Midnight Smokin'

I call myself The Midnight Smoker. I created that moniker when I first started cooking Briskets and Pork Butts a few years ago. I didn't choose that name because I though it sounded cool but rather because it became who I am. You see, It didn't take me long to realize that If I was to throw a Brisket or Pork Butt on the smoker early in the morning it would not be ready by dinner time. To cook these large cuts of meat low and slow to the proper doneness it can take a dozen hours or more. And even when it comes off the smoker it is a common practice to let the meat rest in a cooler for an additional 2-3 hours as it continues to tenderize. So you see my dilemma, no brisket for dinner. But as I pondered the situation I thought to myself let's do the math and figure this thing out. When would I have to start the cook to insure I can have tender and tasty Brisket in time for dinner?
Counting backwards on all of my fingers and some of my toes it became apparent I would have to start the cook around midnight. Yikes! I want to be in bed and fast asleep when the clock strikes 12-not tending to my smoker and a big ol' hunk of beef. Double checking my math I sadly realized my calculation was correct. Oh boy, this is not going to be pretty. But wait a moment. I have been reading about people cooking their Briskets in as quickly as 5 to 6 hours. They call it cooking "Hot and Fast". These guys cook the meat at a much hotter temperature and it finishes that much quicker. I have found a solution to my problem. I can get a good night's sleep, put the meat on the smoker in the morning, and enjoy the fruits of my labor for dinner.

Yippee! I was as happy as a turkey the day after Thanksgiving. But alas, my joy did was short lived as it quickly dawned on me that I am not a "Hot and Fast" pitmaster. That, in my opinion is not real Barbecue. I am, and will always be a "Low and Slow" guy.
You see, I love barbecue for many different reasons. Sure I love the taste of moist smoky meat cooked for several hours over seasoned hardwood. And of course love the happiness and festivity good Barbecue brings to the table. But more than that, I have great respect for the Barbecue traditions created back in the early days. Days when pitmasters didn't use automatic temperature controllers hooked up to a computer to regulate the air intake and record the temperature changes on a graph. Days when pitmasters didn't inject their meat with a concoction they purchased off the internet. Now I can go on and on about the modern changes in the Barbecue community but that will only cause my blood pressure to rise and I would rather get back to my main topic, Smoking at Midnight.

And so with no other choice, and all prepared for a miserable night, I fired up my smoker and started cooking my Barbecue at Midnight. And guess what? What started out to be something I was dreading, but knew I needed to do to stay true to my beliefs, actually became something I truly enjoyed. I discovered something magical happens in the late night hours when the whole world is asleep. As I am listening to the still of the night, with nothing but the moonlight keeping me company, and the smell of the wood and the meat as the smoke drifts into the dark sky, I am at peace. I discovered that I am doing what I was meant to do and the only way I believe it was meant to be done. Not taking any short cuts but enjoying the journey along the way.
And that's when I became The Midnight Smoker.