Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Posts tagged “snow

Embracing The Season: The Snow Smoker

“A snowy gesture, if you will, reflective of our smokey passion. An icy monument that which we thrust forth in stark indifference to winter and its heady throes.” -Potp

The weather was a balmy thirty and one degrees, which after a couple of weeks of below zero living, let me tell you, feels akin to the white sand beaches of download (1)Waikiki. Thirty degrees seemed to warrant a man’s finest swim wear, iffin he didn’t know better. Funny what a fellow will get used to. Likewise did the black-capped chickadees rejoice at the pit-side bird feeder today,  freshly filled with sunflower seeds. All darting about, happy and flirtatious. And a lone and stately Blue Jay roosted above it all, in a nearby Spruce, doing what ever it is that Blue Jays do. I kind of think he was looking down upon me, and trying to figure out what I was doing. In point of fact, I’m pretty sure he was. You probably would be curious too, iffin you spied smoke curling from a wayward pile of snow, and a bloke standing before it, grinning, with several strips of bacon in his hand. I guess now is the time to digress.

Welcome to the Snow Smoker, least-wise that is what we’re calling it, the latest articulate brain thrust of the Patrons of the Pit. It may look simply as the lower ball, if you will, of Frosty the Snowman, hollowed-out some, and with a smoke stack on top. And that’s because it is. Many an idea are forged in the field of play, and yet most are forgotten there. But when there is bacon involved, a man will sit upright again, and note the gleaming bulb hanging figuratively over his head. Indeed, where there is bacon there is also generally the actions of a motivated man.igloo3 I had BLT’s on my brain, I guess. Maybe my most favorite sandwich of all time.  And I had an idea for it. Anyways, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking how in the heck can you make a smoker out of snow and not melt it all to pieces before the cook is done? Good question. And the answer, naturally, resides in the mysterious folds of cold smoking.

Cold smoking is the business of adding the flavor of smoke to your food with out the nuisance of heat. Or very little heat, anyways. Meat is not cooked during cold smoking. Think of it more are a smokey marination. Cheese is a popular thing to cold smoke, because it won’t morph into goo on you when it’s all done. But other delicate things can benefit too, like trout or salmon. Some misguided goof balls have even cold smoked a block of chocolate before, but it takes a gutsier man than I to mess with an already lovely and immortally stable bar of chocolate. Mercy! But the point is, cold smoking can do these sorts of things. And do it exceedingly well. And thus is the obvious method for filling your igloo heap full with aromatic tendrils of wood smoke, iffin that is, you’re into that sort of thing.

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The Smoke Generator

There are several means out there in which one can procure plumes of cold smoke, and we will not go into all of them here. Suffice it to say, the simplest and most effective way that we have found is the little generators put out by A-Maze-N Products, Inc. You can spend hundreds of dollars on other, fancier things if you really want to, but why? These gadgets are at once simple in design, and with no moving parts involved, almost fool-proof. They just do what they do. They make smoke. The perfect accompaniment for not only bacon, but an impromptu snow-smoker as well. Winter is just too much fun!

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Once the smoke generator was lit, and the flames snuffed out, it promptly commenced with what it was designed to do. We tucked it in the snow smoker, and threw on the bacon for a couple of hours. Yes, bacon already comes smoked, but less you forget what blog you’re reading, you also know we will double-smoke just about anything. A good, thick-cut bacon, like these strips, can handle it. And you will suitably pump up the flavor of these fatty spoils two-fold in the process. And oh, what a lovely process it is indeed. There is something delightfully out-of-place, that comes with the site of thick plumes of apple wood smoke curling out of the snow. It is not your everyday thing, yet in the same breath, feels like it ought to be.

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To the Brethren of the Brisket and Comrades of the Coal, to all the pit keepers out there who will not anytime soon hoist the white flag of surrender amid this trying season of ice and cold, here then is our song. A snowy gesture, if you will, reflective of our smokey passion. An icy monument that which we thrust forth in stark indifference to winter and its heady throes.  For we love to be outside, I guess, no matter the inclement. And when you think about it, arctic BBQ is but a dance, and our partner, nature, always leads. So we sally forth, with our BBQ tongs in hand, keeping our chins up, our hearts humble, and our fires lit. And if we can, should the icy fates allow, we may yet meet the winter season on its own viable terms, and then embrace it there, aside gently curling wood smoke and curious Blue Jays standing by. Amen.


To Grill or Not To Grill…

To grill or not to grill..Really, there is no question!

To grill or not to grill..Really, there is no question!

Waking up to a blizzard is always a pleasant thing. This is especially so when it happens on a Sunday, your hallowed day off, and the snows have fallen as such to bring the roadways asunder, and the day, for better or for worse, to a very slow ebb. The sort of day where all the smart people of the world like to hunker down. A day of enforced leisure, and carefully calculated R&R. And whilst the weather rages, and your neighbors all moan their names in vain, you are at once in your glory, forced to slow life down to it’s basics, and watch the drifts slowly mount outside your frosted window. These are the sorts of days tailor made for pit masters, and the inherent leisure patron to the craft.  Such was the case here in the upper mid-west today. And while some pull the cords on their snow blowers, and others curl by their fireplaces, we Patrons of the Pit have other things in mind. No finer time, than these days of flying snow, to light the BBQ, and put some meat to flame.

There is no such thing as the off-season for an avid keeper of the grill. To do so would mean to throw in your white towel, and the notion of that chews about as well as half-cooked brisket. Brethren of the Flame are a hardy lot, and foul weather, blizzards not with-standing, shall keep us from our intended spoils. Thus, on the menu today, hickory grilled pork chops with a sweet, home-made marinade.

Before lighting the grill:                                                     

Mix together this tasty marinade:

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

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Marinate the pork chops for a couple hours

After marinating your pork chops, and putting them on the grill over indirect heat, and after adding a chunk of smoke wood of your choice to the coals, then be sure to put the lid on so as to thwart the inclement of weather which brews about thee. Then proceed to take up residence some place cozy with a view of the pit, with a lovely beverage in hand, and enjoy thus how the smoke curls from your vent, and how a thousand and one falling snow flakes vanish with aplomb, as they gently kiss your grill. Raise your flag of leisure now, and stand against the forces of haste. Return to grill on occasion to tend your meat, applying your skills as needed. Put on some Christmas music to complete the ambiance, and tarry quietly in the wake of deeds well done. For it is our belief, or at least our sincere hope, that time spent grilling is not deducted from our allotted lifespans. Which explains I suppose, why it is we tend to BBQ in blizzards.

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Hickory Grilled Pork Chops in a Sweet Marinade. Man!