Snoop 8-Double-0-Double-g

I got up this morning and made myself a coffee in my shiny new, white Ember Mug. Summer wanted me to smoke some ribs, so I had to get an early start for the over six-hour process. When she got up, she seemed to be having a rough day, and we could never quite put a finger on why. I think we both just feel a little stuck in a house that we can’t fully unpack in yet, and to be honest, I think maybe she’s starting to feel how I’ve felt at her house for the past several years.

I got the ribs onto the smoker, but struggled to get anything connected or updated properly. The Ember Mug refused to update its firmware, just as my other one did for years. Then the Gravity 800 smoker wouldn’t connect to the new wireless network. It took me nearly two hours to get everything connected properly.

Eaddie left for band practice pretty early in the day, so Summer and I ran to my old house for my barbecue spray bottle. We had to get back to spritz the meat, but then we went to Zaxby’s for some lunch before going to Walmart to pick up some potatoes and Brussels sprouts for dinner.

When we got back to the house, I wrapped the ribs for two more hours on the grill. Then I unwrapped them for one last hour with a maple glaze. I was pleased that we got rid of a whole bottle of Larry the Cable Guy seasoning and the ribs didn’t turn out too salty.

We also moved the cabinets out of the laundry room and into the building out back. I’m having trouble coming up with a good name for it, and I think we need another “shed” for lawn equipment. Eaddie brought Eli over for dinner, and nobody complained about any of the food. Afterward, I cleaned up the kitchen and got the smoker prepped for next time.

Just as I finally had a chance to settle down, Eaddie made it back home and came into the bedroom to tell me she had gotten a flat tire. She had some story about getting scared by another vehicle, which didn’t seem to make any sense. We went out to take a look, and the front-passenger wheel was sitting on the ground with a completely flat tire. We didn’t see a tear in the tire anywhere, and I especially don’t know how she managed to hit the front and not the back. Luckily Summer will be able to take her to school in the morning, and get the tire replaced tomorrow.

I need a substantial break, and that dog needs to shut the hell up. These new neighbors are ruining our outdoor vibe.

The Host that Smokes

Summer spent all morning getting ready for everyone to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. We struggled to get Autumn to help as usual, and we’re just counting the days until we show her, imperically, that she’s not pulling her weight around the house. In fact, she’s completely delusional, as is often the case.

Summer really wanted to get a table and chairs set up early, so I took out some trash and dumped it at Dwight on the way, and brought back a big and little table, as well as chairs. Then I quickly made the butter and seasoning concoction that I would be injecting into the bird. I made it about a block down the road before I realized I forgot to actually take the turkey with me, so I had to turn back.

The smoker started reliably well, but I kind of forgot how foolproof it was and unnecessarily started it twice. It got up to temperature much more quickly than I prepped the bird. I wished I had done all of that at Summer’s where I had more room to work. I was in and out of gloves to get the grill set up, and then had trouble getting the drip pan in under the grates. I just needed to think my process through better before starting. My syringe clogged during my very first attempt to inject the first breast, but I was eventually able to clean that out and made it work.

The turkey seemed to be rising in temperature pretty steadily, but it was pretty clear it wasn’t going to be done by 4 when we told everyone we would be eating. I eventually had to crank the heat up from the already-high 295 all the way up to about 350 to finish it off, because I wasn’t sure of the accuracy of the temperature probe, and I didn’t think to use my wireless Meater probe alongside the one integrated into the smoker. Ultimately I lost the apparently cool part that I was measuring, and every other part I probed tested over 160.

Just before it finished, I glazed it with some of the leftover butter and seasoning from the injection, and mixed in some honey and bourbon. The skin was super crispy, and I think the glaze softened it up a little bit, but it could have also been the covered ride back over to Summer’s.

Mom, Dad, Bác Vân, and Doug were all there with the girls. Julie was somehow last after I told her not to rush on account of the turkey. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait any longer than it took me to carve the turkey, and we all dug in.

All of the food was great. Summer made a bunch of sides and a ham, and the turkey was at least done, and I thought it presented well. I thought it was a little bit salty, could have used some more smoke, and ended up not being as moist as I expected. I assumed that was all because of my cook time and temperature, so next time I’ll take much more care to start earlier. Hopefully we can pick up some more turkey on clearance in the coming days.

After we ate, Julie wanted to play a game, so the girls brought out Phase 10. She had to teach Mom how to play, and the game wasn’t entirely without drama, but I think most everyone had a good time while Dad, Bác Vân, and Doug watched from the couch. We played through more phases than I expected, and then everyone filed out relatively quickly. Summer was proud of how quickly everything broke down and cleaned up, and then she was off to bed while the girls started on another jigsaw puzzle before bed.

Less heat; more smoke!

Super Cheesy

It was a crisp sort of frosty this morning, lugging my cheeses back home for smoking in the evening. I made it in to work without event, but Gary messaged to say he would be out for a few days after slipping on ice and breaking his arm. It was pretty quiet, otherwise. Thomas sounded significantly better, and said he was finally nearing normal.

I spent a large portion of the day finishing up some work for CPPC, between helping Brody with random things. I thought I’d make it to Oakland at some point, but I never did.

Zach, Thomas, and I went to Arby’s for lunch. I had thought to myself recently that it had been a while since we’d eaten there, so it was a treat. Their new Brisket, Bacon, ‘n Beef Dip was awesome, and then Zach bought us all turnovers for dessert.

When we got back, I printed off some copies of the CPPC email and changed policies, and walked them over to Transportation, as well as all the way out to the bus barn for the drivers less likely to read their email. The rest of the afternoon just got quieter and quieter until quitting time.

As soon as I got home, I rushed to get things ready to smoke my cheese. I did some quick research, sliced up all of my big blocks, and loaded them onto a metal rack to stick in the grill. My A-Maze-N Tube Smoker lit off like a champ, and we were off to the races.

I stuck around for about an hour and flipped the cheeses, then went to Taco Bell to pick up dinner. I video called Summer while I waited in line, and then made it home to eat. I flipped the cheese some more, then did a couple miles on the treadmill before coming back in to finish things up.

It took me a bit to get the vacuum sealing right, but I was pretty pleased with the results. All of the cheeses looked pretty good, but I won’t know until at least the end of the week how good they really turned out. They’ve got to rest a bit while they’re all wrapped up, so the smokey flavor mellows out. I did sneak a couple pinches of the shredded cheese though, and it was pretty good.

Sucks to suck.