Saturday, June 11, 2005


How I became PIT KING! (confessions of a BBQ addict)

BBQ'n for a crowd
Originally uploaded by greatwhitebear70.
BBQ as a way of life has become a necessity for me. My daughter and I share a 3 bedroom, upstairs apartment in a 130 year old home, situated on the edge of the Notre Dame student ghetto. The entire apartment is cooled by two window air conditioners. It takes hours for these units to catch up if I heat up the kitchen, so in the summer, by necessity, I cook outside.

Fortunately, my backyard is ideal for this. Although small, it is very secluded, thanks to a long neglected fence line that includes 5 trees, a number of shrubs, and a thick quilt of ivy and wild grape covering the ancient chain link fence. In the summer this dense foliage blocks out most of the light from the neighboring security and street lights, giving it a country feel. Throw in the fire pit and some Tiki torches, and it is also a great place to throw a cookout, which we do frequently. In addition to my smoker and grill, my little outdoor party kitchen also features a 3 burner lp stove, and a small fridge for keeping the beer and pop ever ready.

While outdoor cooking is now a necessity for me, it is my father who is responsible for my BBQ addiction. Actually, Dad came to outdoor cooking rather late in life. When I was growing up, he never much cared to cook out. But Dad was an incurable gadget guy. And while I was away at college, he started to hear friends talk about this wonderful new invention called a Weber Kettle. Of course, the folks had to try it, and suddenly, Dad was an outdoor cook par excellance. Not just your standard burgers and hot dogs, mind you. Chicken quarters, steaks, chops, pot roasts, picnic hams, and especially turkeys, all got the Weber touch. Winter, summer, spring, fall, mattered not. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail became Dad's personal BBQ motto. In my entire life there is one picture I most regret not taking. It's the one of Dad in Bermuda shorts and T-shirt, standing just inside the half open garage door, tending to the Christmas turkey as his trusty Weber blazes away in the midst of a near blizzard.

When Attilla the Hen and I married, one of the first presents my parents bought us was a Weber of our very own. Within months, we had spread the addiction to our entire church. Soon, no church dinner went without ham and turkey cooked on Webers. Then, someone at church converted their home from oil heat to gas. The oil tank was immediately salvaged and turned into a hog roaster by one of the men. Every year thereafter, Sunday dinner at the annual church campout consisted of a hog roast.

So, you see, my addiction to artery clogging food with a hint of smoke is long and pervasive. Hopefully, no one will try to cure the addiction anytime soon!

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to post some of my best large group cookout recipes on the Church Potluck site, so be sure to check there!

Now cooking at the Church Potluck: Pulled Pork BBQ

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