What could get me up and walking up to Margo’s back door at 9 a.m.? BBQ. Or more specifically, Margo’s talent for smoking and grilling meat. I delivered to her a small ice chest of pork and chicken. She grabbed it, bypassed the happily smoking grill and disappeared indoors whispering one of her secrets, “It cannot go on the grill yet. It must be room temperature.” She has already concocted a mix of spices from nearby shakers, and it sits next to a cookie sheet of pork roasts and ribs she has already prepared. I leave her finger sprinkling and massaging her secret rub recipe into my donation.
My trade-off task is outside and with an unwavering sun already up I had to hurry. I collect the stepladder and all the stuff I need to caulk under the fascias. Temperatures well above 100 have split the minuscule layer of caulk. I would add a heftier layer which I hoped would hold for a couple of years.
I work under the shaded west side of the house. Brush, wipe with wet cloth, pause to dry, squeeze caulk, smooth, move two feet, and slide leveling boards under the ladder feet. Repeat. It takes longer than the old days because I’m a much more careful ladder operator. I keep my eye on the prize with my nose. The aromatic grill smoke is crawling along the eave and circling around my head as I work. Just as I finish the west eave I hear the rattle of bottles being shoved deeply into ice. The long necks should be icy cold by the time the meat is ready. In the meantime I must wait for the sun to flip over and shade the east eave, so I enjoy the shade of the back porch, drink tea with more ice than tea, and watch Margo work the grill.
She watches the smoker/grill like she has a vendetta against it. For two hours, she never let the temperature go above 250 degrees and slapped on a vinegar sop with some regularity. Then she wrapped the meats in foil and put them back on the grill. We filled the time by chowing down on tomatoes and cucumbers so fresh from the garden that they were still warm sun warm. The sun became intense even under the shade so we escaped to the air conditioning. For two hours she steps out to monitor the heat under the packets.
She doesn’t need to call me to eat more than once. We dined a la communal caveman style — standing before the grill and eating with our hands. She ripped ribs off a slab. We poured BBQ sauce on, counted to an insufficient 10 and used those canines for what they were made for. Washed the heat off with a slug of ice cold beer. It was genetically perfect, but awful hard on the white hand towels.
Meat grilled this way is the perfect food to take on our travel trailering trips. Cook it at home and reheat it at the campground. Heck, might even freeze some of it to have a couple of days into the trip.
The heat chases us in. I trade short times of caulking with long times of staying in air conditioning. Finally, I put away the tools. It is done. Please don’t argue with me on this. The job isn’t done until the tools are put up.
It is extraordinarily, blistering hot even in the late afternoon, but I need to get one more chore done before I leave. I’m in no hurry. It’s too hot in the mountains too and I don’t have air conditioning there. What is the issue, you ask? A water problem that cropped up at City of Rocks State Park. But that is a tale for another post.