At my last job I spent a lot of time in Texas. And while there I developed a taste for smoked meats, in particular Texas Barbeque, of which I indulged most every night.
When I came home from those trips I got heavy into grilling food for my wife and I and I began to have some success. I used a few cook books, did some experimenting, and read a lot on the internet about techniques and cook times and the like.
Last summer my father in law caught wind of my desire to start smoking meats and told me he had a smoker lying around in his garage. I had been experimenting with smoking in my kettle grill but it was difficult to maintain the fire and temperature over long burns. So he let me borrow his vertical smoker with a water pan. The very first thing I cooked was a pork butt, Boston cut, and it cooked for 11 hours before I brought it inside and finished it for over an hour in the oven.
It was amazing. I mean really amazing. I just followed a recipe I found online, was able to maintain the fire pretty well with only one flare up over the 11 hours, and it turned out perfect. I paired it with some Stubbs Original BBQ sauce and served it on honey white rolls from the bakery down the street from my house. I love a good pulled pork sandwich. It is on the short list for my favorite foods. I have eaten pulled pork at some of the big name places, like Woodyard BBQ in Kansas City and Texas Pit BBQ near Dallas, and while mine wasn’t on par with those guys, it is better than the pulled pork sandwiches served just down the street from me at the Noble Pig in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Ever since that first go around I have taken to smoking whenever I can.
I got a Weber Smokey Mountain vertical smoker for Christmas from my parents this year and while I’ve only cooked on it once, it was a rousing success. Although smoking 15 pounds of roast beef on a 14.5” smoker was an unnecessary challenge (seeing as well over half wasn’t eaten in that sitting).
One of the things I look forward to the most this summer is smoking everything I can find. And with the nice weather we have been having lately it has gotten my juices flowing for a nice brisket or even some almonds or something.
I have to confess that a lot of my passion for it stems from my sister’s boyfriend, who is an avid smoker and has taught me a lot about the process. Many a day this summer will be spent with meat on, beers in hand, and good music on the radio while the sun beats down upon us, I am sure. Summertime is a smoker’s paradise.