Since Scott and I bought our home we have had to make a lot of pretty hefty purchases. Things like major appliances, maintanence services, and zillions of little things we didn't know we were missing can really add up. There's no avoiding many of these things when you decide to buy a house. The grass simply has to be cut, so you need a mower. Turns out there aren't any screens on your windows, and it's off to the home improvement store once again. Sometimes it feels like we moved into a full-time job. To be true, it's a job we love, and having to mow our lawn being the biggest trouble on the horizon is awfully cushy. We can't complain.
Anyway, a friend recently gave us a little advice to help make all this responsibility a bit lighter on our shoulders. According to our friend, there's no way around the "needs", but sprinkling in a "want" now and then can really take the edge off. After we finished paying off the washer, dryer, mower, light bulbs, you-name-its, we decided that it was time to treat ourselves to a pretty awesome "want".
We got this badass motha on Saturday, and by the time to moon came up that evening we had broken it in with almost every imaginable grillable food. We threw a potluck grill party, and our friends showed up with a dizzying array of things to throw on the bar-b. I did my best to keep track, and I'm pretty sure our menu looked like this:
- Steak Kebabs
- Baby Back Ribs
- A Whole Butterflied Chicken
- Spicy Grilled Mussels
- Chicken Sausage
- Salmon Burgers
- Pineapple Rings
That pretty much covers all your bases. There weren't any straight-up burgers and dogs, but I was mighty proud of our inaugural grill-fest. The next day we hooked up the smoker box and piled up a mess of hatch chiles, jalepenos, and itty bitty hot peppers from my CSA box.
We smoked those peppers for what felt like an eternity, but they never really became over-the-top smokey. We are thinking that the wood chips we used might have been a little too wimpy, since the bbq officianados Scott has been consulting all reccomend going with a fat log for smoking foods. There is definitely some room for improvement, but that's just part of the fun. I predict that the next few years will help us become smoking masters. It is sure to be a tasty education.
So what will I do with all of these delicious smoked peppers? Well, first I roasted them over the hot charcoal, and peeled off their rubbery skins. That helped them finish cooking, and added to their overall smokey flavor. I gave half to my sister, who planted the idea of smoking peppers in my head to begin with, and I immediately threw all of those teeny tiny, napalm flavored peppers into a jar of vinegar brine. (I plan on using those litte puppies sparingly.) Last night I made an incredible pesto from the smoked jalapenos and fresh cilantro. Tonight I'll be doing a second pesto using the smoked hatch with basil. With whatever is left, I plan on making a nice pot of red beans n' rice. I also have a bumper crop of okra to deal with.
Next smoking project? Scott wants brisket, but I want tomatoes!