Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One Crazy Cat Lady, One Crazy Cat - About Barbecue

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.

Official Office Cat

What was odd, besides the grey tabby's markings, was that they were there at all.  We simply do not have stray cats hanging out around here anymore, and I can't remember how long it's been since a cat strolled across my property.  Not that I don't welcome them - in fact, we used to welcome them too much, leaving food for them, inviting them into the office for a visit, even for a while trapping-neutering-returning them (that was actually Maria's hard work), and finally adopting some of them.  They hung out around here, much to the distress of a certain mean-spirited neighbor, who called Animal Control because of the "feral" beasts.  We weren't the only office feeding the cats, but it was one of our mama cats who got trapped.  We convinced the Nice Lady from Animal Control to return Nala to us, and she became an inside cat. Nala, not the Nice Lady.  She became an Official Office Cat, and Maria stopped by here every weekend to leave her food.  Only one of my clients didn't like her (Nala, not Maria), and I had a lot of clients back then.

A Ginger and a Mackerel Tabby

The ginger was an orange tabby with golden brown eyes. James found her trying to check out our storage closet in the back of the house, so he picked her up and brought her in.  It was clear to all of us that she was not feral, and obviously attached to a person or property, so we released her.  I raised two oranges, and they are sweet cats, but we don't really need another pet, and she did not appear to need us.  I think she may have a relationship with my neighbors to the east, and if so, she is already being well-cared for.

El Exigente

That crazy-quilt grey tabby was hanging out in my parking lot when I came out for my walk last evening. It would not let me get close to it, but it also did not run away.  Me and my cane like to walk around the block, and when I got within sight of my back door, I could see that the cat was still hanging out.  I tried to entice it closer, but that kitteh wasn't having any of it.  When I got back inside the house, Anakin was sitting quite close to the door, giving me the eye.  I gave him my best Bill Clinton defense ("I did not pet that cat") and all is well.

Highlander Cat - "In the end, there can be only one."

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?

Best - Cat - Ever

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 treating myself to a slow-paced cooking day. Tomorrow is soon enough to tackle the remaining packing up at the office, and I have another day or so to construct the appeal of the state's rejection of my application for disability.  There is, after all, just so much my head and my heart can take before my circuits overload.  So I am pleased to announce that the pork shoulder has been smoking since 10 am and the whole bologna went on about 11:30.  It doesn't appear that I can smoke the chicken wings at the same time due to space constraints, but once the bologna comes off, the wings go in. Time enough for smoke love. And to do a load of dishes.

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!
Finished wings

Pulling the  pork with two forks

Pulled and sliced

No comments:

Post a Comment