Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My father-in-law got a new smoker for his birthday, and so there was much discussion this weekend around what would be best to cook in it, how to long to cook things for, etc. The strange part was that the smoker didn't really come with even a few basic recipes in the instructions. They more-or-less said "cook stuff on 250 degrees for 2-6 hours". That's a pretty wide range.

So that left plenty of opportunity for people to weigh in with their completely uninformed opinions on how long something should be cooked, whether jerky should be cooked longer then regular meat, just hotter, or perhaps with less water. You'd be surprised just how vehemently people who have never smoked anything in their life can argue about how a smoker should be used.

We even discussed for a while the best materials for building a smoker. Larry's new one is constructed from materials similar to a grill, but he was leaning towards it being better if it had been made of wood. And while probably true, Linzy and I were trying to help him stay positive by suggesting ways it could be worse. Linzy's top suggestion "if it were made out of ice". My top suggestion "if it were made out of used lighter fluid cans".

The one clear consensus from everyone polled was that the first thing to put in the smoker should not be fish, for fear of everything from that point on tasting and/or smelling like smoked fish. This was a major downer to my father-in-law, as I am pretty sure his first plan involved smoking fish.

In the end, we couldn't decide anything and ended up doing nothing. Larry might have been happy about that, as he probably wanted to try to figure it out on his own without an audience of rookie chefs 'assisting'. I'm sure next time we are up, he'll have an array of jerky made from mystery meats for us to try.

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