Low and Slow TAKES Time . . . maybe it MAKES Time?

July 22nd, 20164 Comments
Maui sunset from Haleakala volcano peak 10,000 feet

Maui sunset from Haleakala volcano peak 10,000 feet


You may not call yourself a competitor, but we all know there’s a competitive spirit inside us all. Have your children rolled their eyes, because you have asked them, for the hundredth time, to participate in a blind taste test with your latest sauce recipe? Have you scrambled to host an impromptu neighborhood gathering because things got out of hand and you ended up with four smoked chickens, three slabs of ribs and a generous serving of pulled pork? There’s no denying it…you have a competitive spirit.

During the workweek, I live a Dilbert-esque existence in a fabric covered cubicle working for a water utility in Los Angeles that supplies drinking water to one in two Californians or one in 16 Americans.  It’s a busy (read stressful) job, and it requires me to be on my toes and detail oriented all the time. As the tour leader guiding a posse of project managers as we work to upgrade the IT and cyber security infrastructure that serves 300 cities, 5,000 square miles, and 19 million people, I’m the first to get the rolled-up newspaper when something goes awry.

I have come to believe that competitors, and many enthusiasts, have to be a bit ADHD and a little OCD to be successful. I’ve also recognized that over the years that in many ways, my professional discipline has contributed to my success in the barbecue world.

We can all get caught up in the winning or the rave reviews, but I regularly remind myself that barbecuing is a hobby, albeit a serious one, that I enjoy. I’ve heard people say that low and slow cooking “takes time.” But if you look closely, you may come to agree with me that barbecue actually GIVES time. Think about it: you start in the morning and end in time for supper. In between, you have had to add charcoal, check the temperature and prepare the side dishes. Let’s face it, we aren’t fooling anyone. All those tasks put together actually take only a couple of hours. But, of course, you stick around to babysit the smoker…and THAT’S how barbecuing GIVES you time.

You didn’t run your weekly errands , but you did visit with the next door neighbor. You connected with your children when they stopped by to check the progress and find out when your barbecue would be served and how many friends they could invite to the feast.  Maybe you took an hour to read a book (hopefully BBQ related) or magazine or called loved ones to explain your newest barbecue research or share your creation on Twitter and Facebook.

Poke on the Beach

Poke on the Beach


Next time you set up your smoker or grilling for your next cook, put out a few extra lawn chairs to encourage neighbors to stop and visit, whip up a cocktail, or find a good book. Take advantage of the time your barbecue habit is giving you. I guarantee your stress will slip away at the first whiff of smoke.

As I sit here sipping my sun-tea in a Maui beachfront rental condo and cooking on the community gas grill reconnecting with my family and making new friends, I savor the time that low and slow is giving me…and I feel grateful and thankful.

Next time you fire up the smoker, I encourage you to take a new perspective and see how our chosen sport makes time for you.


Barbecue Garlic Shrimp Hawaiian Style


4 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Emily says:

    That BBQ Hawaiian shrimp looks incredible! And great photos by the way! Were the BBqed peels on or off? http://www.bbqsmokehousecatering.com/

  2. 1Bill says:

    I agree about the spirit of competition and also bbq making time. I am sitting back resting here on a busy bbq day. I promised my father in law a Texas style smoked brisket for his birthday (which is now resting), and I learned yesterday that my brothers family was returning to his home in NY from a baseball tournament in Tennessee. After convincing him that My home in Delaware was the perfect spot to stay overnight and take a break on his way back to NY, I was at two grocery stores last night chasing down a second acceptable brisket and ingredients for my extra sides and extra extra large family dinner party!! Tonight Brisket, tomorrow smoked ham with breakfast, and chicken for lunch. So too, my work is competitive but this weekend will be longer than normal because my family is first and I am fortunate to earn much time off. At the moment, My 5 year old is going bananas, just a small part of the pre dinner family ritual. He loves my burnt ends and I have to guard the food like the mom guards the turkey on "a Christmas Story". It goes without saying, that my wife is amazing person and a fantastic partner in this madness. That’s bbq love (as you say)!! I can’t wait for everyone to arrive. Have a great finish to your weekend

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