Thoughts by Richard Bleil
My regular readers know that I have been buying far too much sh…tuff lately. Among my purchases includes a chest freezer, two hundred pounds of buffalo for the chest freezer, a new gas oven, a meat slicer, and a combination grill smoker. Now I need to use them so they don’t turn into a waste of money.
Today, I decided to try my hand at brisket jerky. It’s the first time I’ve tried it so I’m sure it won’t be the best, but I have high hopes. Last night, I set my meat slicer to thick (because I’m assuming there will be shrinkage) and sliced the brisket. I marinaded in honey, soy sauce and spices including crushed red pepper because I like my jerky hot. Today, I started them in my oven, using, for the first time, the “dehydrate” function. I dehydrated for four hours, and it was smelling great. Now I’ve moved them onto the smoker, with the lowest temperature setting being higher than I would like, to finish up for an hour with smoke.
Transferring the meat from the oven to the grill, a few tiny pieces fell off (actually they were odd pieces from the slicing process), and I couldn’t resist giving them a try, and I learned two things. First, they are so very good. I’m no longer atheist kind of good. And second, they are truly hot. These will be amazing.
I’ll smoke them for another hour, and if necessary, pop them back into the oven. This will be, at the very least, a 24-hour process if you include the marinading process, or a five hour minimum dehydration and smoking process. Chefs call this cooking style “low and slow”, for low temperature and long cooking times. For many years, my cooking style has bee very slow. I allow my pizza dough to rise overnight, and my barbecue wings to cook for ten to twelve hours. I let my chili and spaghetti cook for hours on end, all because I’ve always believed in low and slow.
One thing is for sure. You cannot smell my cooking if you are impatient. I am a big believer in spices, and my cooking is very flavorful and aromatic. But patience is more than a virtue. It’s sexy.
Have you ever had a pending date with that one person you’ve been attracted to for what feels like an eternity? The anticipating is delicious. Before the date, all of the primping, preparation, planning for that perfect date that is never perfect after all, and yet it’s always the failures in the date that make it so much fun.
The best things in life are worth the wait. I’m not sure that people understand this anymore. I once had a friend who, every time she saw a used bookstore, would stop in to look for readers. I don’t know who published it, but apparently it was an entire series with many books. She found one when she was with me, but it was even better than that. She found one of the few remaining books that were not already in her collection. Her excitement was palpable. She found these books just stopping in to used bookstores every time she saw a new one, year after agonizing year. Today, there are so many online places that I’m positive that, even as rare as this series is, you could find the entire set, even if one at a time, in an afternoon.
This kills the concept of a collector’s set. The idea for a true collector is the search, every time you’re near a place that might have another one. The fun is the anticipation, the waiting, the patience. This week, I ordered a new keyboard, but they were out of stock, but that’s okay. It just means that I’ll have to wait a little bit longer, but I lose that excitement of if I’ll find it or not. I know I’ll get it, it’s just a matter of time. When it arrives, I won’t be excited to get it. Oh, sure, I look forward to trying it out, but that excitement of finding it, and getting it home, never thinking I would ever actually manage to find it is just gone. It’s been replaced with whether or not to ship it overnight, or how upset I’ll be if it doesn’t get here in time. That fun excitement, anticipation, uncertainty of whether or not I’ll find it is just a thing of the past. A lot of people will never understand that, and I pity those who don’t.