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Chasing Smoke

12 Aug

I woke up 3 am Sunday morning to the smell of smoke.  After checking to make sure the house wasn’t on fire, I went back to bed.  By daylight, the smell was stronger and a haze of smoke hung in the air.  A check of the internet revealed that a small wildfire had started northeast of Foresthill.

The American Fire.

The American Fire.

I had planned to cook a big Sunday supper, and since it was smokey already, I figured it was a good time to run the smoker. I rubbed a chuck roast with one of Allen’s mixtures and threw it in the smoker for a quick two hours of smoke.  My goal wasn’t to cook it, but rather to give it some flavor before I cubed it and made chili.

Dipping water from Sugar Pine Reservoir.

Dipping water from Sugar Pine Reservoir.

While the chili was simmering, we ran up to the lake to watch the helicopters get water for the fire.  These guys were working hard all day fighting the fire – true heros!  We really appreciate the work they do to protect our homes.

Smoky chili with Texas toast

Smoky chili with Texas toast

After our trip to the lake, we ate chili.  The idea of smoking it was an experiment, and it turned out pretty great.  The meat had the perfect level of smoke and added a richness to the chili. I was worried that I hadn’t made it hot enough, but spice level was just right and didn’t cover the smoke.  There was something missing – Allen thinks more garlic, but I’m not sure.  We have some more work to do one the recipe, but it should be ready to go public soon.

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