Special Deliveries

Last week brought us a couple of special deliveries. Not the regular brown truck or US postal delivery but the kind of deliveries that make your life “forevermoore” better.

Chef Greg became a grandpa on Friday. The delivery was made by his daughter Madison living over there in Louisiana. The delivery started on Thursday and ended sometime during the early morning hours on Friday like sometimes baby deliveries do.

Greg got to head over for a visit and grab a lap full of little Kinsley finally on Saturday after our week was at its end.

Grandpahood is good shit man.

On Thursday while Kinsley was playing hard to get during her much anticipated arrival, the anticipated arrival of our new cooker happened.

An offset cooker constructed using a repurposed propane tank custom made by Moberg Smokers in Dripping Springs, TX was a sight for hungry eyes. Sonny Moberg and Pitmaster Brett Boren of Brett’s BBQ trailered up to the front of the building around 10:30 in the morning. We fed them some barbecue before getting to the task of unloading the cooker. Seemed like the right thing to do.

Beyond that little gate in the left background in the picture above is where our cooker needed to be.  You might recall from previous posts and discussions about where to place a new cooker since we were in dire need of more cooking capacity. We had prepared the space ahead of time.

The pad was prepared and blocks were leveled. We filled in with large size gravel so water would drain easily. When I say “we” I meant it like a nurse does about shots while reaching for a large needle. All I did was observe, advise, and record. Shoveling gravel sucks. Glad these guys knew all the tricks.

The only way to put a 4,000 LB cooker in the only space we could was to go vertical. For that we hired a crane operating team. When I say “we” I mean it was me that went across the alley and asked our great neighbor Don to arrange for the craning and all. Don’s a giant sign making and hanging man from way back. I knew he was up for it. Especially when offered brisket as part of the compensation package.

The scene of a levitating cooker was kind of tripping me out a bit.

I was like: Ah careful man, there’s a building there.

It was right about here that one of those uninvited thoughts popped in my head.

I saw myself explaining what happened to Professor Burke as he inducted us into the Hall of Claims at Farmers Insurance. Watching a 4,000 lb barbecue cooker seemingly dangle from a vine at the end of a crane’s cable was about all I could handle.

I was pacing up an down the alley like a nervous expecting grandfather. I’ll be the first to admit that I was worried things would not end well.

The cooker was finally set down inside the gate.

All the cooker lift watching made me a little edgy so I inquired into what was happening with the brilliance of: “your not leaving that right there are you”?

I didn’t get much of a response so I made my point more clearly about the cooker being in the wrong spot.

Turns out the crane had to be repositioned for the right lifting angle for placing the cooker in its correct location.

Someone said: “this aggression will not stand man”.

The crew got back on the task at hand.

Sonny took this picture.

Delivering and setting up barbecue cookers in late July can be uncomfortable. Steel+Sun+Houston+July+No Wind= well there you go…

It was 125 degrees at noon. The weather app on my phone said the heat index was 186.

The cooker was at last sitting exactly where we planned with exactly the room to work around as expected.

Sonny and Brett had been kind enough to spray the inside with vegetable oil and conduct one burn to help start the seasoning process before delivery. We sprayed the cooker down with rendered brisket fat captured from The Black October and went right to setting a fire.

 

Butcher paper laden with brisket fat was torched. The alley filled with the aroma of sizzling beef fat.

We thought about when we could cook some meat because running out of barbecue early doesn’t always sit well with everyone.

Friday morning when I got to The Craftory, the new cooker was quietly waiting for it’s first full day on the job.

The morning fires were made and more beautiful smoke than ever drifted around and about.

Russel Roegels paid us a visit Friday afternoon to help us stare at the cooker.

Chris got advice on firebox management from a few pitmasters. Proper starring at new cookers is part of the learning about pitmastering. When a girl shows up, more advice for pit tenders is required.

The more you look at a cooker the better the cooker becomes. That’s just a fact.

By Saturday I was digging the top racks in the new cooker for chicken cooking work. I was also admiring the craftsmanship of Moberg’s smoker. It really is well constructed. We are feeling really good about the investment.

Back when we were starring at the place where a cooker would be one day sit several of us contemplated what to name it. The conversation was at the end of our day; so naturally, we were sipping on a cold beer. Out of nowhere The Big Lebowski was introduced and there was an immediate celebration. Then as we got closer to the delivery date alternate names like Dude, Walter, Maude, Lebo, and White Russian were bantered about The Craftory halls.

After seeing the cooker Michelle has been singing “Dude looks like a lady” because a lot of times fancy equipment carries a woman’s name. I’m a little worried that Dude may face gender identity issues.

I ain’t sure we’ve settled on an official name yet, but Dude is winning on the nick name front anyways. We will have to decide the official king’s name when we fill out the papers for registered barbecue cookers.

I had summed up what the cooker is capable of doing for our business and asked Sonny to make a message for the fire box prior to delivery.

Pitmasters and customers are all smiles when Dude Abides. We aim to act in accordance with top ten barbecue joint regulation, and deliver you more great barbecue. That’s our continued promise. Give us a few weeks to let this life’s comedy perpetuate itself. We’ve got meat allocations, refridgeration space, and hot holding capacity to bolster before Dude can fully abide.

We’re gonna take er easy. I know that you will too.

 

“Say friend…mind if I get another one of those sarsaparilla glazed ribs”.

-The Stranger.

Cheers! Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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