Whole – y Smoked Chicken

Whole Smoked Chicken

Used salt, garlic salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, chili powder and paprika for the rub and then smoked it using a combination of apple and mesquite woods.

Took about 3 1/2 hours at 325F-ish for IT to reach 170F. Wrapped in foil and let rest. Carved into pure chicken perfection. Next time I am going to take the temp up to 190F though; a little under done in some places for our taste.

Whole Smoked Chicken
Whole Smoked Chicken

 

Whole Smoked Chicken
Whole Smoked Chicken- Another angle

 

mmm smokey
mmm smokey
plate of goodness
plate of goodness

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters

Did chicken leg quarters on the smoker tonight. Used an apple wood rub and then smoked them at about 350F for an hour. The temp probe showed 196F when I took them out of the smoker. I finished them by doing a quick sear on both sides just to crisp things up.

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters
Apple wood Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters

I really impressed with how much smoke flavor made it into the meat in only a bit over an hour!

Chicken and mashed
Chicken and mashed

A bit hard to tell from this pic but there was a great smokey pinkness going on here. Really a great result for an experiment in smoking chicken.

Smoke ring on chicken
Smoke ring on chicken

Smoked Pulled Pork

Been smoking some meats lately and I thought I would post pics and stuff here.

Pork Butt:

I used Alton Brown’s recipe as a guide. This meant soaking it a brine for about 10 hours.

pork butt in brine
pork butt in brine

 

I used a store bought rub.  I coated it in mustard first and then applied a generous amount of rub to the entire butt. While it was coming up to ambient temp I got the smoker heated and a good head of smoke going.

 

ready for the smoker
ready for the smoker

I ended up fighting with the temp all night and eventually ran out of charcoal. I also used about 7 pounds of apple wood chunks. At this point the butt was not done and I threw it in the oven to bake at 225 while I went and took a nap.

Nice bark!
Nice bark!

And then all that was left was the pulling and the eating! So delicious.

 

after it was pulled
after it was pulled

The Other Side of Life

Death. Just the word makes most people’s skin crawl.

It seems so…final. So much more so as an atheist. Religious people have an afterlife to look forward to after their death. An atheist knows, or is at least fairly certain, that there is no pearly gates, St. Peter or 72 virgins waiting for them on the other side of life.

Death has been on my mind a lot lately and not because I am wanting to die; set your mind at ease with that. My uncle, Galen, died a week ago and it has hit me fairly hard. I didn’t see it coming until we went to visit him in the hospice. That is when it hit me. Hard. I knew that it was coming eventually; he did have spinal cancer and was the spry young age of 87 after all. I just wasn’t expecting it this fast. I had so little time to converse with him; learn from him; get to know him. It doesn’t seem fair somehow. And yes this is entirely selfish but I think that he enjoyed our conversations as much as I did. He had a brilliant mind to go along with his artistic and creative abilities that is unrivaled in my eyes.

The only artwork that we have in the house is from his hand. They are among my most cherished items.

About 3 years ago I was hospitalized for 9 days and Galen and Priscilla came to visit me. I was surprised to find out that they were coming; I had not had much interaction with either of them for most of my life. It was around Easter and although I abhor religious holidays I do enjoy chocolate. They brought me a giant chocolate bunny and we sat and talked for a while. I had only vague memories of Galen being very religious and was fairly certain that I was going to hear some preaching. I didn’t. We just talked. There was no religious talk whatsoever. It really was a pleasant surprise and great visit. I found out later that my memories of his religious beliefs were just that, memories. He was no longer involved with the church and after many conversations and input from others I discovered that we had more in common than ever. We both hated organized religions and doubted the existence of a god in any form.

I am much more militant about my atheist beliefs than he was but there were a lot of points that we could agree on and in the past 3 years we have had some great talks. He even handed a folded paper to me at a family get together that was a couples of pages of his musings and beliefs on religion. I still have it. It meant so much to me that he would take the time to write out his thoughts and give them to me. I read it right then and there and tried to return it to him but he would have none of it. It was mine to keep he said. We talked briefly about what he had written but as is the case of so many family get togethers there was too much going on and too many people wanting to talk to one or the other of us. I had wanted to follow up with him and talk some more but it never happened. Just a short time later he was hospitalized and I only saw him one more time. He was not conscious and so we never got to finish our conversation.

There was a nice memorial service at their house in New Durham the Sunday following his death and I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and memories with the assembled family. It was rough but it was nice to see so many people who loved him and had been touched by him. Although I had far too short a time to get to know him, I love him. I miss him. Although I did not see him on a regular basis I miss the knowledge that this wonderful man is in the world and I could look forward to getting to talk to him again.

Holly told me that if anyone I knew was going to come back and tell me “Aww man Hippy, were we ever wrong! There is an afterlife!”, it would be Galen. I have not received any such message or visitation. While not proof that there is no afterlife, I know that if there were any way for him to get a message to me about it, he would.

My biggest comfort is in the quantum theory that there are an infinite number of parallel universes that contain every possibility. I know that in at least one of them, Galen and I are still able to have conversations and who knows, maybe we found each other sooner and had longer to enjoy those conversations.

Aging Causes Lack of Creativity?

I seem to recall a time when creativity burst forth from my mind at the speed of thought. I don’t care what that arrogant genius Einstein has to say about it, thoughts are far faster than the speed of light. What happened to my creativity? As I have aged has the basic structure of my brain changed such that creativity is less important than survival and my neurons have rewired themselves into survival mode? Disturbing thought. Usurped by my own mind. Bastard. But seriously…or as serious as I can get…has anyone else noticed this? I read plenty. I watch movies and documentaries. I love increasing the knowledge with reading news articles, tech blogs and the like. I am enrolled full-time in college. What else could it be but age? I seriously would like to hear your input.