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Stranded in Chicago...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi folks:


Ben Franklin here (Ben) and yes, that's my real name -- at least part of it. I'm a North Carolina boy who got too danged much education (according to Ben Sr. anyhow) and wound up in the consulting business in Chicago after chasing around the world with some big food & bev companies. Hoping to get back to my farm in the NC mountains soon and start churning out log and historic furniture for a living and quit this mess -- but gotta get those last college tuition bills paid first. I'm sure plenty of you know what I  mean.


I'm a little late with the "howdy, how y'all doin's?" so let me start by first thanking Jeff for the great recipes (love the rub & sauce Jeff), the newsletter and the forum.


Next thing is to thank all of you who weighed in on the forum post I cranked out a couple of weeks ago on trading up from my MES 30. I finally settled in on a Li'l Tex Elite and will get the first test this weekend when I do the Easter ham for the wife's family. 16 folks so wish me luck! I'll also throw on a couple of Jeff's bacon wrapped breasts for the non-porkers and some pork shanks (ham hocks where I come from) for my German pa-in-law. Gonna try adapting Jeff's lamb shank cook to the ham hocks and see how it goes. Love to have any advice anyone can offer on that.


I started cooking pigs in the ground in NC in college and really haven't ever looked back. We have 4' x 10' cinder block cooking pits at the hunting club in GA (if it moves, I hunt it) and the wild hogs sure do look a lot better coming out of the pit than they do coming out of the pine thicket! I've got a 3' x 5' double propane fired grill / cooker at the farm in WNC that my brother-in-law built for me. Took pity on me after watching me chase 3 Webers at a time when trying to feed the family reunion crew every year. I'm hoping to build a real pit and outdoor kitchen down there if I survive the Chicago rat race long enough to get the time.


I missed smoking so bad that I added a MES 30 to my Weber Genesis on the town house patio last year and my wife, relatives and neighbors all went crazy. You would think I was serving manna from heaven. But I never got the wood chip box to perform the way I wanted it to, so shipped that one off to the farm last Christmas and just bought the Li'l Tex to use up here. Thanks to this forum, I also learned about the AMAZEN smoker box and using it in the MES. Ordered one last week and can't wait to see how that works out next time I'm at the farm.


My wife, son and I all hunt, and we process all our own game, so in addition to the Weber Genesis and the assorted smokers, we use a small electric grinder / sausage stuffer and there's a turkey fryer / fish cooker in every spot we cook. I'm a huge cast iron fan and am lucky enough to have some of my grandma's original stuff in the cabin at the farm -- and her wood stove to go with it. Makes for some great hunter stews in the winter and warms up the kitchen to boot.


Well, the last thing I don't have to tell you is that I'm long-winded and love to exchange stories and ideas with folks. If you folks ever get lost in O'Hare Airport just fire out a text message or an email -- I'm probably in there heading somewhere and I'll gladly buy you a beer.


Ben Franklin



post #2 of 17

Ben, Can't wait to get lost at O'hare just for the beer!!!  yahoo.gif


Welcome to the Forums!!!



post #3 of 17

Welcome Ben

Glad you are here to enjoy all the good info here.


Barney Fife

post #4 of 17




Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

For those of you new to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.

Click Here it's "FREE" ... 5 Day eCourseE

Also for those of you new to smoking,  Get a good Probe Thermometer as we smoke by Temperature NOT TIME.

A good choice for a remote dual probe thermometer is the Maverick ET-732

post #5 of 17

Welcome Ben!


Good luck on your 16 people feed for the wife's gang!


Great post too---not long winded----very interesting!




post #6 of 17

Hello there, and welcome to the SMF. Looks like you're tuned up for having some outdoor fun. It's all good my friend.

post #7 of 17

welcome1.gif   Glad to have you aboard the smoke train.

post #8 of 17

welcome ben....stay away from the lightening...lol...i had to.


go cubs

post #9 of 17


post #10 of 17

Welcome !

post #11 of 17

Great intro, looking forward to some pics and recipes. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #12 of 17

Welcome to the forum, Ben.  Just a coincidence, but over 63 years ago, a doctor in Michigan who delivered me at my parents house was Benjamin Franklin.  He was our family doctor for years.  Small world.biggrin.gif


post #13 of 17

welcome Aldo.......

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey Folks,


Just gotta take a minute to post back and say "Thanks!" for the great welcome! The reception is as warm as any I've received on any forum. Just goes to prove that folks who like to do things "low and slow" have their heads and their hearts in the right place. Not to mention having their priorities straight. When I jokingly introduced myself as "Stranded in Chicago" I was only half kidding. I'm a country boy at heart who let himself get caught up in a corporate/city life. But the one thing I've learned is that the biggest difference in people wherever you go in the world is not race or religion -- it is urban versus rural. A country boy is Argentina is just as likely to help you if you're stranded on the road as one in Alabama. And I'm just as scared to go into south Chicago as I am to go South of the border into Juarez or Tijuana these days.


Well, you've already figured out I'm just as likely to get caught up in a discussion of philosophy as "Old Ben himself" was -- and maybe to talk a little treason at the tavern! But I'll try to keep it to 'Que and Stew on this site.


More on how the Easter smoke with the new Traeger turns out next week. It gets delivered tomorrow. I'm like a kid at Christmas!!!!




post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

hey Bassman!


Funny stuff!. My dad is Benjamin Franklin, Sr. His sister was Dolly Madison and he had brothers named Andrew Jackson and "Ernest". No one can figure out who that is because it was for sure that my bible thumping hillbilly grandmother, 13th child of an honest to God circuit riding preacher in the Carolina hill country -- sure as hell didn't read Hemingway! ha. All we can figure is that it was the local Baptist preacher or something -- as she would have held them in equal esteem to the other names she picked.


Hope you have decent weather over there for a great Easter smoke!

post #16 of 17

Welcome Ben. Hope to hear some hunting bbq stories from you here.

I smoiked some wild turkey breasts a couple weeks ago and they were the best tasting turkey of any kind I ever ate.



post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hope we can accommodate you soon franklin3!  Noticed the "Bay Area" location. We had dinner with some folks from Marin County last night. From the pictures they showed us and the stories they told -- you can shoot a turkey off your roof, lawn or driveway on any given day. Of course, then you would have to deal with the neighbors and the local law enforcement. Probably about as much fun to do in CA as it is in Chicago! Ugh.

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