"Smokin, smokin. We're cookin' tonight…"

by Katie Pizzuto on May 13, 2009

in Grilling,Smoker

smokerWhen your day begins with a glass (oh, OK, a couple of glasses) of a sparkling rosé from Alsace, there’s not a whole lot to complain about. See that baby right there on the right? That was my Mother’s Day gift. Appropriately enough, I set the smoker up next to the grill that was also a Mother’s Day gift about 5 years back. Subtlety is not exactly one of my stronger virtues, so whenever I start talking about something I’d really love to have, I usually do one of those “That would make a really nice gift…” comments with eyebrows raised and head exaggeratedly nodding. A turntable is still somewhere on that list, but the smoker seemed to have overtaken the lead since everyone around me would benefit from that gift, and the only thing they’d get from buying me a turntable would be several hours’ worth of me singing loudly and passionately to the likes of the Sex Pistols, Etta James and Frank Zappa.

setupThey were generous enough with their gift giving to make sure that I would have the whole thing set up in anticipation of Mother’s Day. That way I could have everyone up to my house for the festivities…how thoughtful. I decided on ribs and chicken, and had everyone else contribute a side dish—that way, I wouldn’t have to do much other than tend to the smoker and…well…drink my wine. But why tend to the smoker on your special day, Katie? Why not let the men handle it? Are you nucking futs?!? NOBODY goes near my grilling and smoking other than to make themselves a hamburger or hotdog at 9pm, long after I’ve declared that I’m done cooking for the day. And as for the peekers—you know, the ones who wanna open the doors just to see how everything’s coming along—well, they were flogged.

ribsPrep for both the chicken and ribs began the night before. The ribs got a nice dose of my homemade rub after I removed the membranes on them, and the chicken went into my jerk marinade. Mother’s Day morning found me at the smoker at about 9:30am, getting it to temperature and putting the ribs in, all while sipping away at my first glass of the lovely sparkling rosé. I realize there are purists out there who don’t think any bbq sauce belongs on ribs at all, but I usually brush them with some towards the end of their cooking time. Since this was my first go at the smoker and the ribs were sitting sideways in a rack, basting would’ve been not only messy but nearly impossible, so I waited ‘til they had about an hour left and moved them to the high warming rack of my grill where I could lay them flat and baste them a couple of times. As you can see by the 2 little lonely ribs that were left, I don’t think anyone was complaining about the sauce.

chixThe chicken, however, wasn’t such a smashing success. The flavor that the smoke infused left the jerk flavors in the dust. All I got was smoke. I was pissed. I was disappointed. I was deflated. But I was also somewhere between 1 and 2 sheets to the wind, so I raised a glass to everyone seated at my table, thanked them for being my guinea pigs, apologized for the smoky/unjerkified chicken, and simply told them to eat more of the beans. The leftover chicken, methinks, will make a MEAN chicken salad.

PS – Recipes for the rub, bbq sauce and jerk marinade will be posted to the “Recipes” section tomorrow!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yvette May 13, 2009

ah-hem, you mean MY jerk marinade!!!

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2 Linsey May 13, 2009

officially jealous here

even with the disappointing chicken – which im sure u will tweek until its right – i bet it was yummy

damn those ribs look good

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3 Coupe 60 May 13, 2009

Katie, I would love more than anything at all for someone to tell me to stay away from the grill, and to just give me food… You are awesome…

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4 Katie Pizzuto May 13, 2009

@Yvette…posession is nine tenths of the law 😉

@Lin…I’ve got leftover jerk that I’m gonna inject into a whole chicken before smoking this weekend!

@Lou…I love my grill…I am one with my grill…even with a foot of snow outside, my grill calls to me, longing to sear a porterhouse 🙂

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5 jshively May 15, 2009

Yeah and welcome to the smoker club. Really curious how that propane works for you and especially your desire to keep the temp low. Beats the daylights out of me with duct tape and dryer vents with two smokers so I can cold smoke.

Everything looks awesome and drooll…..

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6 Katie Pizzuto May 15, 2009

I’ll let you know about cold smoking, but I’m not optimistic. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to get the temp low enough to handle that, which is really pissing me off because I was looking forward to buying some pork belly from a local farm in order to make bacon in it…gotta do more investigating this weekend. When I make jerky in my oven I just leave the oven door ajar which keeps the temp. nice and low for me, but doing that to a smoker would defeat the purpose! I may be emailing you for duct taping tips, Jeff!

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7 Linsey May 15, 2009

oooooooooh so not fair – i wanna try wahhh!

I actually only in the last few years started to like smoked food – mainly salmon – but damn i like the idea of smoked bacon – maybe with a honey backtaste to it

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8 Katie Pizzuto May 15, 2009

Exactly, Lin…I was thinking either maple or brown sugar instead of honey, but you’re on the right mental track!! I’ve got a deep brown, chemical-free “turbinado” sugar I was thinking of, but the maple would add a bit more in the flavor department.

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9 Linsey May 15, 2009

why am i always drooling when i read ur food blogs!

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