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.
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!