Until next time.

After a few minor setbacks, we’ve spent the last couple of years trying to figure out where we’re going to live, what we’re going to do for a living and whether or not the gain was worth any of the pain. Beyond the whole economic collapse landing on our doorstep (and subsequently foreclosing on that doorstep and selling it at auction), relocating to a mediocre city (Kansas City) and the death of one of the best dogs that ever walked on four legs (Jezebelle), I gave up my smoker.

Prior to parking my beloved Brinkman barrel next to the dumpster behind our place in Chicago, the act of cooking with charcoal and wood had been a hobby for roughly 15 years. But as with so many other things, I was losing my motivation. The notion of dragging the rusty old rig halfway across the country to another address and making a whole new crop of neighbors mad with smoke, fire and big slabs of meat just didn’t make any sense anymore. I’d been beat. I’d decided to stick to the basics. A Weber and a few chicken breasts would be just fine.

Avoiding any silly “flame” metaphors, let’s just say it didn’t take long for my BBQ fantasies to resurface. Rather than actually buying a new smoker, I spent a couple of years pacifying myself by lingering in the lawn & garden section at Lowe’s and cruising Craigslist for an incredible deal. I held off until last weekend when we woke up to yet another rainy Saturday morning with no real plans for the weekend and it hit me. If I had a smoker, I’d have something productive and tasty to do with myself. The search began.

I wound up with a Weber bullet. A Smokey Mountain Cooker to be exact. I’d never been real impressed with the “bullet” style smokers, but a couple of YouTube videos and various chunks of online testimony changed my opinion. Sunday afternoon was the maiden voyage. I went with one of my most famous failures—pork ribs and to my surprise the results weren’t bad. Frankly, it was the best slab of meat I’ve ever made. Which may not be saying much, but I believe there may be hope for the future. In more ways than one. Beyond smoking meats.

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