Last year on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, I sat out on my deck in the late morning with some Bulletproof Coffee and watched as a lazy haze of smoke floated by. “Barbecue is starting” I thought to myself Idly, as I started planning my own foray into the art of smoked meats for the day. You’ve seen some of the pictures of my barbecue adventures. Barbecue is both a delightful crowd pleaser, and it’s an intensely meditative adventure in the art of forming your meal out of the raw materials of Meat, and stuff.
The Fourth of July is the quintessential Barbecue holiday, and one of my favorite holidays. My family, as with many others, has a long history of putting together a very big barbecue on the fourth; sometimes as a small gathering with a few friends, and sometimes as a full family reunion with a huge crowd! I’ll have a chance to share what a large family reunion looks like for my family a year from now when I head to my biennial family reunion. Needless to say, it is more than definitely picture worthy! In the mean time, we will barbecue with or without a large number of mouths to feed.
This year I started out my Barbecue adventure with a couple of different styles of meat that I wanted to dress and serve. I was thawing out some Short Ribs, 2 roasts (one beef, one pork), a tongue, and 4 lbs of ground meat (2 beef and 2 pork) for burgers. Smoked meat is wonderful. It’s also a time-intensive endeavor, and a good excuse to make far more than is necessary for that meal.
Aside from the pure enjoyment I had taking care of my family and friends, I did a couple of neat things that I will definitely have to do again. I wasn’t entirely certain they would work… But they did!
- I forgot to get Smoke wood, so I used Bacon Grease
- I typically use solid hardwood chunks to add the smoke to my barbecue. When I am really well prepared, I will soak the hardwood in water or salt water before throwing them on the coals, though that’s not entirely necessary. This time, however, I completely and totally forgot to bring home the hard wood for my barbecuing… So I had to improvise when the smoke started to run out. Bacon grease from the morning’s meal turned out to be a perfect substitute! I spooned about a tablespoon onto the coals every 30 minutes or so, and the smoke was both delicious and every bit as thick as I’d like it to be!
- I didn’t marinate – so I spiced in the barbecue, and brushed with coconut oil
- I’m not sure what made me think of brushing the meat with coconut oil while it was smoking, but it was amazing! The meat soaked up that smoke flavor like me drinking water after a long run on a summer day! It was awesome!
All told, the day was excellent! The food was perfect! And my guests were thrilled, delighted, and perfectly happy to sit around the table on the deck and relax as the fireworks in the distance added percussion to our chats… Couldn’t be better.
What did you do for the fourth? Barbecue? Grill? Family? Travel? Tell me your adventures in the comments below!