Back To Normal Doesn't Necessarily Mean Back To The Same

Back To Normal Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Back To The Same

Perched pitside, daydreaming through wisps of hickory smoke ribboning out of the vents of the trusty old Weber, I was reminded that the world does not stop for anyone. Spring has sprung, the trees are popping, greenery is sprouting and nature’s newborns are evident in their naive adventures.

Staying at home may indeed be the new going out, but we can’t change nature’s progress. So with yet another relaxed, hang-around-the-house kind of day, I had a pan of thick-cut pork steaks all seasoned and readied for the grill. I’m gonna take my time with these beauties, because really, what’s the rush and where am I going to go? And anyway, hanging out pitside is not a bad place to spend a couple of hours just thinking about stuff. And dang if we don’t have a few things to think about right now, right? Important things, like the people we miss, activities we’d like to do but aren’t allowed, and just when all this stuff is going to end…

All of these thoughts are pretty darn telling, too. By having things temporarily taken away, you’ve likely found what is truly important to you in your daily life. And once found, it’s a pretty good idea to take note because these important parts of your previous “normal” life are your “Why“, as the trendy self-help folks like to call it. These are the things that add value and purpose to your everyday life.

Pretty deep for a pit jockey blog, huh?

But…being satisfied that I had this stuff all figured out, I resumed tending to my pork steaks, which by the way, were always a staple in my upbringing and still hold a regular spot in my grilling rotation. I’ve switched grilling methods from time to time, but the old feelings and memories remain the same. Thin ones are grilled hot and fast directly over hot coals while the thicker cut, like my current selections, are done with a quick sear followed by a slower indirect cook, resulting in a caramelized, tender, pull apart pork steak that tastes great just by itself or even when layered in a sandwich on crusty bread with onions and pickles. Lordy!

With a hot fire and preheated grill, the pork steaks can be seared right over the hottest part of the fire. Just a couple of minutes on each side will do. But once seared on both sides, move them to the coolest part of the grill, or put them in foil or a pan with favorite flavorings, beers, or sauces. I chose the sauce route, slathered on the pork while hanging out in an aluminum pan over the cooler side of the fire. The fire was cut down using the vents and a few applewood and cherrywood chunks were thrown on the coals to add a sweet smoky subtleness.

After about an hour, the pork is pull-apart tender, so it’s time to do a final saucing and get ’em back over the flames to caramelize and crust up. An additional couple of minutes on each side with sauce and the pork is transformed into a perfect pull-apart pork steak little with bits of caramelized crust resembling burnt and a bone that just slides right out.

After a leisurely, yet productive day like this, the only thing left to do is make that walk to the house and enjoy an equally leisurely meal featuring these saucy, crusty, caramelized pork steaks.

Afterward, with a satisfied belly and decluttered mind, we can start to look forward to coming out of this isolated social situation that we’re in. And the best part is that we’ll be doing it with a better idea and sharper focus of what our lives might look like.

Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired