How Hot Is It?

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It’s so hot… farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs!

It’s so hot… I saw two trees fighting over a dog!

What do you do when it’s so hot that you wear your wrinkled clothes outside to use nature’s ironing board, but you still need to cook up dinner?

How the seasons change.  When last December I wrote “How Cold Is It?“, little did I know that come the following August we’d be setting records for heat. Wednesday and Thursday ran 103 and 105 respectively, burning up prior records for August 2 and 3 by six or seven degrees Fahrenheit.

Yeah, I know, some parts of the world would snicker at those “record” temps, being accustomed to their record highs being 10 degrees higher, but Portland isn’t a desert. We wimpy Northwesterners prefer to find air conditioning to hide behind when the thermometer tops 90, a regular occurrence of late. Fortunately for me, 15 years ago when I replaced the furnace I opted to tie in central A/C so a hiding place was easily accessible. But that still doesn’t encourage me to crank up all the stove’s burners come dinner time on hot days, the A/C works hard enough as is.

It’s so hot… cows are giving evaporated milk!

It’s so hot… the radiator on the car is boiling over and the engine hasn’t even started yet!

The solution is to do the primary cooking outdoors.  Can you say Barbecue?

In years past grilling up a smoky repast was an occasional thing, supported by a little mini-Weber. Nothing fancy, sufficient for my wife and me. But in my secret caveman’s heart, a yearning for a fire a bit bigger, a bit more sophisticated was tugging away.

It all started 4 or 5 years ago when while killing time I stumbled into a store selling the “Big Green Egg”.  This creation is an egg shaped BBQ, made of ceramic with a metal outer shell.  It’s a “Kamado” style oven, charcoal based, with variants going back 3000 years.  Versatile, it can be used for standard grilling, low and slow traditional BBQ, and quick super hot searing.  Fuel efficient, self-contained, with juicy results. But the BGE seemed silly expensive, a medium-large model starts at $850 and accessories add on from there.  So, I stuck to my cheap little $40 Smoky Joe and left the grill lust in my secret thoughts, with the fantasies fading like lost youth.

A year ago fate intervened. Wandering through a local department store the section containing BBQ’s, in addition to the usual suspects, included an odd egg shaped cooker. The Char-Griller Akorn was not green, and its price tag did not make me turn white.  It’s not as high end and doesn’t have the ceramics, but reviews suggested it did a nice job.  This spring, I sprang for it, and latent fantasies were unleashed.

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Now that I had a more serious BBQ, it was time to do a more serious study of the BBQ arts. How to do low and slow, how long or hot to cook different things, different configurations for heating zones, and learning the hard way what the heck is that dreaded stall. Since spring I’ve been doing “homework” a couple times a week, and the dog hasn’t been the one eating it.

It’s so hot… hot water now comes out of both taps!

It’s so hot… the Statue of Liberty has pit stains!

It’s so hot… fire crackers light themselves!

So when the temperatures outside skyrocket and heating the house with a stove seems unthinkable, switching over to cooking Kamado style for a smoky delight becomes a win-win scenario.  But if you can’t do that…

It’s so hot… I bought a loaf of bread and before I got home, it was toast!

It’s so hot… a stalk of corn turns into popcorn!

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43 thoughts on “How Hot Is It?

  1. Very humorous piece. It’s odd that I’m finding more people who’ve gotten these ‘eggs’ recently after decades of not knowing anyone who did before. My son-in-law has a Green Egg and my chiropractor was just given an old, fully functional Kamado. They both SWEAR by them. I too am a wimpy NWer with a/c.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Live with it, my lad. My rellies (relatives) in Montana are complaining too, but here in the deep south we’re having so chill and wet a winter that my front door has swollen and is stuck. To avoid injury to my shoulder muscles, I’ve quit trying to haul it open and am going in and out through the back door. Bring on summer, say I. Though I may also have to cook outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t know if I really have a favorite, but I’ve gotten good reviews from guests on this one: Simon and Garfunkel Chicken. Personally I cut back on the sage in the rub, go moderate rather than generous on the application, and use a water pan under the chicken on the indirect side.

      The Kamado style ovens have thicker walls so they retain heat better, and they tend to be sealed better so not as much air moves through. (I almost always cook with the lid down – that was true on the mini-webber too). Less air moving through cuts down on the rate the charcoal burns up and how fast evaporated juices are carried away. There are trade offs between the different styles of BBQs, all have strengths and weaknesses.

      The website with the recipe is a gold mine of info, should you wish to read further.

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  3. I think you’re ready for the Borscht Belt! The Catskills are cool and rainy, you’d love it! Trees fighting over a dog had me laughing out loud.
    We’re having your Pacific NW weather here in NY! Suddenly there’s mellow guys in flannel & Birkenstocks opening coffee shops and microbreweries, and everyone is eating quinoa salads. Heck, next we’ll start having civil conversations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pilfered the “It’s so hot..” jokes off the internet, I can’t take credit there apart from picking what I thought were the funnier ones. I’ve noticed the rest of the country has been catching on with the microbreweries, interesting the flannel is catching on too. Seems like we’ve had a bit less civility lately, certain cultural forces have brought out the extremists.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, we’ve now got more than a hundred wineries in the Finger Lakes region, and microbreweries are popping up everywhere. And hard cider. They’re even growing hops again. Between the hot weather, tense political scene, it does seem like a darn good time to support the local economy, and drink heavily! (just kidding! 🙂 )

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I have a friend who bought a Big Green Egg and he absolutely loves it. He’s got all the accessories, took special cooking classes, etc. I guess he’s making a lot more money than I am, because you’re right – the price tag made me turn white!

    Sadly, my apartment complex does not allow bbq grills, so we have to wait until we are homeowners again before we can grill out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard that about that apt issue from others too. That’s one advantage of the little mini-weber or its ilk, they’re portable so you could take them camping or to some parks.

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  5. You are so funny! Oddly enough, here in St. Louis where we’re known for hot and humid summers, we are having a cool start to August, with low humidity. (And I’m not complaining!) But when it does heat up, as it did a couple of weeks ago, I tend to stay as close as possible to the air conditioning. And make my husband do BBQ. Sadly, he’s not exactly into it, so mostly he leaves the meat on the grill until is almost burned, then takes it off. I secretly feel I could do better, but am not willing to leave the air-conditioned comfort of the kitchen to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now you’re just egging me on!

      I think it’s considered bad form if you post your own web site link or a commercial link in the comments of someone that doesn’t know you from Adam. Since we’ve been following each other for a couple years (already!) , we’re good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We may have higher temps in Phoenix, but we still sympathize with our NW friends ’cause we know with your humidity and lack of A/C, you’re having a heck of a time! But at least you still have your sense of humor!
    By the way, I finally found your “follow by email” button! Before I only saw you in my reader, and I rarely go there anymore. (Not sure why it took me so long to find your email button. I blame in on my iPad. Yeah, that’s what it is.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The humidity isn’t too bad here in the summer, compared to other parts of the country. Maybe not as dry as AZ, but as we haven’t had rain for almost two months it’s not bad. Pretty smokey/hazy lately though.
      Thank you for reading, however you get to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard it’s wet in that part of the country this year. As for us, this is day 54 without rain this summer. I suppose we have to make up for last winter’s overabundance. And now I can enjoy that youthful fantasy of getting the grills. (Or was that girls, think I’m starting to have senior moments)

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  7. Great selection of “how hot” jokes and new to me. And I suspect Johnny Carson is laughing somewhere.
    An odd thing about the Florida coast is the afternoon highs “only” get to about 94. But they stick there, and by August, Alie is suffering from a “tropical depression.” We head for North Carolina this week to watch the solar eclipse and get some relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started out looking at Carson jokes, only found a couple, and thought they were meh. Is it sacrilege to suggest Carson was overrated? (Although I suspect he’d get a laugh out of some of these too.)
      I suspect 94 and humid would get old fast. We’re only 50 miles or so from the eclipse totality, but will likely skip the traffic jam.

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    1. Ah yes, the eating part – even more techniques. What sides to create? Use utensils or fingers? BBQ sauce after the fact or risk burning it on the BBQ? How big a stack of napkins? Which flavor of beer? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A good friend got the green egg this year and when we visited it he used it to do ribs. Sadly, he overcooked them! Still wasn’t used to the new grill I guess. But he does love it anyway :-). We’re getting some great BBQ spots here in CHS, most recently John Lewis from Austin, TX. We’re also getting some major heat and humidity but that’s not unusual for us. What IS unusual is that we have had several weeks of below avg temps and humidity this summer which was delightful. Loved your jokes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ribs can be tricky. The trick is to go low and slow until they get really hot, hot enough to melt the connective tissues, but without squeezing out the fat juices. Temp probes don’t work as well because of the bones, so it’s best guess for time and shake ’em to see how tender they are. At least that’s the theory, I haven’t done it often enough to say I’ve got it mastered. Hopefully the ribs don’t end up as jokes! 😉

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