As I admired the new gasket I had just installed on my ceramic smoker that sits on my deck, I could almost taste the steaks. I hadn’t replaced the top and bottom gaskets on my smoker since I received this wonderful gift many years ago. The old gaskets had pretty much burnt to nothing and smoke could easily ease out from where the lid meets the bottom of the smoker.
Keeping the smoke and heat in is important to the smoking, cooking and regulating the temperature. Thus, I had been wasting smoke for years and either too lazy to buy a new set of gaskets or waiting on someone to give me some. I got a set for my birthday and it seemed the perfect time to install them during the holidays.
Everyone has traditions for the holidays and we have steak on Christmas night. The process of taking the smoker apart, removing all of the old crusty parts, cleaning and reassembling is pretty time consuming I learned. However, it was very gratifying. Once installed, my smoker didn’t make that “pinging” noise of the ceramic top and bottom hitting each other when I closed the lid.
If successful, the smoke would only exit the top of the smoker as it did when I first put her in use. By regulating how much air you let in the bottom and how much you let out of the top, you control the temperature, smoke and pretty much the whole world. I use it a lot, thus the “whole world” comes into play, particularly when you can smoke a Boston Butt and turn it into pulled pork only worthy of Alabama White Sauce.
On Christmas night, I got the fire going and admired the fact that the smoke was not oozing out of the sides of my smoker. I also watched the new thermometer I had installed register my smoker’s new found abilities. It was satisfying, particularly because my old thermometer had not worked for a couple of years and I was kind of doing a lot of guess work on temperatures. You learn to do such things, but a new oversized thermometer is a wonderful gift to give a fellow who pretty much controls the world with pulled pork slathered in Alabama White Sauce.
Watching the smoke come out where it was supposed to, made me think about the future – not just turkeys, chicken, steak and Boston Butts, but my future in the coming year. People are working on their New Year’s resolutions this time of year, the things they want to do or do without.
I’m not going to do without steak or pulled barbecue pork, but seeing that the smoke was not leaking out from places it shouldn’t be leaking out of made me think of keeping my lid shut and sealed more often. That’s right, I think my New Year’s resolution will be that I keep more stuff to myself. You know, try to keep my mouth shut more often. Doing without something or keeping your mouth shut might sound more like something you “give up” for Lent, but why wait?
If I think about the things that cause me consternation, they are usually things that revolve around words I have said out loud to folks that I know, particularly the wonderful women in my life. If I could just keep my mouth shut, I could avoid the consternation and the beatings that go with it. Now, I will be the first to come to my own defense. These things I say are often taken the wrong way – but I said them just the same.
So, I am going to do my best to regulate the smoke and the heat and pay attention to my thermometer more carefully – and try to keep my lid shut more often. That, and maybe cooking 2 Boston Butts for the football games over New Year’s.
CMT Column from the week of December 26, 2016, All Rights Reserved and Stuff like that...
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and sitting on my deck and watching the smoke rise...
I will be back on stage January 28th at The Auld Shebeen in Fairfax, Virginia with Better Said Than Done and then again on April 30th hosting the show at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia.