Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh — Last Sunday we held our annual Block Party on B Street, attended by many and appreciated by all.
As most of us know, social networking is all the rage, feeding into the hope of a taciturn economy the potential of winds of fresh thinking necessary to dodge the bullets of financial and emotional depression. Closely following a special event seems to buoy the spirit, if not the intellect.
Last Sunday we held our annual Block Party on B Street, attended by many and appreciated by all. Normally few, if any, would know of the many tasks that needed to be accomplished to make the event seem spontaneous. Yet this year I decided to open up the event and shared preparations by updated Tweets (on Twitter) sent around the world. Had the brisket been less challenging, no one needed to know, but for a more comprehensive view of the preparation process, I felt more input was better than less.
Smoking a brisket Texas-style is concomitantly the easiest and most complicated process imaginable. Turning a tough cut of beef into succulent slices of "Q" takes days and it is common to see smokers being fired up the night before a next-evening event. I thought that many might like to follow the process, so I began to send Tweets of the procedure throughout the night and up to the point when many dozens of homemade salads, sides and deserts began to arrive.
In the world of barbeque, recipes are considered proprietary and highly confidential. Moping and dipping sauces are made deep in the kitchen, well away from the prying eyes of a would-be competitor. The smoking time depends on the cut and the temperature used is not the one found on-line. Let me first apologize for updating adherents around the world with a scripted and inaccurate flow of events. But finding out the real recipes would require the use of water boarding, which was invented in Texas, one way or another. Bull whips, pistol whipping and being dragged behind a buckboard through the cactus might work occasionally, but usually lips are locked behind a leathery sneer as the truth is seldom revealed.
I pre-wrote the Tweets and had them go out every five minutes, supposedly documenting an ongoing and extremely diverse process. Meanwhile I slept in bed beaming a satisfied smile, knowing that my adventures with the smoker and the dry rubs would remain top secret. Our government seldom tells the truth, so why should I?
I do regret, however, mentioning the use of strange ingredients while stressing that forgetting or incorrectly measuring a single step would result in creating an inedible and odious chunk of road kill that sends people packing. I should never have mentioned pre-heating the smoker to 400 degrees, nor should I have suggested adding brussels sprouts to the mop sauce. Suggesting an overabundance of jalapeños was cruel and I'm sure many who were attempting to copy my "secrets" were easily spotted the next day circling the Port-a-Potties while trying to speak through swollen lips. The only consolation is that within a few days you will be good as new and less inclined to believe anything on AM radio or the Fox News Channel, which is a good thing.
No master smoker uses measuring spoons or cups, but the recipes online insist that measurements be precise or the brisket will end up tasting like deep-fried tarantula, which, I presume, is not what you have in mind to impress your boss who is off in a corner of the yard scratching names off a list faster than a rattlesnake strike.
My wife, Annette, at first thought that I had lost my mind and was about to take away my cell phone until she realized that I was simply culling the herd and confounding the rest. She quickly put things together and whispered to me: "Beautiful brisket, sweet Tweet."
firstname.lastname@example.org was last seen packing for a trip to Area 51 to learn to cook some very alien dishes, served in large saucers. Do not fritter away the day with Twitter, but, instead, send him a confidential tidbit and learn the secret of the world's best dry rub.