It rained far too much over the past night and day. It's very dark when driving at night in the rain. After playing around with some metal cans and failing to build something, I went and ate miso ramen. There wasn't enough to eat at home so I had to go out. That 550 yen bowl of miso ramen is always very satisfying. Not too expensive either. That always leaves the possibility for ice cream which I buy at the only convenience store around for miles. Friday nights are generally ice cream nights.
It was still raining this morning when I left to go buy an assortment of things. The road has tons of puddles because the heavy trucks have pounded down the road. If one is driving fast those could be bad news. I opted to head down south and check out some home centers I hadn't been to before. There are 3 within 500 meters of each other. Two seem to be doing okay and the third was almost too sad to walk around in. Well, one is brand new and has a great selection so it's not a surprise one is suffering. My main purchase today was wood chips for use with the grill. I picked up some cherry and hickory. The wood chips are cut very fine in small pieces but they appeared to be fine. I ended up with a trunk full of food and other random things today. Sometimes that is just the way it goes. Most important were the wood chips and a thermometer for the grill.
As I'm thinking of grilling a turkey for Thanksgiving I wanted to see how feasible it was to smoke meat on the grill. I won't be doing that for the turkey but I wanted a primer with temperature control. I got somewhat of a late start because I was out shopping all morning and into the early afternoon. But I got home and made a brine solution for three chicken breasts. Chicken breast is notoriously dry already so it isn't the best meat to smoke. I wanted something that would be done in 3 hours as opposed to 5 or more.
My makeshift smoking setup. I employed the use of an old bulletin board I found in my closet as a table to raise the grill up higher. This made it much easier to work with and manage rather than bending down to the ground. I'll make something more permanent eventually. After I left the breasts soak for 2 hours in the brine solution I fired up the grill (or tried to) and attempted to get the inside to a decent temp. At first it just wasn't hot enough so I had to mess around with it quite a bit. Basically adding more charcoal. My charcoal chimney should arrive tomorrow but in the meantime I got a terracotta saucer to keep a supply of charcoal lit in while I was smoking. I eventually got the temperature worked out mostly and then threw wood chips on top of the coals to get the smoking going. I had soaked some cherry chips in water but the coals weren't hot enough and this caused a massive dip in the temperature. I had to deal as best as I could given my grill.
There are the breasts that I wrapped in bacon to help preserve more moisture. The pan of water helps to regulate the temperature more than anything. You can see the coals piled over to the right side. This was at about 2 hours and that is when I cut the smoking. I then finished with just heat for cooking. In 30 more minutes I then applied a BBQ sauce I made earlier in the day. Not too heavy but just enough to give a nice coating that helped bake the outside nicely. At roughly 3 hours the chicken had come to the right temperature so off it came.
Looks pretty good right?
I was in a pretty BBQ spirit so I made a vinegar based coleslaw with chopped cabbage and shredded carrot. This is simple to make and very delicious. I like both kinds of coleslaw, creamy and vinegar. For some reason I tend to like vinegar based more so these days with BBQ. Basically I used straight white vinegar and sugar in equal parts. It sat in the frig for a few hours while I was smoking the meat. The BBQ sauce was very delicious too. I could eat that plain. It had molasses, white wine vinegar, ketchup, mustard, and other spices. I'm not sure why I haven't made a sauce before. I'll be sure to play around some more.
They look so dark because of the BBQ sauce applied toward the end. I didn't overcook them at all. The bacon was very smokey and tasty. The breast was not overly dry and had a lovely smoke flavor through it. When I first took a bite it sent waves of euphoria through my body. I thought to myself, "This might be the best I have made ever. I sure love BBQ and miss it." I also made a side of french fries to compliment the entire experience. Nothing less than an authentic BBQ meal. I bought a hunk of pork today as well. I think I'll try to smoke that next. Perhaps on Wednesday which is a day off.
And dad, thanks for you effort in grilling and BBQ. It really takes some time and love. However, the result is some of the best food ever. Better watch my waist line...