Monday, June 8, 2009


It's 9 AM and already the house, all the windows open, is filled with the aroma of smoking meat. This pork shoulder will smoke until 1 or 2 this afternoon. Then I'll shred the meat off the bone, mix it with a vinegar sauce, and freeze it in preparation for the feast this coming Saturday, when our friends will come for one last reunion at this house. If the weather holds and everyone comes who says they will, we're expecting 60+. It will be a wonderful memory to savor as we begin the final countdown next week.

The recent days leading up to this time have been just about idyllic. Yes, the house is topsy-turvy and full of boxes, but the major packing is done and we are free to contemplate last-minute arrangements without panic. The weather has been good, for a change, and not as hot as one might expect for this stage of the DC springtime, so we've spent a few hours on the deck just enjoying the breeze and watching the birds. This much relaxation is almost unheard of for Steve--I was afraid he'd have forgotten how to use it. But it all comes back, just like the proverbial bicycle.

This week includes but little cooking for me, as we will be visiting friends for dinner twice and we'll go out to eat at least once. Next week I'll pack the kitchen and won't cook at all. Hope I don't forget how! (Oh yeah. That bicycle.)


Jeff said...

Sounds like a plan and glad to hear all is moving forward!

Interesting smoker you go there. I have an old Weber kettle type we retired a few years ago when we got the gas grill. Was thinking of turning that Weber into a smoker - you may have given me further incentive to try it.

I think though it's the time and patience factors that are most needed here... :)

- J.

Ralph said...

Time and patience are definitely the main ingredients, Jeff. This meat will go at least 5 hours. Actually, what you see there is a water smoker, not a kettle grill, which I also have. You can see the pan of water just below the meat--the heat source is at the bottom. The water keeps the heat low and moist, allowing the food to spend hours exposed to the smoke cooking drying out.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ralph, I got a bike over on my blog you can have. Let's get that smoker recipe before you head south. Is that a pork shoulder? I have a brand new gas grill, never used it yet, some tips please.

nan said...

Ralph, it sounds like all the worry and packing and planning have paid off. How nice that you can just look ahead to the party and everything unfolding as it should. Have a WONDERFUL time with your friends for one last party at the old homestead. I see some fun parties ahead at the new one!

I am in the midst of planning with a few other friends a going away party for our dear friends P&C who are moving to Ohio after 17 years here. We are planning to smoke some turkeys - so it was funny to see your smoker photographed as a symbol of the farewell soiree!

Have fun!

Ralph said...

Nan, I really do pull out the smoker just for special occasions--it's such a time commitment I don't feel like using it for normal dinner parties. For a big barbecue I'm sure you agree that these water smokers are the next best thing to those big converted oil drums you see on the side of the road--at least we see them down here. (Now THAT's barbecue!)

Ralph said...

Sorry, Z&M, but I tried two different gas grills and could never get next to that kind of cooking. Outdoors means a wood fire to me and real wood smoke. A Gas grill feels too much like the kitchen. So I'm afraid I don't have any pointers for using a gas grill.

I'll post the pork recipe Friday, I promise!