I’d been thinking go buying a cheap smoker to dip my toe into the dark art of barbecue when my wife Ann called.
“I have a surprise for you!”
Oh, Christ, what now — another cat? But this time she’d really outdone herself: standing in the garage was a ceramic Big Green Egg, one of the fancier — meaning more expensive — smokers out there.
This was certainly not something I would have ever bought for myself, but she discovered it on Craigslist, for sale by a man who bought it several years ago and never used it. He finally decided he couldn’t stand looking at it anymore, and it came to us at a fraction of the price of buying a new one.
So, since then, every weekend has been a festival of meat.
It turns out that when it comes to barbecue, the internet is both a blessing and a curse. You can find a recipes for anything you want — but ten-thousand of them — and every person who smokes meat has a different opinion on how to do it. It makes your head spin.
But for all the confusion, one thing has been constant: everything I’ve cooked in the Egg has been spectacular. Can you remember the best chicken you’ve ever eaten? I can — it was last week.
So, what about health considerations? Some would say that at 54-years-old, eating more meat might not be the best game plan — but I’m not really eating more meat, just better meat. The jury is out on the health effects of breathing too much smoke, but hey, what are you gonna do?