The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Wild, The Innocent & The E-Street Shuffle

The weekend started in a frenzy just to finish work, get home, shop for some groceries, load up the cat, the laundry and the toothbrush and get out the door. When we got to the house, there was ice on the tarp, and a thin line of snow along the edge of the driveway. It was 11:15pm.

We had 10 racks of ribs and 8 chicken breasts intended for the smoker, but other than that no big plans.

I got up early and started the fire. It was 8 degrees out and with the wind, about minus 12 degrees. Cold. Maybe not by the standards of those in Duluth or someplace, but cold. While the fire got going, I went inside and prepped the ribs.

It went faster than I expected, actually. And by the time they were ready to go, the fire was about 250 and sitting steady.
While the ribs cooked, I got a chair out from the basement and grabbed my guitar and strummed while the pit rolled on. It really didn't seem that cold anymore.

After I went inside to grab a snack, I found some apples that just looked great so I sliced them in half and cored them, then sliced them again into thin little wedges.

The vertical section of the pit was running about 125-150 degrees because I had the cold smoking baffle in place. The baffle creates a temperature difference of about 100 degrees between the horizontal and the vertical sections.

This was a perfect temperature to smoke dry the apples. We sprayed the grates with some non-stick stuff and laid the apples out. It turned out to be better to put them on the pizza round then right on the grate, and we also used a little stand that worked out nicely. They took a few hours, about 4-5, since they were sliced about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

When I took them off the pit, I put them in a low oven with the door cracked slightly open for a while longer. They came out crisp and sweet, with a surprisingly deep and rich smoke flavor that was almost too strong the first day, but mellowed considerably over the following days. The Granny Smiths are my favorite by far. They kept well in a ziplock bag. It was definitely an interesting experiment that deserves much more discovery and experimentation.


Anonymous Billinois said...

Looks good. Might need to try the smoked/dried apples in the Bandera near the top.

Funny part was pic #4 you said you strummed while the smoker rolled on. From the pitch of the cement, it looks like it literally could have rolled into the street. Enlarging the photo brought a laugh as I see the pitch is correct, and the wheels are blocked.

Sounds Good BYC. And I didnt know your house was on the ocean front. Looks nice.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

It's not really a house, it's more of a mansion...LOL.

We're about a block from the bay where we are, and when the trees are bare you see the water. That picture was from 'Main Beach', which is the town beach. Beautiful.

I noticed how slanted that other photo looked, too. I was like, "holy cow, Manfred! We got a runaway."

12:07 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Wow, Matt, only you could use your big man cooker to do something fantastic to apples. I'm thoroughly impressed. The picture of the coastline looks so serene. It doesn't matter if it's 15 or 55 degrees out the ocean is always beautiful.

8:59 PM  
Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...

Wait a minute. You cooked and it wasn't raining? Is this the true cause of global warming?

The apples look great. Did you need to sugar them or season them in any way?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Mona! Long time no see, my friend...Sounds like exciting things are happening for you. Yay! When are we having our bbq party??? We love walking on the beach in the winter....

WhiteTrash-- no sugar, no nothing. I soaked them in acidulated water until they went on the pit. The sugars and the tarness really concentrate as they dry, and they just didn't need the extra sugar.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Billinois said...

BYC, how do you add tarness?

Do you drop cigarette butts into the acidic water?

1:34 PM  
Blogger bigmouth said...

Good grief that looks amazing!


6:45 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Thanks, a&w...nice to see you here. I hope to have some nice shots from the party we're cooking for tomorrow.
I really do appreciate the nice words. I've been checking out your blog, too... obviously don't chew tobacco, doya?

10:36 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

I guess that would be blogs...

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

And here I thought this post was going to be about Bruce and the band!

That has been the kind of cold we have been having here in MN, and unfortunately it doesn't make me want to hang outside with the grill.

That all looks wonderful, especially the water.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Hiya Kate...Sorry to let you down by teasing everybody with the Boss...LOL.

We finally got our snow today that lets us know it really is winter. Other than that it's just been cold and windy. I'm ready for it to stop...uggh.

11:09 AM  

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