My Simple Thanksgiving Miracle

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI’ve had a Thanksgiving miracle.

To beat all, it came four days before Thanksgiving.

I love to cook meat in a smoker.

For years and years I had one of those barrel smokers with the firebox attached to it.

I smoke all kinds of meats, but pork shoulder is my favorite.

In the wood-fired smoker, it took a pork shoulder about 30 hours to finish up. And, I had to check the fire every hour or so, which meant getting up a half dozen times a night.

A few years ago, I gave up that nonsense and got an electric one.

It had all kinds of digital controls and little beepers that went off for all kinds of reasons. It worked fine when it worked. I replaced several parts on it over time until it completely died.

Then I got another one. Almost from the get-go, this one started giving me problems. The digital display would go crazy and tell me the temperature was something like H3E instead of 250. Then it conked out completely.

Fast forward to last Sunday — 4 days away from Thanksgiving — and I had no smoker to cook the turkey on.

I went to the store, fully expecting only to see smokers with buttons and beepers.

And then the miracle happened.

Sitting right there on the shelf was an analog electric smoker. It had a simple dial to regulate the temperature like an electric skillet. It had an old-fashioned thermometer with numbers printed on it and a hand that tells you how hot it is inside.

It didn’t have any buttons. It didn’t have any beepers. It didn’t have a schizophrenic digital display.

It is now on my back deck.

I knew I had to give it a spin before Thanksgiving, so I bought a beef brisket.

It took me several minutes to get the temperature regulated, which never was a problem on the digital model, but I chalked it up to inexperience.

Then after a while I realized the wood chips weren’t smoking. Before I put them in, I wet them to make them burn more slowly; so I figured I had too much water in the chip pan.

Being unable to leave it alone, I opened the door to add some dry chips — because everyone knows that letting all the heat escape an oven always makes it cook faster.

When I closed the door, my good old-fashioned thermometer told me the temperature had dropped to around 100 degrees inside.

So I waited for the little orange light to click on to tell me it was heating again.

It didn’t click on.

I resisted the urge to nudge the control knob. I resisted the urge to thump it. I pulled up a chair so I could wait for it to start heating again.

It was like a scene on a Lifetime movie where I was sitting by my grandfather’s hospital bed waiting for him to wake up from a coma.

Before too long, though, it did click on, the chips soon started smoking, and I forced myself to walk away for awhile.

I’m a little gun shy when it comes to these contraptions, but hopefully this miracle will live on for a while, and I will learn to let it do its thing.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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