« Home | What a slacker, eh? » | Surprise! » | Wow! Go New England Barbecue! » | Weekend Barbecue! » | The season winds down » | Thanks! » | Hogstock 2006 Results » | Hogstock » | Old Bull's Observations from the Harpoon » | The Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue ... » 

Monday, January 08, 2007 

A break in the weather

New England is knee deep in some pretty darned strange weather right now. There's virtually no snow. In fact, as if I look out the front door right now, it's raining and my thermostat is sitting at about 40 degrees. In Vermont, we should be heading into deep winter. For those of you who are from the South and feel that deep winter is anything below 50 degrees, let me give you some perspective - In January and February it is not uncommon for temperature to dip substantially below zero Fahrenheit, like to minus 20! So, needless to say, when I sparked my smoker up yesterday and looked at a thermostat sitting in the sun and saw nearly 70 degrees, I was quite shocked.

One of my buddies, hereby dubbed "the rookie", is hosting a few parties over the next couple of weekends. He's been dabbling in barbecue since he got a shiny new Webber (the best all-around grill you could ever own). But, it's nearly impossible to cook a 16 pound Turkey in a standard sized Webber, so he asked if I'd help him out by being his pitmaster. As you can imagine, dear reader, I was willing and able to help him out.

We play poker with the rookie and his lovely wife semi-regularly on fridays, so I picked up his bird then. I brined the turkey (which was raised on our farm, by the way) on Saturday night and by the time he arrived on Sunday, I was preparing to build a fire in my pit and had the bird coming to room temperature. With him the Rookie brought two more pork roasts and a small rack of ribs. The turkey and the roasts were for his parties, but the ribs were for our eating pleasure while we watched Sunday's NFL Wildcard games.

In addition to the food for the Rookie, I also tried my hand at smoking something new - nuts! Farmer Girl had purchased a large quantity of cashews for Christmas to try her hand at roasting them. So, I filled an aluminum pie plate with them, tossed about a teaspoon of olive oil with them and put them on the top shelf with our ribs. The next floor down on my grill had a pair of pork roasts and a small chicken. At the bottom, occupying several rack spaces was our pretty bird.

With the weather so mild, I only had to fill the pit with Wicked Good Charcoal once. the unit puffed away all day with only the usual interruptions for basting, temp checking, and nut turning. As we expected, all came out great. The Turkey was done in no time because of the brining. The ribs came out during half-time of the Jets/Pats game, and I grilled a few chicken wings to go with them. I sent the Rookie home with his pork roasts wrapped in foil and instructed him to put them in the oven until they reached the requisite 195-205 for pulling.

All in all, it was a very good day. The weather was sunny and springlike and I was cookin' meat. The only downside is that my beloved Jets lost to the powerful Patriots, but given that nobody expected them to be anything but the AFC's whipping boy, I'm pretty happy with how far they went.