here is a form of cooking, where the whole of the out-of-doors is at the threshold of your kitchen; and where the wood smoke gently rises, you will find your journey in the smokey arts. Pit keepers spanning this country-wide, and the world over, find poetry in the flames, fellowship in the coals, and contentment in their bellies where BBQ is concerned. It is not just for the food, you see, that we aspire for the pit. It is the journey also, which is half the fun.

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To BBQ proper is to release yourself from the grinding cog of societal cares, the urban rush, and our inbred bondage to the clock. Brethren of the coals, we are smitten for the hour hand, and to see just how slowly it can make its appointed rounds. Indeed, we are in no hurry at the pit. We are there by and far, but to extend our craft, and up our loitermanship,  under lovely skies, and soft breezes. To let the unruly collagen in our lives dance at 225 degrees whilst bathed in smoke and sweet time, and in that time, rendered a tender opus closer to thee. And let it be said, there are a vast many more expedient means in which to cook our supper.  And be sure of this also, we will do our utmost to avoid them. For we love to BBQ. It’s as simple as that. And why would anyone, of rational mind, fancy to rush along something of which they so fiercely love.  If you’re in a hurry, use the microwave.

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So we grill, smoke and BBQ, over real wood and charcoal, because in part,  it is slower that way. And forsake the methods that which clutch dearly the hands of haste.  To BBQ is to take the long way home, on purpose. And at the heart of all good BBQ, is a soul on the scenic path – where rainbows, tweety birds, and pale-blue moonbeams reside. Our goal you see, as pit keepers, is not only to procure the best possible and most succulent culinary end game we can,  but also if we might, to dutifully grab that ever-slipping sun by the tail, and hold it steadfastly there, hemorrhaging in a pastel sky. Bending the fabric of time, for to suit our souls, and with any luck, to extend the moment for the moment’s sake. For we love to BBQ, you see, outside, and in the prettier places, doing that which is well with our souls.

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The art and play of BBQ, like a fine wine, ages adeptly in the root cellars of our minds. It is sweetened by the passage of time.  And with every cook, and kettle of dancing flame, memories are formed. With every fold of season, and another empty charcoal bag, memories tally. Memories gently forged at the cusp of a loved one’s saucy grin, amid the banter of nature, and the cool, steely grass. And it turns out, the more we do it, the more we show up at the grill front and dare to procure our spoils slowly there,  the better off we seem to be. Because in a world of instant gratification, it slows us down, you could say, and places roses in our hand. And after a while at this, it eventually even becomes clear. That not only is BBQ real good, and pleasing to the belly, but the means of getting there is even better still.  It is good for us. And this is the way, perhaps, it was always meant to be. This and a few other things, when we choose the long way home, and the hickory-scented plumes which tarry there. Amen.

 

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17 responses

  1. These pieces made me contemplate my own prose 😉
    I love writing poetry about food too but something tells me you LOVE IT EVEN MORE! 🙂

    January 26, 2013 at 10:49 am

  2. I just love that you have a section titled “Meat Poetry”. Yours omnivorously, Sarah

    January 30, 2013 at 12:25 am

  3. Fabulous. Wonderful. Inspiring. Truly, poetry that you can sink your teeth into.

    March 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

  4. Pingback: Spring Fever | Carnivore Confidential

  5. Meat poetry!

    I’ll never understand vegetarians

    May 2, 2013 at 5:57 am

  6. Man! Your blog makes me hungry. Thanks for visiting mine. I’ll be back.

    June 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  7. I hope you don’t mind, but I have shared/reccommended your blog on my FB page NettiesCookinNow. EVERYONE needs to be graced with your wisdom!

    November 14, 2013 at 9:07 am

    • Wisdom? Golly, thanks! We just eat meat. Its what we do. Thanks tho!

      November 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

  8. Been following you guys for a while now, and I finally have a smoker of my own. (Thanks for dropping by my post on my first pork butt, by the way!) Really love reading your blog – great food, great photos and great writing. This is a really cool post – makes me want to put more thought into my writing…

    January 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    • Thank you, Jason. Good of you to chime in and let us know you’re out there. Always a pleasure to swap pit stories with others keen to the craft. Your pork butt looked great. Well done!

      By all means, make yourself comfortable around here. We’d love to hear more from you, and will check in on your BBQ endeavors likewise!

      January 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm

  9. devonmarie16

    *Snaps for meat poetry*
    Brethren of the coals, I’m looking forward to reading your stuff!

    February 12, 2014 at 10:36 am

    • Hey thank you kindly! Looking forward to hearing what you think!

      February 12, 2014 at 10:53 am

  10. Pingback: Meat Poetry « ndoyaspecial

  11. Meat poetry really made mouth watering
    Surely anyone curious enough won’t be exempted to visit patrons of the pit by merely reading parts and the stanzas of meat poetry .
    I love it!

    August 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

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