It has been beastly hot in Los Angeles these past two months, and it still is. It’s already hit 91 degrees today with the promise of “striking humidity.” It’s way too hot to roast anything in the oven and yet the urge to have a slab of cooked meat doesn’t go away. Hence the smoker.
A smoker doesn’t need to be nearly as hot as an oven, and in any case it sits outside the house. Since temperatures for smoking tend to be done in the low 200s, you’re almost half way there on a day like today. Here as they say, is one I cooked earlier.
It’s a smoked lamb shoulder, “mopped” with beer, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper, and some rosemary in with the hickory wood. Frankly it wasn’t the greatest example of the smoker’s art. There was too much bone and not enough fat, the latter rather surprising in a lamb shoulder. It was good. But I had aspired to better.
I seem to recall seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall smoking something or other in the giant fireplace of his farmhouse, using straw. I haven’t been able to find a clip online, but this I’m pretty sure is the fireplace in question.
I do have a fireplace, but I don’t actually know where to get straw in LA, and you know I just can't be bothered to find out.
I suppose the real answer to staying cool while smoking meat would be to have an external smoke house. Something like this (didn’t I say I aspired?):