It Is What It Is:

I threw a couple of coats of paint on it to make it more weatherproof.

Time to close it in. I would have preferred more plywood but it’s still so expensive so I settled for some 3/16″ Chalkboard/Whiteboard at less than a quarter of the cost., and I wont have to paint that part of it.

3 sides done and it’s time for the big reveal!

In Anthem we had 8′ tall cinder block walls enclosing the back yard so the beat up old coffee table I had my vertical smoker on was no big deal.

With half of Sun City passing by on the fifth green I figured I’d better up my game a little. Now I can keep it under the eaves and out of the weather when not in use but can easily wheel it out next to the grill when it’s time to do some smoking.

The front panel is held on with velcro for now. We’ll see if that lasts. If not I have another idea that I like better anyway. I’d just have to pick some 3/8″ dowel rod and knobs. I’m also going to work on the way the smoker is attached to the cart. I just tacked it down with some scrap wood for now.

Smoked Sockeye Salmon

For most of the 80’s I was getting ready for a monthly seafood event. There was little in the culinary world of up to the 80’s that was left unexplored for the elite members of Tucson society even well into the early 90’s.

Baked, roasted, broiled, boiled, steamed, braised, pickled, fried, raw, we filled rows of banquet tables with nearly every ethnic, etc. style of food and decorative element imaginable.

Once again, this was the 80’s. I spent the majority of that decade, plus some, at Skyline Country Club. I worked there starting as wait staff, then moved into the kitchen, always working the summers on the wait staff, but gradually expanding my skills in the every other aspect of the club’s services.

I have so many memories of this time that I’d love to share. I’m going to start off with one of my favorite smoked salmon recipes. Like so many things I have a love/hate relationship with this recipe.

Depending on predictions based on the the previous year’s numbers we would smoke anywhere from a ten to a few dozen sockeye fillet’s.

It’s been nearly 40 years but I decided last week it was time to resurrect this recipe for smoked sockeye salmon. It always started with a dry brine. I was gar de mange @ SCC. One part kosher salt and three parts light brown sugar. Enough to coat the salmon about a 1/4″. 12-24 hours later gently wipe the filet clean. Prep the filet to dry age for 12-24 hours.

Skin side down of course.

We broke down full salmon to consistent fillets for days getting ready for the monthly Seafood Extravaganza.

Yikes. The pin bones.

Seriously, think abut the pin bones for 40+ fillet’s.

I had a pair of needle-nose pliers I used to take care of the bones.

Fresh mango/lime salsa, steamed sprouts and smoked salmon.


Reverse Seared Tomahawk

Found a nice looking 3lb. tomahawk and dry aged it for a few days.

I loaded up the vertical smoker with some pecan wood while the tomahawk came up to room temperature. After 90 minutes @ 250 degrees it’s internal temp was @122 degrees so I pulled it out to rest for 20 minutes.

I cranked up the gas grill to 500 degrees and seared each side for 2-3 minutes with some rosemary compound butter.

It turned out to be one of the best steaks I’ve had in a long time. Nearly as tender as prime rib but much more flavorful.

A half of a baked potato and a fresh salad complete the meal.

A Sunday Roast

Water on the Smoke

I was burning some mesquite but I built the two fires in the in the side smoker/grill, and turned on the gas burners to cure the grill after a second soak of Canola oil.

It hasn’t rained in about ten weeks but here it is, our April Shower!

Sound up to hear nature sizzlin.

Easter Ribs with Applewood

20″x 10″ rack of pork ribs $8

I did not want to make a mess mopping on this first rib smoke so…

I should have wrapped the ribs at this point.

I forgot.

Still very juicy, Applewood Smoked Pork Ribs
Red, White and Blue Potato Salad
Roasted Corn with Ancho Chile, Lime Juice and Cotija Cheese
BBQ sauce on the side

Spring Break Brisket!

I couldn’t get away so I decided to spend a day cooking. I bought a 20lb brisket.

Spring Break Brisket

I trimmed it, made a simple rub, and started a slow burn in my side smoker with Kingsford original briquettes and a few chunks of Hickory. I put it in the smoker at midnight.

Spring Break Brisket

About 7 1/2 hours later I pulled it, wrapped it in parchment paper, and put it back in the smoker. I need to get some real butcher paper for this.

At 13 hours it finally hit 205 degrees so I pulled it out of the smoker and put it in my big cooler

Spring Break Brisket

An hour later it was a jiggling, juicy mass on my cutting board…

Spring Break Brisket