Connie MooreIMG_1189

In one of our old family albums, there is a faded black-and-white photo of my husband grilling in the dead of winter with snow a foot deep. He is dressed out as thick as an Eskimo, the grill shifted to the open porch where he could keep an eye on it and run into the house to catch a breath of warm air every so often.

He had no desire to stand out in January cold, building a fire, slowly grilling a beef roast with barbecue sauce on it. Yes, it could have been done in the oven, but what about the great smoke flavor? What about the challenge of keeping the temp just right? What about the macho thing? Ah, yes, that was back when he was young, easily influenced by his wife and willing to answer questions from the curious neighbors.

We still grill in winter, but it is our son who is master of the outdoor range now. With a grill and smoker, just about any meat or fish can be cooked. While I write this, the smoker is puffing away with a five-pound pork butt (mustard and dry rub applied) slowly coming to a temperature of 205 degrees F in a heat of 265 degrees F. Patience is essential; hours go by before it is time to let it cook over a pan of apple juice. After a ten-hour process, the meat is full of flavor and tender enough to shred at a touch of a fork. But it’s not done. Honey is smoothed over top and it rests for two hours. Only then is it shredded, sliced, and ready for the next day’s eating.


Last evening, a large trout was cooked over coals in the kettle grill. Cold evening air blew steady all around, but the foot or so in front of the grill was toasty warm. An inviting aroma filled our senses with butter, salt, pepper, and thoughts of the hot sauce of butter, shallots, green onions, garlic, and hot pepper flakes to be poured over the plated, crispy, brown beauty. Fish cooks quickly, so it wasn’t long before we sat down to eat.

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