Working at Foodbeast, I get a lot of freedom to be creative and pursue a lot of different passions while I’m on the clock.
One thing I recently discovered I loved was barbecue. There’s something so relaxing about throwing a fat beef brisket and some wood chips into a smoker and letting it sit for an entire day. Finally, once it’s done, the payoff is always worth the wait.
Because weekends are pretty much reserved for loved ones and running errands, I don’t really have much time to smoke some barbecue.
CharBroil hooked us up with an electric smoker a few weeks ago, one of the tremendous perks of working in food media, and I’ve been itching to use it. While a charcoal dude myself, the convenience of having an electric grill in an office space was too tempting to leave untouched. I decided to try my hand at smoking some meat during a full workday at the Foodbeast office.
Here’s how it went down…
8:40 pm (The Night Before)
I come home with two cuts of brisket. After rinsing them off, I throw some whole peppercorns in the blender. I combine the semi-crushed peppercorn with some kosher salt and rub the meat with the seasoning and throw it in the fridge.
After crushing some leftover fried chicken and catching some Monday Night RAW, I set my alarm for the next morning. It’s gonna be a long day.
I arrive at the office, beating the sun by mere minutes. Slept through my alarms.
I throw the meat in the fridge and begin setting up the smoker. Like an idiot, I forget to season the device the night before. Guess I’m losing two hours.
As the smoker sits outside the office burning off its factory fumes, I begin my day by answering some long-overdue emails. There was a struggle with the extension cord and finding a proper adaptor for said cord, but now everything’s set up.
My only concern is that there might be a 30 percent chance of rain between 10-11am. Those odds aren’t too bad, right?
Fingers crossed it’s a dry one today. Sorry, California.
The smoker is still seasoning, I can smell the oils and plastic odors burning off through the door like a pungent scent of what Robot Hell probably smells like. It’s a small price to pay to ensure my meat doesn’t taste bitter. In the meantime, I begin working on my first editorial piece of the day.
Fellow Foodbeast Elie says it’s raining where he’s at. OK, I’m a little nervous.
It started raining. Motherf-…
I create a makeshift cover for the smoker, it only needs to last the five minutes before the cleaning cycle ends. I’ll probably let it cool down inside until the rain stops and kick off the barbecue afterwards.
I take the smoker back inside to cool down, at least until the rain stops. Should be done by 11. Hopefully. As soon as I get back to my second-floor desk, Elie messages us to come to the third floor to work for a bit.
I set my timer for an hour to run back down and check on the weather. Elie smells like stress and Sour Patch Kids.
The smoker is finally preheating and ready to start soon. Marc, our head of video department, is doing some voiceovers so it has to be absolutely silent. Even as I type this, I’m wary of the vein popping in his forehead from the deafening clatter of my keyboard.
Maybe some brisket will cheer him up later.
The meats are in the smoker and the barbecue is underway! It started raining again, but I honestly can’t afford losing more time waiting for it to die down. The cardboard canopy is going back up.
You’re gonna be having beef brisket for dinner, I told myself. I spear the thermometor into the meat and load the wood chips. Today’s weapon of choice: pecan wood.
Elie is busy filming something, so I move my stuff back down to the second floor.
So 7-Eleven has a new breakfast pizza. I decide to walk to the one a couple blocks away and hope they have it. The life of a food writer. I leave Foodbeast developer and barbecue enthusiast, Chris Abouabdo, in charge of the BBQ until my timely return.
Back from 7-Eleven, they ran out of those pizzas, but I’ll be back early tomorrow morning to get my hands on some. On the plus side, Starbuck’s new Sous Vide Egg Bites are in stock and available. Gonna pick some up on my way back to the office.
Smoke’s pouring into the office from the outside. No one’s complaining so far because the smell is pretty delicious. Hopefully they don’t get tired of it in the hours to come.
Also got my first story of the day published. Writing about the most gluttonous things people have done at a buffet really makes me want to take a lunch break.
The rain is too intense. As much as I’d like some timely BBQ, nothing good can happen from leaving an electric smoker outside in the rain. Moved the smoker back inside, powered it down, and dried it off. To be continued, for now.
Lost an hour keeping the smoker from getting soaked, but now there’s some blue in the sky. While the tenderness of my meat will DEFINITELY be affected, I’m gonna bump the temperature up a bit to catch myself up.
Now we play the waiting game.
To occupy myself, I edit some photos I took last week for NOODS NOODS NOODS. Before you cry it’s Sodom and Gomorrah over here at Foodbeast, NOODS is simply an upcoming Asian food festival we’re hosting this weekend.
Tickets are still on sale, by the way.
Got a story up about Starbucks’ Sous Vide Eggs. They were surprisingly delightful. Here’s a photo for reference:
The meat is now foiled up to ensure that the cooking temperature continues to rise. Only a few hours left! All I’ve had to eat today were these egg bites…
Took the brisket out of the smoker. I was initially going to let it sit for half an hour, but my coworkers could smell the flavorful meat from three floors up and came trampling down the stairs.
They were hungry.
Aforementioned barbecue expert Chris poked the meat with his finger and gave the OK to cut into it.
After a hearty dinner of beef brisket, white bread, and pickles, everyone present had a smile on their face and a mouthful of food. Not sure if the meat was actually good, or if they were just starving, but I’ll take the compliments. The meat was a little tough on one of the cuts, but it didn’t matter. My barbecue cravings were satiated.
Packing up. It was a 12+ hour day, but I had a blast smoking meat at work. There’s nothing that makes you feel more accomplished than toughing out mother nature and ending the day with a belly full of smoked brisket with some of your closest friends and colleagues.
As stressful as this job can get sometimes, days like this help me remember how fortunate I am to have a profession that would let me barbecue in the middle of work like it’s no big deal.
Maybe next time I’ll roast a pig’s head or something.