Random picture of Bailey because you're insane if you think I had the presence of mind to take a picture of the flaming smoker.
We're very low-key when it comes to celebrating holidays. We do up Thanksgiving and Christmas but all the others, I really could do without. Seriously, if I didn't have kids I think holidays would be just like any other day. The Mister agrees with me on this.
Still, we did up the 4th of July this year pretty good. We had plans to grill out and then hit the fireworks show in Santee like we do every year. Well, every year that we're in California.
The morning of, the Mister and I needed to run a few errands. We needed some melon, an extension cord, mosquito repellent, and other stuff that I can't remember now. We went to Home Depot first because it's easiest to get to from our house without a lot of traffic. We're going through the store and picking up what we needed and walked down the aisle with the grills. We have a fairly new gas grill but we had been wanting to get a smoker for some time now and what better occasion than the 4th of July? Sadly, the only smokers Home Depot had were in open and damaged boxes. Seriously. How do they expect to sell crap like that? We put down all of the things we picked up and went to Lowes.
Our nearest Lowes is located in a highly populated shopping area. It's in the same strip as the Ikea and we were really trying to avoid going there on a holiday because, as we expected, traffic was maddening. After parking ten years away from the store, we go in and find the extension cord, a few varieties of wood chips to go in the smoker, Off Clip-On fans (which I recommend), and the smoker. We get everything into the car (because we were dumb and didn't bring the SUV to the hardware store) and head home (forgetting the melon).
The Mister, being a man, is totally excited to get the smoker put together and try it out. This is what he's doing while I head to the grocery store for the forgotten melon. I get home and he's all ready to put the meat in the smoker. Living next to an open canyon in Tinderbox Socal makes me leery of having open fires so I ask him if he read the directions and knows what he's doing. Of course he has!! Um yeah. I'm looking at the rather large flamage going on in the smoker out of the corner of my eye while the Mister, the oldest child, and I play some Monopoly Deal on the patio. (No way in hell was I going inside while we had a potential raging inferno on the patio.)
We're playing, flames are growing, smoke is getting thicker, and I'm getting more nervous by the second. I ask the Mister again, at the risk of sounding all naggy, if he's sure that he has everything under control. Of course he does!! But, all three of us are watching the smoker while our cards are forgotten in our hands waiting for the inevitable. Then the Mister points out how the paint on the side of the smoker is bubbling and melting off the side. Huh. Is that normal? Next thing you know, flames are shooting out the door of the smoker and the freaking PAINT (or what's left of it) on the side of the ding dong thing is on fire. This is when I jump up, freaking out, run into the house to get my phone in case I need to call 911 (in my frenzy, I've forgotten that my phone was sitting next to me on the patio table) and the Mister is shouting, "Get the hose! Get the hose!" Nuh uh. I'm not coming back outside. He's on his own to get the garden hose and put the smoker out. Ok. So I'm not so good when it comes to fires. The oldest and I watch from the door while the Mister is soaking the smoker and putting the flames out and we both breathe a sigh of relief. I'm thinking that the smoker is going in the trash on Tuesday but no. The Mister, being a man, is eyeing the smoker with the same look that I'm sure prehistoric man had when he was trying to figure out how to cook his mammoth for the first time. The smoker is now a thing to be conquered.
He drags the thing out into the yard so that the sun can dry it out a bit saying how he's glad we bought so much wood chips so that he can try again. And lo and behold!! He reads the directions (the same ones he claims to have read already) and sees that the thing has a fill line for the heat source. He had WAAAY overfilled it, obviously. The second attempt goes much more smoothly considering that the flamage was much more under control and we were able to actually put the meat on the thing this time. So we're smokin' and playing our game waiting for dinner to be done. By this time, we had been at it for HOURS trying to cook some chicken. The youngest rolls home (she had been out playing with her friends up to this point) asking when dinner was going to be ready. She was STARVED. We tell her that it won't be much longer (really having no idea if we were right or wrong).
It's starting to get late. We need to eat, get ready to go, and drive to Santee early enough to get parking before they close the streets down. The girls and I get the side dishes ready while the Mister checks the chicken which is nowhere near done so he gives up on the smoker and tosses the bird parts on the gas grill, lmao. Still, having had the benefit of being on the smoker for as long as it was, the chicken tasted fantastic.
The Mister has since attempted to smoke meat once more with much better results (he had done some research on the web). We had a beef roast that tasted amazing but it took all freaking day to cook because he couldn't keep the temperature high enough on the smoker. The smoker is still a thing to be conquered.