Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>The weather is here,<br>wish you were beautiful</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Monday, May 30, 2005

The weather is here,
wish you were beautiful

The skies are too clear, life’s too easy today
The beers are too cold, the daiquiris too fruitiful
There’s no place like home when you’re this far away
I feel together today

--- Jimmy Buffett

It’s storming to the southwest today, but it’s pretty clear here. After the storms last night, there’s a clean feeling in the air. Can’t have that, can we? I think I’ll fill it up with hickory smoke.

So now I’m basting away in Paradise. Got a brisket, some sausage and a salmon, all smoking away nicely in the old offset. Temperature hovering around 200 degrees (F), a pile of pecan branches to keep the smoke flowing, a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemons, limes, oranges, herbs and spices to baste the meat, and a cooler full of longnecks to baste myself. Ain’t life sweet?

Of all the forms of outdoor cooking, to me, barbecuing is the most satisfying. It’s more than a method of cooking, it’s a lifestyle. All the way back to the American Revolution, barbecue was a community event, attended by folks from all walks of life. Back then they did it in the ground, but I (and my back) prefer my offset smoker.

Many people these days use “barbecue” (or BBQ, or just plain Q) as a generic term for cooking over fire, but that’s not accurate. Barbecue, by definition, is slow cooking with low to medium heat (under 210 degrees F), usually bolstered by an aromatic wood such as mesquite or hickory. Everything else is “grilling”, which is cooking food directly over a fire with high heat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love grilled steak, burgers and veggies. A grilled hot dog, with all the fixin’s is delicious in its own right. It should be experienced at least annually in order to maintain a sense of childlike wonder. But your first bite of a well-smoke sausage can transcend you to entirely new levels of bliss. Mmmmmm. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

So while our hypocritical president ceremoniously presents a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, I’ll honor those fallen in our country’s service my own way. With pickles and onions on the side.

Life is served.

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