Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 54: Smoking Steelhead Supper

Several years ago, I bought a Traeger. I don’t know if the Traeger is more of a bar-b-q that doubles as a smoker or a smoker that doubles as a bar-b-q. My parents have owned a couple of these hybrids over the past decade. Upon their recommendation, I bought one. At the time of purchase, the $600 price tag seemed justifiable. I planned to grill all our dinners on the thing. Well, you know that didn’t happen.

I’ve used it off and on in binges, but by no means has the thing been worth the cash. Not only does the Traeger require electricity, but also special wood pellets that are not the easiest to find. I live remote, in an area where power-outages are common. So, of course, I keep a gas grill too. My small deck looks ridiculous with two, rarely used, appliances rusting away in the corner.
I pulled off the Traeger cover, used a wire brush to remove rust from the grill, loaded the hopper with hickory pellets, and fired the thing up. I will say, just the smell of the thing burning hickory pellets made me hungry for summer. Once the grill was hot and smoky, I plopped on a steelhead and shut the lid. In 20-minutes, without turning, I pulled the fish.
The boys and I picked the fish off the bone without the formality of plating or dinnerware. We literally ate off the foil-lined countertop with our fingers. Sounds horribly unsophisticated, but it was one of the best meals I’ve enjoyed since starting the killing spree.
I need to become better friends with the Traeger. Was it a waste of cash? Maybe. But I haven’t given the thing enough time. I’m looking forward to spring salmon season and smoking long planks of fish. Grilling brings the boys down from their rooms. I’m counting on more family meals huddled around a countertop.

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