Flame and Smoke

Primarily this Blog is about whatever…..one of those whatever things for me is BBQ. I love it. Not just eating it but the whole process…..it really does bring people together and lets me kill a day outside with Sam or anyone else who is willing to stand around and smell. My Dad was and is still well known for grilling out (in those days it was the St. Louis Staple…Pork Steak) on a factory discounted Weber from Grandpa Pigeons. It was some sort of “factory refurbished” grill that fell off a truck or something. Served our family well for almost 20 years. This thing stood the test of time until Billy (Brother) and I  replaced it with a new Weber for a fathers day gift a few years ago.  So I always grew up with a grill in the back yard…. It was always Charcoal Grills and always Weber stuff.   Dad broke down at one point and bought a gas grill when I was a teenager and I don’t think it even made it a few years…..total junk. At that point I realized that gas grills are the devil. Rain, snow, hail what ever….every weekend year round the coals were burning on Sunday. My now father in law also was famous for cookouts and being from somewhere other than St. Louis actually cooked things outdoors on a Weber other than pork. A welcome site indeed. He’s damn good at it too…..

My first entry into BBQ’n was in College….Bought my first Weber Smokey Joe (That later was stolen) and the fire was lit. No pun intended. You can just barely see the handle above the top of the lawn chair in the above photo.

After my wife and I bought our house I ended up taking the grill that we got my dad as he scored a deal on a used Weber performer with a table and all that jazz.
I started experimenting with all kinds of set ups, gizmo’s and meats. I found out that it really is a science…..all about time and temperature. The right heat for the right meat or vegetable. Ironically the whole fire thing is possibly the root of the whole obsession….For at least the last few years I constantly read and tried different things during cook’s. Its always about improving and testing a new technique or method. Part of the Engineering background
I guess.

So this year I fully committed…After using a product called the Smokeanator 1000 in the Weber kettle for the last few years I decided to go full scale. The Smokeantor 1000 is a stainless insert with a water pan that separates the coals for a real indirect cook. It worked well for short cooks but became the heat became somewhat hard to control as the cooks got longer. Its not that the Weber kettle can not handle the tasks of smoking but I felt to do it right I needed to go all in with a dedicated smoker that can handle Low and Slow cooking for extended periods. Something i just didn’t get with the Smokeanator. I still think its a great addition but not a full replacement for the real thing. See photo of the Smokeanator in action below.

Also this year…..my bother moved out on his own and as a right of passage i donated the Fathers Day Grill to him. Really it was just the excuse i needed to buy my own. I looked at lots of options….Big Green Eggs….Bubba Kegs and others but ultimately decided to go the Weber route again. The value was just to good and the quality and reviews were very good. Placed an order for a WSM 18″ and a 22″ Performer with Gas assist.

I must say I was a little bit skeptical of the gas assist on the kettle as it seemed un necessary. It just so happened to be part of the package. I wanted the work table and the height that the Performer offers over the stand alone grill. I will say it is pretty nice to have….coals are ready and blazing in just over 10 minutes. The gas really helps to speed things up and is a definite plus. Also, this is not meant to be an advertisement for Weber….I just found that they make good stuff. American made and Steel.

As the season starts will I attempt to chronicle the seasons BBQ offerings. The successes and failures….product and recipe reviews as well as some additional bullshit as I see fit.

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