Smokin’

For a summer Sunday, I fired up the smoker and put in a salt & peppered chicken. One of the happy features of this house is a huge maple tree in back, which shades the patio and drops small dead branches in storms, so there’s always a nice supply of dry maple kindling to add to the apple wood in the firebox. After about an hour, I put on a few of Fleisher’s brats to smoke as well, and they were a revelation: instead of tightening up like they do over direct heat, they stayed soft and kept all their juice while getting a good smoky flavor too. I also cooked a big bunch of kale kraut style- slowly with onion and cider vinegar- made radicchio mash, and red potato salad with cornichons and herbs like my aunt Martha’s recipe (the key being to toss the still-hot potatoes in copious vinegar so they soak it up, then add the oil.) Given my Grandfather’s mastery of chicken-smoking, this meal is one I easily could have had 20 years ago (although without the mash.) We drank our very last Siduri pinot, a 2003 Sonatera.

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