And suddenly, I’ve skipped an entire month of updates. Where does the time go? I swear it’s the rain, it is actually affecting my routine in general. Who even wants to go outside and get pummeled with water? Or, in more than one case, hail? We’ve even seen thunderstorms, which seem an extreme rarity to me since moving here. Between the weather and the necessary but wholly unenjoyable drudgery that is work, I just haven’t done a whole lot. But hey, now it is Spring and I’m ready to turn the corner. Still getting some lack of cooperation from the weather as far as that goes, but it’ll change. Won’t it? Please?!?!?!

What have I done in the month of absence? Well, precious little honestly. Our mothers both came out for a visit, which was fun. We went down to the Bay and did some sight-seeing, up to Placerville for some shopping, and other random activities. And, of course, I’ve taken a few opportunities to use my new smoker. Literally, a few. The rain doesn’t even come into play really; The outside of the cooker is like 3″ thick insulated steel, and it’s under the covered patio, so it does fine. But who wants to spend the afternoon huddled inside watching crappy tv, occasionally putting on a jacket to go outside and check the temps? It just ain’t the same. I’ve been so excited to use it I went ahead and fired it up a few times anyway. The first cook, honestly, was a challenge. It took me two hours to get it up to temp, then I spent the remainder of the day (literally, “the day,” a full 14 hours) messing with the air intake. I cooked a few slabs of ribs and two pork shoulders; The ribs were passable, but I didn’t really enjoy the pork that much. Setback, to be sure. I called the builder a few weeks later, lamented my troubles, and he spent a good 45 minutes (well past my attention span but I appreciated his time and the subject matter was interesting enough to keep me on) offering advice. Key points were his recommended start up procedures, and “quit messing with the temp.” OK, OK, I get it. I fidget. So, last week I gave it another go. I threw on a few small corned beefs I had left over, a turkey breast that was in the freezer, and a package of andouille sausage I’d picked up at a butcher shop a few weeks ago. Start-up went much better; Still took an hour but at least that cut the time in half. And, I actually just left it alone to do it’s thing. (I may have “tweaked it” just a few times. I actually cannot help myself.) What do you know, it ran fine without my help. The meat all came out very well too. The corned beef was, I think, the best I’ve ever done. The turkey was over salted (I left it in a brine too long, waiting for a sunny day that would never come,) but very juicy and just the right amount of smoke. I didn’t try the sausages as I’m saving them for gumbo, but eh, it’s just sausage. So, I feel that I’m back in the game. Ready for my first full brisket I think. I JUST NEED SOME SUN!!!!

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