The Smoker Mistress
Let me start by saying that I do have a Big Green Egg and yes, I do love it. I love it for many reasons. Mostly because it is mine. It is the one thing I own that serves no interest to anyone else in my family. My wife has zero interest in using it, she wouldn’t know where to start. My kids have no use for it. They can poke it, stab it, whack it and nothing will happen. That’s boring for a child. And although my dogs do enjoy laying around it while it is in use, it serves no purpose as a chew toy or something to pee on. So yes, I love it.
Another reason while I love it is because it gives the appearance that I am doing something. For anywhere between 3-12 hours, depending on what I am cooking, I can look busy. I can walk around the egg, open and shut a vent, occasionally get impatient and peek or add more chips or spray the meat down. But none of that is generally necessary, at least at the frequency in which I do it. Really it helps build the defense that I cannot be asked to do anything else that requires me to leave the house. If the wife asks me to go somewhere I give her the look that she gives me when I forget a kid’s birthday party obligation or that I sleepily agreed to take her/them somewhere on this day. “You know I can’t honey, I have a butt on The Egg… Do you have any idea how much responsibility that is?” I make sure as I say this I go out to The Egg and act like I am doing something.
But recently I have not used the Egg as much as I have done in the past. Much of that has to do with the weather. We have had an unusually long and crappy winter here in the south. Not just the cold but the rain. More rain than we have seen in quite some time. So, I went months without even thinking about grilling. And in our home Spring/Fall is mostly devoted to camping with the family, while squeezing in tailgating in the fall between trips. So really that only leaves summer. And yes, summertime is a great time to grill but that really limits me to only a few good weekends to do it. And quite frankly, the effort to get the Egg set up (cleaning, coals) is sometimes not worth the effort to do sometimes after slaving in the yard for a few hours. Therefore, that Big Green Egg has now become an expensive decoration on my back deck.
And about a year ago we bought a new camper trailer. It was an upgrade in both quality and in size from our previous trailer. We went from a 16 ½ foot tear drop trailer for us and our three kids to a 27-foot box that sleeps 10. Suddenly, I had more storage space than I knew what to do with. And since most of camp time is spent relaxing and watching the kids run around, it is the perfect time for smoking meat. So last year I also ordered a Portable Electric Smoker that I could take along with me.
I really hated the idea of going from coals to electric. It seemed so impure. Even had I gone from coals to propane I felt I would resent it. So, the first time I used it was when we camped with my in-laws and I found myself apologizing to my father in law in advance. “I am sorry that you have to see me like this” I would say as I was unpacking it from its case. But once I got it set up on the table as we sat around I grew a bit less apologetic. It literally took about 3 minutes to set up and once I had it plugged in with the temperature set just right I felt downright optimistic. And when the chips were added to the chip tray and the smoke was bellowing out from the back vents I was walking around with a bit of a strut as I eyeballed the show.
Four hours later I pulled those ribs from the smoker and they were cooked to perfection. And tasted like they just came off The Egg at home. The meal got rave reviews and the cleanup was a simple wiping down of the racks. The smoker was packed back in the bag in 5 minutes. (This company also offers a Portable Gas Smoker that would would be better for tailgating or camping without power.)
That was 9 months ago. I have not used my Green Egg since that day and have used the electric smoker at least 20 times both at home and on the road.
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