Last year, around this time, I decided to get Jason a smoker for his birthday/Father's Day. He'd had one on his Amazon wish list for ages so I figured that's the one he wanted. (I did not know anything about smokers, except that you use them to smoke meat things, and every time we go to someone's house and Jason sees they have a smoker he's like the kids encountering someone else's epic Lego stash.) But when I went to actually check his list, he'd added several different models. And then I began to learn that the world of smokers and smoker accessories is very contentious and complicated. Do you go electric? Charcoal? Propane? Wood pellet? Digital bells and whistles? Super old-school and basic?
The internet is full of people with VERY STRONG OPINIONS yelling at each other over this issue. Just Google "what kind of smoker is best" and they'll probably show up at your house to yell at you in person.
I tried to feel Jason out on his opinion, only to learn that he didn't really have one. He "needed to do more research." Oh, lands, save yourself! I tried to drop hints that maaaaaybe he could do that research somewhat quickly, like within a pre-birthday Amazon Prime free shipping window, but he didn't pick up on it. I moved various makes and models in and out of my shopping cart, second-guessing myself out of purchasing each and every one at the last minute. WHAT KIND OF SMOKER IS BEST. WHAT KIND OF SMOKER DOES JASON STORCH WANT IN PARTICULAR. HOW TO READ YOUR HUSBAND'S MIND ABOUT SMOKERS.
In the end, I wrote "IOU one smoker of your choice" on a piece of paper and shoved it inside his birthday card.
Guess who never bought himself a damn smoker? Until now! This weekend. When we are mere weeks away from his NEXT birthday, when I have to start all over again with the shopping and the guessing and the man-mind-reading.
He went with a basic electric model, which I am almost afraid to put out there because I can feel the wrath of the charcoal and wood pellet people from here. It looks like we have a wine refrigerator out on our deck.
He decided to start out with some ribs, but kept messing with the temperature all day and fretting about whether the smoker was emitting the proper amount of smoke. And then our digital thermometer kept saying the ribs weren't done, even though enough hours had passed to cook the entire damn pig and probably two or three cows.
The ribs were kind of tough and a pretty disappointing first start, especially after All Of That. (But the grilled corn he let sit in the smoker for a few minutes was incredibly delicious!) So it looks like we need some more practice with the smoker. We shall try a chicken or some sausages next, while Jason likely second-guesses his purchase and heat-source decision. I'm just glad I didn't buy it, because I would have felt personally responsible for the overdone ribs that I had absolutely nothing to do with. I'm weird about presents.
Those big packs of water balloons that let you fill a ton of them up all at once though? Those are a goddamn genius product that I can wholeheartedly endorse.
We went through a couple hundred of them.
The great internet smoker wars will rage on most likely, but at least Everybody Throw Water Balloons At Mom is a game everybody can get behind.