Monday, October 1, 2007

Where there's smoke....

I like smoked meats. Lots of the firemen I work with like 'em too.

Where I am, as well as where and how I was raised, we cook on smokers.
Let me be clear, we do not 'bar-b-q" nor do we 'Barbecue'. The word(s) is not a verb. It is in fact a noun and refers to the food itself. As far as I know, there is no such thing as "a barbecue grill". That's just Yankee talk. And we do not cook on a Barbecue either. We cook on smokers, or pits. A grill is for cooking burgers, or steaks.

The most often used meat for a smoker is beef, usually brisket. I know that my cousins in the deep south say pork is best. I can't help it if they're wrong. Besides, this is Texas and beef is what's for dinner.

There is a smoker at almost every fire station in my city. We use wood smoke for flavor. Most of the time, I wash the meat and put it on the smoker with no seasoning, just letting the smoke compliment the taste of the meat. This is especially true for wild meats like deer and wild hog.

We use various woods for different tastes. Pecan, Hickory and Mesquite are favorites. Oak is an old standby. I often add some type of fruit wood, such as Apple or Pear for a sweet taste.

The basic idea is that we build a fire in the fire box, add the meat in the smoker, and keep the temperature about 250-350* F. Cooking can last as little as a couple of hours, or as much as all day. Away from the fire station, much fellowship and story telling is done around the smoker, as well as consumption of cool beverages as the fire is kept going. At the fire station, well its pretty much the same, except for the choice of beverages.

Not long ago, we planned on a supper of smoked beef ribs. Problem was, we had no wood. I guess we could have used charcoal in a bag, but we could have just boiled it in water too. We happened to be working at a station on the east side of town. That part of the city was growing, and had many undeveloped areas. We found a future city building site, and used our "Jaws of Life" to cut some mesquite limbs. We even got credit for "Tool training".

Life is good.

Mr Fixit


BobG said...

Knew a guy who used to cook a whole turkey in a smoker. One of the best things he did was a leg of lamb; it was unbelievably good.

Bill O' Rites said...

I had my first taste of Texan smoked meat at FAL Fest courtesy of DABTL (he ain't ALL bad....;-))
It was brisket & it was very good indeed.
That smoker of his IS a little larger than I expected.

Mr. Fixit said...

Yeah, Bills smoker is about the right size.

Bob, I cook turkey, brisket, venison, wild hog, even store bought pork and chicken.

Had some the other day, want some more now.

Kaerius said...

You're making me hungry...

The only food I've ever had smoked is fish though. Kippers, and smoked salmon(eaten cold).

The neighbor of my grandpa on mom's side of the family smokes fish, and is where I prefer getting my smoked salmon. Salmon is best smoked with juniper wood.

I do like grilled food though. Beef preferably(and further preference: beefsteak or butterball steak). Another nice one is souvlaki, greek skewers.

Mr. Fixit said...

I'm making me hungry too.

What exactly is 'butterball steak'?

Smoked salmon I like, even cold.

Sevesteen said...

For those of us not fortunate enough to have endless supplies of smoking wood, bag charcoal can work fine as the heat source, with a small amount of proper wood for smoke and flavor.

I use 2 or 3 soup cans. The first can gets wet wood chunks or chips, and gets set on the grate in the firebox, above the fire. The second can gets wood and about 1/3 water, the third wood and 2/3 water. Ideally the second can will begin to smoke before the first one fades away. If not, dump water out as needed. When a can quits smoking, it gets the ashes dumped into the fire, then rotated to the back of the line with water and fresh wood.

Detail Medic said...

Guilty. I didn't find out "barbeque" was a noun until I moved to Virginia. I had no idea what in god's name they were talking about!

Kaerius said...

"What exactly is 'butterball steak'?"

I had to look it up, I'm not a native english speaker...

It's also known as "top round" or "top round steak", according to what I found. It's the inner thigh of the cow. French make "tournedos" out of it. "Butterball steak" is when it's cut thick, when it's cut thin it's called "leafsteak".