Game Face


Steve H. of Hog on Ice and Val Prieto of Babalu Blog are having a smoke-off. Steve will be smoking a duck; I think Val is doing a chicken.

I'm torn as to who I should throw my support to. I mean, I have conversed with Steve on several occasions, whereas I've never done so with Val. So Steve gets points for acquaintanceship.

But Steve fallaciously insists his electric smoker will outperform Val's charcoal smoker. Oh, sure, the finished products of the two smokers will likely be nearly indistinguishable, taste-wise. Steve, however, omits the "soul factor" from his calulations.

Smoking is more than just putting a hunk of meat into a warm smoke-filled enclosure until it reaches the peak of tenderness and tastiness. Smoking is a labor of love - tending the fire, keeping the temperature on the sweet-spot, adding the smoke-producing wood chunks. It demands periodic attention throughout the day, and when you've finished, you have a work of art that the people you're feeding know is the result of your expert ministrations.

It shows them that you care enough to smoke the very best.


Plus, of course, during the intervals between smoker-tending sessions you can drink beer. Make sure you have at least a twelve-pack handy.

If you're using an electric smoker, you might as well just oven-roast the meat and add Liquid Smoke when you're done.

Sorry, Steve - I have to go with Val on this one.


I guess I should point out the irony of a person who writes using a computer, complaining about smoking meat with a primitive electric heating element.

Possibly. But if my old Amiga500 was capable of any useful work, I'd still be using it.

In contrast, charcoal is a perfectly serviceable method of cooking. There has never been an absolute need to supercede it; it hasn't stopped working yet. ;-)

Charcoal is a crude method. You should at least use coal that's undergone advanced physical cleaning followed by aqueous phase pretreatment, selective agglomeration, and the like.

If nothing else, make your own charcoal. But to make it challenging, try making it out of leaves, like this researcher in India finally managed to do.

Mmmm... Maple leaf smoked duck... Mmmm....

Hmm... You need to check Steve's update Russ. I think Val has a good chance of taking him.

Thanks for the support Russ. Using an electric smoker is one step closer to calling Pizza Hut for a smoked chicken pizza.

Iffin you dont work on it, it aint BBQ.

Electric? Charcoal?

Sorry, but if it's being smoked, what's wrong with WOOD?

For grilling, I prefer gas(with wood chips in assist) to charcoal, but for smoking or camp cooking, wood's the only way to fly.

You tell 'em, Brian! "Mesquite smoked" isn't supposed to mean cooked over a pile of charcoal with a few mesquite chunks thrown in for good measure.

Out here in SoCal, when people say 'barbecue' they are usually referring to cooking burgers on a gas grill. Sacrelige, I tell you!!! Those of us raised in Texas (and a few other choice locations) know that BBQ is a sacred thing.

Granted, good smoking wood is a bit harder to find out here, but the effort is more than worth it.

Speaking of which, I need to go pick up another rack of ribs.


Well, Scott, I prefer Red Alder to Mesquite, but that's because I'm from the Pacific Northwest. I'm a firm believer in the "When in Rome" school of cooking. If I were to visit the south, I'd expect the wood to be hickory. In the Southwest, Mesquite. Here, it's alder -- the Indians of the PNW have used it to smoke food for centuries, and it's darned good. Ther one-two combo for traditional northwest food is to put salmon steaks on cedar planks and cook them by an alder fire.

I do use a gas grill, but that's of necessity, not choice -- a real wood barbecue is darned expensive.

One of the great things about living in the land of the destination of the Oregon Trail is the fact that immigrants came here from all over the rest of the country, and so our cuiasine and culture have been influenced by multiple sources -- the Deep South, New England, and the Midwest, as well as German, Dutch, Scandinavian and Irish. So while one form of barbecue is gospel in one region and anathema in another, all forms are perfectly acceptable here.


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This page contains a single entry by Russ published on May 7, 2004 10:26 PM.

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