We outdoor folk notice the rhythm of the sun. As the winter season ebbs ever so slowly across the calendar, we notice. When the weather man says there are two extra minutes of day light, we are out there, slurping up every last photon of it. We notice these things. Kindling a fire the other evening in the faithful, old kettle, I noticed the waning strokes of dusk were still of newspaper viewing quality, even at 5:30, and let me tell you, its been a while since I could say that. And as I ponder the snowbanks surrounding my outdoor kitchen, and as much as I enjoy the fruits of the winter grilling season, even so, I am smitten for the sun. We all are this time of year, we northerners who have scant tasted a sunbeam it seems since the heady days of preseason football. We miss the light. We tingle and pine in the darkness, waiting for the erupting sun. The hope that it will one day rise again, and my BBQ may cast long-enduring shadows because of it, is a notion that I hold dear. Our readers down there in Ecuador are no doubt smiling to themselves, happy-go-lucky, surrounded by their lush tropical foliage and bottomless buckets of sun tan lotion. Aw well, some day. If we were to just wait around for the “perfect” grilling weather, well, we would be waiting half the year away, and that is not acceptable. Thus tonight, it’s smoked chicken leg quarters on the grill. Come with me won’t you, it’s time to light up! And I suppose I should tell you also what any of this has to do with Elvis.
You see, it was one of those days where upon and for the better part of it, I had that deep inside sort of hankering for some BBQ chicken. The kind that renders you a sloppy mess whence you’ve had your way with it, with BBQ sauce strewn and adhering to the varied contours of your face, up your nose, and all over your belly. That’s what I was looking for. The real deal. The kind of BBQ chicken that would stop Elvis Presley mid-concert for to pull up a chair, if only to have a bite. Elvis rather adored good BBQ chicken, but then, who doesn’t. So here is how to make it for yourself.
Emboldened with the crave, and whilst the coals where tuning up, I liberally dashed these beautiful quarters with a whole matter of things. I guess I was like a woman in a shoe store on discount day, as I never could quite make up my mind. I used Louisiana Grill Sweet Heat on one, my own special rub on another, and Grill Mates Chicken Rub on the rest. Dust them over pretty good, to add another distinct layer in the flavor profile.
As usual, seared the chicken to start over very hot flames. Then tucked them back in-direct for the rest of the journey. Tossed in a bit of hickory for good measure, put the lid on, and went about the very important business of procuring a lovely beverage from the refrigerator. This is always a favorite segment of any cook, that precious span of minutes where the grill is doing all the work, yet you maintain the illusion that you’re accomplishing something important too. And you kind of are. Guilt-free man chair time, with feet propped up, and a suitable beverage in hand. Game on the big screen, whilst you survey with partial glances the condition of the pit, and the disturbing curvature of your belly. With any luck, you drift off into a dream like trance of smoke and meat, awoken in an ideal world, by the aromas of perfectly executed BBQ. Ah these are the bits we remember, the chosen morsels of victory as we stand firm, or rather sit, against the forces of haste. For BBQ is at once our twinkle in a world gone mad with urgency, and instant gratification. Let us then, if we know what is good for us, turn the dampers down on our grills, and cook slowly there, just because, and patron the scenic path. Indeed, to extend the moment for the moment’s sake, and to be well with it.
These fine chicken leg quarters took about 45 minutes on the grill, the last 15 of which were lovingly finished with some Sweet Baby Rays Original Sauce, and then promptly polished off by yours truly, and the little lady. Yum! Elvis, if he was in the building, surely would have stayed there, like a fat bug stuck to fly paper, splattering up a nice display of BBQ stains over his sweaty white jump suit. And if he belched, it would be OK. “Thank you very much.”
I can’t go often in life without music. Creating playlist or soundtracks as I like to call them has become a hobby of mine. Matching music up to what I’m doing at that moment. To become the musical director for my life is something I take serious. Being that I’m a musician, I’m very picky and biased when doing so. To go into the many avenues of life and tell you about my music selections would probably force me to start another blog, so I’m going to focus on sharing of my music stations I have created when dedicating an afternoon at the BBQ pit.
First off, who could go wrong with a B.B King station. How often is it you walk into a BBQ joint and they have classical music, or rap playing on their overhead speakers? What music is better associated with BBQ than blues music. The crying guitars whine as your basting your meat. The harmonica calls out while the hickory smoke curls into a dimming orange sunset. The singer cries as they have lost their lover over, perhaps over someone else’s BBQ. My B.B. King station of course is always my first choice of serenades when standing next to a smoking pit.
My second choice is my Elvis station. I grew up listening to Elvis and have many fond memories of establishing myself on a sunny afternoon. Our backyard patio packed with Aunts and Uncles. My dad sat with his banjo and my Uncles sat with guitars, often livening up the family with classic rock and roll tunes and old country western songs. This station is often listened to because of the strong feeling of nostalgia it brings on. I can remember words of songs I hadn’t heard in 20 years purely because I fell in love with the moment I first heard them. Thus, Elvis often joins me when BBQing for large groups of people.
Now there is a station I don’t often brag about. This station is played in my headphones so many people don’t judge my geeky side of life. But here, I hide nothing about my BBQ experience. So I would like to publicly announce the third choice of station is my Lord of the Rings Soundtrack station. I use this station when having a full day ahead of me – of a long drawn out smoke. When smoking a cut of meat that may need a little more effort. From the point of lighting the flame to pushing a sharp knife through that saucy, sweet, smoky, spicy side of meat. You then know your efforts have paid off and the epic journey of BBQ was fulfilled. No other station encourages such BBQ geekiness as my Lord of the Rings Soundtrack Station.
So, my question is to you who have read this, what music do you like to listen to during an afternoon at the pit? What might be on your BBQ playlist?
Have a good day – POTP