Hello, my name is Cindy and I am a Crazy Cat Lady. At least I used to be. At one time I lived with 7 or maybe it was 9 cats in addition to 2 or maybe 4 Yorkies. I can't keep track anymore. Right now, I am down to one cat and definitely 4 Yorkies. But that doesn't change the fact that at heart, I am and always shall be a CCL.
I wonder if there is some omen involving the appearance of two cats at different times on the same day. One was a gorgeous ginger that the Doctor would envy, and the other was a tabby with the strangest markings I have ever seen - the head, shoulders, and front legs were grey and black mackerel tabby markings, while the rest was bold classic tabby with wide stripes and the telltale "bullseye" on the side. It looked like the head of my first cat Ira and the back of my third cat Dora, crazy-glued together.
And now, from the "Aw geez, not again" department here at Inspiration Nation, comes the report that Jeff Ashton, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney who came to fame as part of the Casey Anthony prosecution team, accessed the Ashley Madden site. From a personal computer, utilizing public wi-fi ... while sitting in his office. What this whole Ashley Madden scandal shows - the site was hacked and names started coming to light, including Josh Duggar, another high-profile admitted sex offender - is that there are an extraordinary number of sick, twisted adults in this world (PC alert) and the majority of them are men. Sorry, but that's the truth. I am not unaware of the number of females who engage in similar behavior - too many young teachers and their underage male students come to mind - but for pure, down-in-the-mud dirty rotten behavior, men take the cake, especially men in positions of power. What the hell is this all about?
Two things come to mind - unfortunately for him, Jeff Ashton is going to have to resign. Although he has given the standard line "this is a personal matter" he is a public official and there is an appearance of impropriety. That, my friends, is the phrase that paves the way to unemployment. He could probably ride it out, but his effectiveness as a prosecutor has been impaired in the public eye. Besides, the police union is gunning for him now, and there will be the never-ending investigations.
Second, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs wins the award for most quotable statements arising from this sorry mess: she told our local Fox News that "he has to answer to his family, to his faith, and to this community." But my favorite statement from my (former) mayor is that she admitted she was unaware of Ashley Madden and thought it was a lingerie site. Me too, Teresa!
I am perfuming the neighborhood, which includes the courthouse. I hope it makes some folks smile.
Now as far as recipes are concerned: smoking, grilling, and barbecue in general are very personal matters, more personal than Jeff Ashton's ill-fated subscription to the Ashley Madison site. Coming from the northeast, I did not know diddly about real barbecue until I moved south. The very nature of barbecue is affected by region, type of smoker, size, shape and temperature of the meat to be smoked, the weather, the pitmaster's mood, and your horoscope. Then there are the matters of rubs, injections, mops and sauces. Do you remove the membrane on the back of the ribs? Should you slather mustard on a pork shoulder so that the spice rub adheres better? Should you inject the meat? There are a trillion recipes online, several million cookbooks, and whole cable networks devoted to the fine art of barbecue. Rob and I wait for the new season of BBQ Pitmasters with the same enthusiasm with which we wait for Doctor Who or basketball season. When we are on the road, we check out as many barbecue joints as possible, and hope we are catching them when the moon is in the seventh house. We've gotten really bad 'cue in a really good place (Central BBQ in Memphis) and really great BBQ from a place in a strip mall (Thompson Brothers in Smyrna, right outside Atlanta).
And now the really big question - should I wrap the pork in foil, and if so, when?
What it comes down to is this - good barbecue is whatever you like it to be. Being a northern girl and a BBQ novice, I would not presume to tell you how to make great 'cue. I can tell you what I did, but I also fiddled with the heat and smoke during the day and made other adjustments as needed. And while everything turned out really good, delicious even, I wouldn't call it great (but then I tend to be my own worst critic).
Go online or to the library and look at some of the barbecue cookbooks out there. Steve Raichlan is my go-to guy for instructions and recipes but there are a lot of published pitmasters out there. But if you want to know: I mocked up a smoker in a gas grill; I smoked at 250 to 275 degrees. With the pork shoulder, I injected apple cider and then sprayed the pork every hour with a mixture of apple cider and a touch of apple cider vinegar. I used yellow mustard on the outside, and two different rubs. I used an instant read thermometer and cooked to 180 degrees (I should have gone a little higher, but it was getting dark out there). I wrapped at 165 degrees. I used both hickory and apple wood. I pulled part of it and sliced the other part. I tasted it with and without sauce and it was good both ways.
Now while the grill was running those 11 hours I also smoked whole chicken wings, and finished them with buffalo sauce, and I finally smoked that bologna. I had quite a learning experience today, and ended up with enough food for a week. Maybe more. And I had fun, which has been in short supply. I also did my cardio walking to and from the grill 11 times to spray the pork. Hey, maybe I'll sleep well tonight!