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Mud Smokin'

Smokin' in the mud of a dreary February day

Smokin’ in the mud of a dreary February day

When 2014 rolled up in front of me, one of my resolutions was to become mo’ better at cookery.  Cooking different things in different ways.  Efficient,  adaptive,  resilient and tasty dishes;  that was the endeavor.   It was a Mission.   BFF Cait can tell ya about me and a Mission.  If you asked her  ‘Tell me about  Pops and his Missions” the likely response would be  “Which one? What year?”.  Ask Little Blondie and her response would be “What an a$$hole!”.   Ummm, best not to get between me and the task at hand. That is all I am going to say about that.

I have had exposure to some great cooks……..  My Mom, The Ex That Went to 11,  Little Blondie.  I can define good cookery.  I know what it is beyond any doubt.  Now a year later, I can safely say it ain’t my lot in life to be any where near their skill level.  My biggest problem is the seasoning part.  Little Blondie could taste something, even if she wasn’t the cook, and say it needs a little o’ this or a tad of that  —  and she was always pretty much right on.  I can’t do it for the life of me.  Hold a loaded gun to my head and cock the hammer, I would fail.  E.v.e.r.y.  time.  You ain’t going to starve to death around me as  I did reach that basic level of competency.  But listen here, if I was cooking breakfast for ya  and you told me you liked your eggs over easy,  I would say “Fine, I can cook eggs about 9 different ways.  Problem is I can’t tell ya right now which of the 9 is coming up. “   Yep, it is just about like that.

What made me write about cookery this week was accumulated chicken and a bit of turkey.  I run across some boneless chicken breasts on sale at the HEB in Pearsall when I finally made a supply run after 6 weeks straight down on the Ranch during the FracOrama.   Picked up two whole chickens as well and I had two turkey breasts in the freezer.  Had it in mind to do a smoker full of fowl.  Just ’bout as easy to load that rascal up as it is to do just  a piece or two.  The freezers and fridges were loaded with bird and I could not catch a break in the weather.  Got to the point I was either gonna cook or throw it out and that ain’t gonna happen!   I picked a 50 degree, blustery day with the rain abating about daylight.  Raw weather to be smoking meat but sometimes you just gotta wear those big boy pants and get on with it.

Peterson art

Peterson art

When I went around the backside of the DTB to fetch the Cookmaster Propane Smoker I had an unsettling thought. What would I do if the smoker didn’t fire off after sitting out in this caliche hell for the past 3-4 months??  Pretty pickle that would be, huh?  Me and Little Blondie accumulated 2 smokers in our time together.  The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is as fine a smoker as I ever used and regularly turned out fare every bit as good as what you might find up around Lockhart.  Problem was it was sorta touchy with all that electronic wizardry and it was relegated to the more civilized confines of Edinburg.  Little Blondie ended up with it in the Dust Up and I reckon she still has it.   The Propane Smoker is all I need to get by and then some.

I had to clean the accumulated caliche mud off the smoker along with a mouse nest on the burner floor.  The door had gotten out of kilter down toward the bottom and I managed to bend it back pretty close to puckerbrush spec. I sure was thinking about that 25 pounds of bird inside the NO Princess Palace  and what Plan B was if this thing didn’t fire up. Well sir, I cracked open that bottle of propane and hit the igniter and the burner sprang to life first go!  The propane smoker reminds me of an old Model T.  Not too pretty to look at, comes in any color you want as long as it is black and just flat out gets the job done!

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dublin-pipeGlad to report the cigarette smoking is on the wane and replaced by the enjoyment of a good pipe.  Some way or another I ran across Peterson of Dublin and have since acquired two of their fine smokin’ pipes.   The craftsmanship is wondrous and their story and history suit me.   But in all honesty, I reach for the $10 (approx) Missouri Meerschaum as often as I do one of the Petersons.  I will tell ya I got a bad Missouri Meerschaum right out of the box.  It wouldn’t draw for ass and when I got to looking at it the bowl was cracked right above the stem. Never shoulda passed QC, that, but in all fairness I am comparing a Timex to a Breitling when I mention it in the same paragraph as a Peterson.  I took some Elmer’s wood glue and daubed the crack and it smokes tolerable well now; not good enough to be in the weekly rotation but good enough in a pinch.  I surely do enjoy a good early morning pipe with my fresh ground Brazilian coffee.  I am thinking it is gonna go well with some big sips of good whiskey too.  Gotta wait till I get a break to explore that.

I am also getting settled on some favorite tobaccos. GOOD pipe tobacco is damn sure expensive and I have been buying small drips and drabs and testing it out.  Faves so far are Lane BCA, Sutliff Molto Dolce, Captain Black Black (cheap) and Orlik Golden Sliced.  I am ordering up most of my goods from an outfit in PA where I have ordered cigarette tobacco in the past since I am still rolling my own.  My yankee buds at Pipes and Cigars do it up pretty much right.  Prices are competitive across the board and they carry a shit ton of goods.  If anything at all looks hinky on your order, they pick up the phone and call you and I like that – alot.  They will be getting more of my business for certain.

********************

One of the big topics over on the gate guard forum has been the winding down of the Eagle Ford.  I gave a heads up months ago that if the shale drilling did bust, it would be swift and relentless.  Now you know what I meant.  The good news is the business will come back.  The bad news is it will take years to ramp back up.  Investors are getting burned bad right now and their money won’t be used again for the oil business any time soon.

 

 

End Note: I Wanna Be Free by Darrell Scott from the Theater of the Unheard.  BFF Cait and I had a lengthy discussion the other day about all the good live music we enjoyed during the Baloney Years.  A point we both agreed on was THE BIG ONE that got away.  We had the opportunity to see Darrell Scott live acoustic sometime around 2006 and walked away…  Dammitallanyway!

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4 comments to Mud Smokin’

  • Joel

    Sounds like you’re finding a little personal time now. Hope you can get enough time to resume your preparation to get that ham radio license.

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    • Andy

      True enough Joel. The license is on the list of things to do.

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  • Line Camp

    How’s the dog?

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