Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Night of a Thousand Hot Dogs (or Tales of a BBQ wife)

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10 NIV

My husband loves to barbecue. Not like the guy in those Home Depot ads, flipping burgers on a Weber kettle. Nooo, not my guy. He built a smokehouse of cinder blocks and expanded metal in our backyard. He has piles and piles of special woods and charcoal and all kinds of odd looking implements used in the preparation of smoked meats. He has a chair next to his smokehouse you would normally see on the sidelines of a Little League game - you know the one, with the backrest and the cup holder? He spends hours in that chair tending the fire, gently bringing the meat to smoked perfection.

Our family has experienced a good deal of tragedy this year with the death of a 24-year old son on Father's Day, and a parent diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease slowly losing her grip on everything.  Smoking meat seems to relax and comfort him, so we eat a LOT of barbecue lately. Now, having spent nearly all of his childhood summers in West Texas, to him BBQ = BEEF.  Here in the South, BBQ comes from pigs, which he cannot begin to understand. I refer you to my earlier comment about the particular part of the country he hails from.

For the fourth time in a fortnight, there was smoke pouring from the primitive contraption. A few weeks earlier, we had the great Pork Sacrifice of '14, whereby 8 Boston Butts were torched by a consuming fire ignited by pork fat dripping onto the coals beneath. Pork has a considerably higher fat content than the beef briskets he loves to smoke. However, he made no adjustment to his method to allow for the extra fuel...hence the Great Blaze. With the help of our friend Judy, a veteran of such mishaps and the smartest person I know, they salvaged about 20% of the meat, which we subsequently slathered with sauce and served on buns at the church BBQ.

Determined to master this Southern brand of 'barbecue', more butts were purchased, the fire was relocated so as not to be directly beneath the pork, a drip pan was added, and he sat in his chair, brooding over the meat.  But alas, the butts 'stalled' (who knew that could happen?!), and he was forced to bring them inside and finish them in my oven. In my oven! Soon, an odor reminiscent of preschoolers past filled the house. "AACCCKKK!", I believe I said.  "IT SMELLS LIKE YOU'RE COOKING A THOUSAND HOT DOGS IN HERE!" Undeterred by my ranting, he proceeded to cook the meat for two hours. Who knew you could smell hot dogs for two hours and live? Fortunately, the tale ends well with delicious, if inferior, pork barbecue enjoyed by all the guests.

 My point in telling you the this story is this: whatever is fun and relaxing to your guy, support him! Watch college football, go geocaching, go to car shows. Maybe it will wind up being something you both love.  But even if it's not your favorite, go.  Because he's your favorite. And if what your guy loves is cooking pork butts in your oven, God help you, Sister.  I'll be prayin' for you.

Prayer for Today: Father, help me look for ways to support my husband, to spend time with him.  Help me to honor his wants above my own.  In Your Name, Amen.

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