Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Days and Smoky Nights

I had a wonderfully relaxed weekend. My parents have been visiting from Wales and this was their last weekend (they leave on Thursday). My father-in-law came down for the weekend too, so I didn't run on Saturday. Instead I smoked a brisket on my Weber Smokey Mountain. I've had this thing for a number of years, and I love it!!! Coming from the UK where the traditional idea of barbecue is frozen hamburgers cooked under an umbrella in the pouring rain, I had a lot to learn when I moved to Texas. I enjoyed learning.

On Friday evening I trimmed the brisket and whipped up a homemade Cardamon-Coffee wet rub (thank you Steven Raichlen) so I wouldn't have to get up through the night to baste it. Fired up a chimney full of charcoal around 9pm, and added it to a few chunks of mesquite wood and a bunch of unlit charcoal, the theory being that the lit coals would slowly ignite the unlit ones and keep a constant temperature throughout the night (the Smokey Mountain is excellent at holding temperatures for hours at a time). Got the brisket on the barbecue around 10pm and it quickly came up to temperature (around 220F). Regulated the vents before I went to bed, and when I got up in the morning it was still floating around 230F - perfect. The brisket reached 190F around 11am on Saturday morning, at which point I pulled it off and wrapped it in foil. When I cut it up later that afternoon, it was pull apart tender and I got plenty of good comments from a lot of happy relatives.

This morning was quite simply magnificent - one of those mornings that reminds me of being in the Greek islands. I went for a wonderfully enjoyable run around Ken's Loop and it was just about as perfect as you can get. I left competitive Marky at home - I didn't run fast, I didn't run far, I socialized and chatted and just enjoyed being in this time and place. I only ran one loop because it was Mother's Day and I wanted to get back home, but standing there by my car I had a sudden moment of clarity.

This is the best time of my life - right here and now. I'm healthy and I'm in great shape. I'm married to my soul mate and we have a wonderfully cheeky little boy I adore and who loves me back. I have a dog who likes to sit at my feet and run with me, and a job that lets me be creative and that pays me well to do something I know I'm good at.

In short, I am content.

It's a good feeling.

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