The clouds can sometimes tell quite a story. On this day, they most certainly did. Change was in the air. The trees had started to give up their foliage. The leaves were falling to the ground almost in unison, as if they knew that it was time to let go, knowing that they served their purpose and must now give in to the natural order of things. Likewise, the sun, once a constant companion, seems quicker to set now, casting longer shadows while spending less and less time warming our backyards. And the gardens, well, they’re looking bare these days, being prepped for their annual cold weather rest before the new beginning next spring. Quite a characteristic, I always thought. Being able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with the new spring weather. Sometimes I wish I could do the same. The winds, once warm and humid, with little relief wrapped in them, are now chilly, with an edge and a bite that can make you stop and take notice. Seasonal changes, coming no matter if we are ready or not.
Trusty old smoker doesn’t care about these types of things, however. Cherrywood plumes spiral into the swirling winds, up to those clouds, signifying something good in the making.
Today, with the wind gusts and temperatures in that “might need a jacket” range, there are meaty baby back ribs on that smoker, flavored with the sweetness of cherrywood and the heat of jalapeños, some of the last of the season.
The first order of business was to rub these ribs down like a champion racehorse, using a favorite homemade rub. You have to put it on thick. Be generous, and the payback in flavor will more than compensate. I laid the ribs gently on the smoker.
The coals, fired up using the minion method, would be fighting the chilly winds this day, playing a of tug of war of sorts with Mother Nature.
Sometimes the cool winds would advance, but trusty smoker would hold ground, gaining a few degrees back in spite. This give and take would go on for nearly six hours under this pit master’s watchful eye. I happened upon an appropriate fall beverage and settled in for this spectator sport.
Some three hours later, it was time wrap the ribs in a bit of foil, and then after another hour and a half, these ribs demanded that I slather them in a sauce. Todays choice, a new one, was a Cherry Jalapeño Sauce. And it looked spectacular being brushed on those ribs.
Another hour to get that sauce nice and glazed, along with some added fresh jalapeño slices, and man oh man, some sweet and spicy ribs to stick to your bones when the wind is trying blow you away.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired.