Starting the second 18
So, I’ve always been a big fan of BBQ. Probably long before I realized it. My first job was working in a BBQ joint, back in Rapid City, SD, around 1984. I was hired as a busboy, following in the footsteps of my older brother, Rob. The place deserves a big shout out. I remember The Chuckwagon as an older, dim, log cabin type of a place. Old wagon wheels, as you might imagine, adorned the seasoned walls of the establishment. Right when you walked in, you faced the nemesis. It was an eighteen foot, hot and cold chuckwagon buffet! They took great pride in serving the city’s freshest and most authentic BBQ chuckwagon style dinner in the Black Hills.
I have to hand it to them. To keep that abundance of fresh veggies and meats took two ladies to maintain. It was their baby, their pride and joy.
What sticks in my mind most, is the smell of the joint. Not only does it stick in my mind, but, it stuck in every stitch of clothing that I ever wore there. Coats and jackets had to be kept outside the Ashby house, or, face a trip to the town dump.
I think the remanent odor became a part of my DNA and has driven me to do, what I think I do best, which is smoke BBQ. Lots of BBQ. I have spent the last thirty years fixated on the glowing flame and embers that meet the rendered fat and juices, which produce a unique smell and flavor that I believe is never reproduced. Its like a fingerprint, or, a snowflake. Marry a long period of time, over a low and slow element of heat, and you’ve got the beginning of something special. Introduce just about any cut of meat from any type of farm animal to this marriage, the right way, and you are bound to find happiness come your way (as well as a handful of neighbors!).
So, you are 331 words deep in to this. If you know me, I’m pretty sure you are wondering where all of this is going. Here’s the cool part. I have an idea. Not sure of all of the details, but, it’s a journey we will take together. I guarantee it will be interesting. I promise to add as much humor and delight to keep you coming back. BBQ will definitely be the stoking the coals of the train we ride. Hang tight. Its going to be a trip worth taking…..for sure.