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A Hello and a tale of woe from Upstate NY

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

My name is Dan and I have a tale of woe. I know that my tale will not surprise most of you. Coming here and reading up on your experiences... well I feel like I have found a good place where I can share.

I grew up in a big family of 8. Burned weenies and burgers were the height of my summers. We were ignorant. It was a simple life. Wood was our fuel and we sneared at charcoal and lighter fluid. We had 25 acres, plenty of hands and a license to burn. We were the disfunctional scout troop from haydes - heathens.

It was the 70's and we flamed everything at least once. Ribs and chicken were an enigma - they became fodder for the oven. We could not contend with the burned, tough and half raw results (I know, I know...don't pitty me, please). What else can you make over a flame? Boiling down maple sap into syrup was not much better. Maintaining a boiling pot all day long provided a mear pittance of syrup. Those were the dark days, but as they say, ignorance was bliss.

Years later I'm in the Army. No wood pile - no small bonfires - danged rules and regulations. In desperation I bought a Weber Smokey Joe, abided in charcoal with lighter fluid and consigned myself to suburban means of charring my dinner. I felt cheapened. I was becoming a griller.

I was far from home and far from my roots. I started to secretly eye gas grills with envy. Only my rancorous lifestyle kept me from having the cash to buy one. Instead I moved up to the 18 inch kettle.

The world turns - a wife and 2 sons become my grilling test subjects. I ended up a divorcee raising 2 wirey boys, but I'm not blaming Weber. I'm not bitter.

Years go by. I have a wife again. Boys 1 & 2 are grown, wirey and rancorous. I acquire another son, now 6, so I can try again. Time to consider a new Weber.

While reading up, I learn of indirect grilling on the Weber. The idea seems foreign. It can't get my head around it because I KNOW that barbecuing means meat charred by fire. I vaguely remember the ex-wife tossing out some never-used charcoal rails and a drip pan that were cluttering up the place. 20 years ago they came with my 18" weber grill. OMG, what have I done. I order new rails.

I read something about cooking by temperature too. Meat thermometers? Who uses them? The test kitchens of Betty Crocker, the USDA and my mother when she does turkey. Not me. I cook on site and guesswork. Do the best chefs ever measure? No, they eyeball it. Am I not one of the best?

I think of my wirey rancorous sons and ask God for forgiveness for what I have wrought upon the world.

Chicken parts come out deliciously roasted the first time I try the indirect method. I must have more. The following weekend I set up the Weber 18 for indirect and throw on a rack of ribs. At this point I need to make a store run, but wife#2 is leary about being left with the hot grill 'cause she don't grill. I assure her to just leave it alone and it will be fine - the indirect method is just like using an oven.

When I returned it was clear that I needed slightly more grilling space than the Weber 18 had. Is there any useful craft one can make from a dozen bones held together by solid char? Martha Stewart?

Many years ago I had seen a story in Popular Mechanics on how to build your own off-set smoker. Only now did I understand. How many years had I ignored the messages that the greater powers had been sending me? All the tears and the years wasted.

The PX was selling the Char-broil American Gourmet. I buy it. I use it. And I discover that "everything in moderation" includes smoke. Who'd a thought that the chunks of mystery wood providing hours of glorious white smoke to a well sauced slab of baby backs was not the right thing to do.

No, friends, I am not deterred. Thankfully, I have since created some delicious ribs thanks to a little more knowledge. Wife #2 is still with me and son #3 seems to be putting on normal weight.

The American Gourmet needs some mods and I have never welded before. Please pray for me and my family as I begin my next set of adventures.

Dan of the Highlands
post #2 of 17
Dan, that was a heck of a story! If only the SMF was around when we all started out "cooking". Welcome to the SMF from central NY and please hold on and enjoy the ride!
post #3 of 17
Welcome to SMF Dan, check out the 5 day course. Lots of reading on here and posting and you will soon be putting out amazing Q :)

post #4 of 17
It's never too late to enjoy some things in life, I'm sure you'll be happy with the SMF and the friendly folks who enjoy sharing good times. smokes, and Q too.
post #5 of 17
welcome to de club..learn, share and invite us all over when ya have it down
post #6 of 17
Welcome to SMF. Better late than never.
post #7 of 17
Best roll call post I recall reading PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif

I wouldn't worry about welding , read through the charcoal smoker mods and adjust as you see necessary for your off set.

Welcome to SMF from another upstater icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 17
Welcome to the SMF
post #9 of 17
Kinda sounds like yall er hooked, ain't much we can do sept hep ya dig a deeper hole! An ta thin it only took yall one wife an two kids ta get here! That ain't a bad average! Some folks have killed off entire neighborhoods fer seein the light!

Well, welcome aboard, glad ta have yall!
post #10 of 17
Welcome to SMF. There's enough information here to make you a professional smokemaster.
post #11 of 17
welcome aboard ,we can fix that addicition, well maybe make it worse.
post #12 of 17
Welcome to SMF. With the Q you will produce with the knowledge on here I am sure everyone will stick around for good.
post #13 of 17
Welcome to the SMF. Glad you joined us
post #14 of 17
Thank you for joining our SMF family!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Travcoman45 that was dry humor. I love it. That's the kind of humor I learned to love from some of the crusty old sergeants I met during my time in the army. PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif

Thanks everyone. I'll be digging in with questions and pictures. I got a lot of ideas already from this place and I know there's no shame in sharing the things that went wrong (it just adds to the fun) as well as the successes.
It's pork ribs today. We'll give 'em a look a we bit later...icon_smile.gif
post #16 of 17
Welcome to the smf............
post #17 of 17
One of the fun things about this forum is that you have an eager audience all through the day's smoke.
So start taking and posting the q-view and if you hit a snag part way through a smoke there's ALWAYS someone around the forum to put you right :-)

You're no longer a sad man stood alone in a yard staring at a smoking oil drum for 12 hours. You're now part of a worldwide audience participation cookery show :-)
Enjoy ;-)
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