Banjo Music and Barbecue StoriesJuly 28th, 2012
This spring we took a family vacation in my beloved Smoky Mountains for 5 nights. We had a lot of good times in the beautiful cabin where we stayed. A few of my highlights were eating picnics and hiking in a thunderstorm with soggy shoes.
Me being the barbecue dude, I took a variety of meats and my barbecue supplies. Upon arrival, I realized the only grill we have is one of those cool park grills. Hmm. This is really great for smoking those hens I brought.
Turns out, you can do a lot of cool stuff with a park grill and I want to show you how I used them to cook a few meals including a smoked meatloaf.
Here is a slideshow video I made from our trip:
I won’t get into the bears, amazing trails, and magnificent waterfalls right now, but I want to tell you a little about the fun time I had cooking. The most interesting part was fiddling with my converted park grill smoker.
The picture above explains how I did it, but basically you cover the top and front with aluminum foil to trap some of the smoke and heat in the grill. Tuck the ends around the grate handles to keep it in place and cut a small hole in the top for a vent.
This was actually the second time I had cooked this way. The other time we cooked brats and moink balls with the meat directly on the grate. On this trip I smoked a pan of meatloaf for dinner and a sausage fatty for breakfast. I did both the meatloaf and the fatty in a glass cake pan, so it was somewhat indirect heat and it worked. Here is a taste bud teaser for you.
I haven’t perfected this method yet, so it has some quirks, but it’s a ton of fun and lets you smoke a bit on the “hot and fast” side. I thought the meat loaf was about the best I’ve made so far. The fatty got good comments, but for some reason I tasted lighter fluid really strong. A good lesson for me: Wait to smoke until that yucky stuff is burned up.
We also cooked at a couple different picnic areas. In the picture above, I am grilling burgers and Italian sausages. Had some great experiences there too. We were almost down the creek with no paddle. I was squirting lighter fluid out of this tiny little can I bought at a travel center and paid too much for. Anyway, I was squirting it and suddenly the bottom ruptured and sprayed me in the face. Whew, what a surprise. Now I know why they say don’t squirt this on a fire. Bad design.
So here I am with lighter fluid on my clothes and a burst bottle and a charcoal fire that’s just barely surviving. Thank God we were able to reinforce the fire with some wood chips, paper, and the little fluid I had left and get the thing chugging. For a few minutes I was afraid we’d have to call off the picnic.
Now finally, a tribute to the faithful hot dog. This time we were just out of Cades Cove and it was misting. I had plenty of lighter fluid and we got the grill fired in record time. It seems we got the dogs on in less than 10 minutes. The fire was plenty hot and we got ‘r done and stood around the grill devouring weiners and chips. Yes, it was great.
So, that wraps up my barbecue stories for today. I hope you got a kick out of this blog post. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. If you like it, click the Facebook like button below. Please?
My Barbecue Magazine
On a slightly different note, I am very excited to announce that we just launched a new barbecue magazine in the iPad newsstand!
The name is StoryQue and it’s made to bring barbecue and story together. (We all love stories, right?) It’s filled with recipes, tips, reviews, business stories, and other sizzling stories.
Subscribe today and you’ll get the latest issue free plus a 30-day FREE trial. In other words, it won’t cost you a nickel the first 30 days.
In the August issue of StoryQue, I plan to give my readers some tips to make their vacation barbecue a great success. If you are truly in love with barbecue, if there is just nothing that can take the place of great barbecue, I’ll think you’ll like my tips. Whether you are at a park, a rental house on the beach or in the mountains, or wherever, and you’re trying to chill out with some great vacation-made que, my checklist will help you make it a great success.
PS. You’ll need to have an iPad with iOS5 or higher to get StoryQue. Install my free StoryQue app and open it. Inside the app you will see the option to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial. You can grab the latest issue FREE and get 30 days free access. Like I said we just launched the magazine, but when you subscribe, you’ll get a new issue every month. There is some exciting stuff coming up, so get on board today.