Hello everyone, my name is Matt and I live in Seattle. So a little about myself...
First off, I grew up in a family of California hippies from the 60s which meant I grew up virtually a vegetarian. The rest of my family was (and still is) vegetarian as a matter of fact and I was as well for nearly 15 years of my adult life. (To be clear, for me this was always a decision based on health and nutrition information and never about any "morality".) In the beginning of 2012 I decided I wanted to try eating meat again. Needless to say it was the best thing I had eaten in 15 years and I have left the veggie lifestyle, fully back on a very heavy meat diet. And honestly I've never felt better in my life.
But this does leave me in a very odd predicament. I'm an adult (in my 40s now) and didn't really have any experience with anything but very basic meat: steak, bacon, sausage, and fried chicken were really the only things I had ever eaten until just recently. I had only had fish a couple of times in my life and had no idea how to sear, grill, or smoke meat. We had no tradition or family recipes I could fall back on. I felt so terribly alone in my quest to make tasty food...
Fortunately for me, my wife (who I had just married in the summer of 2011) is much more worldly and knew a great many things I would like to try now. I was introduced to a world of meat I had only seen her eat. I suddenly grew very jealous of the times we had vacationed in South America (such as the Galapagos Islands where the fish was caught minutes before being grilled and hitting the plate), Germany and all of their bratwurst, Italy and their salumi, and Hawaii and their Kalua. (Side note, we do a lot of international travel--Peru in two weeks!)
In my veggie life I had only a handful of memories of eating meat and had painstakingly worked to rebuild tastes into recipes such as simple homemade tacos, chili, etc. Now I'm putting on my creative hat in a new light: to develop recipes of the best meat dishes I've eaten. One of the dishes I've fallen in love with is barbecue; specifically ribs and pulled pork. I haven't had an opportunity to try this until now as we just bought a house last fall (previously living in a condo--Seattle is expensive) and I finally have the room to buy a smoker and put it to use.
The local barbecue I'm working to recreate is from a restaurant in North Seattle called Bitterroot. After polling a number of co-workers and taste-testing a variety of places for myself I find I like theirs the best. Now, to be fair to both me and the place, I still know very little about BBQ. I've really only had it in Seattle and--setting aside my pride in the community where I was raised--suspect it is not the end-all, be-all for BBQ. As a matter of fact, I fully understand there are several different styles of BBQ and I really don't even fully understand the different types.
I've been lurking around on this board for about a month just reading but I finally decided to write up a little autobiography so anyone who feels like jumping in and helping me out on the basics can do so. I'm really starting from the very beginning and have only done two trial runs of simply oven-baking ribs and a pretty mediocre homemade sauce.
I'm looking forward to learning from you all.
Last bit: some base information I'll be working from...
- I'm not a handy person and don't have a plethora of tools in my garage so my smoker will likely be store bought. I'm not sure what I should buy.
- I'm only cooking for two, my wife and myself. In some instances I'll be cooking for two more friends but that's about it.
- I plan on using this roughly weekly and also using a grill during the summer months. I suspect this is infrequent in comparison to a few of you, but I just wanted to give details on frequency.
If there is any other details that may help please just ask. I'm very serious about nailing this down and I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make it just that much better. I'll also be more than willing to share any information or recipes I learn with the community.
At any rate, thanks for sticking with me to the end of the post. I promise to not be as long-winded next time I post...