Cajun Mike is Atlanta Eats own grilling & BBQ expert. Born in and raised in Louisiana, Mike now resides in Georgia. Whether it’s smoked, fried, blackened or grilled he’ll be providing us with tasty coverage of Atlanta barbecue
One of the things I really enjoy about going to barbeque events, like the one I went to 2 weeks ago called Pigs and Peaches BBQ Festival is to check out the different types of smokers that cooks invent. Every size, shape, description imaginable is on display. Some are long and narrow, some short and fat. Some pits are made out of iron, some out of barrels, and some are custom-built on trailers worth thousands of dollars. But, it doesn’t really matter what you cook on as long as you know your equipment and how to control the two elements, airflow and fuel choice, that make your barbeque come out like you want.
One teams interpretation of the perfect smoker was a simple fifty-five gallon drum with wood as fuel on the bottom, a shelf in the middle to hold the meat, and a re-moveable top with adjustable air vents to control the airflow. It was very rudimentary, very simple, but worked extremely well. It’s all about controlling the heat.
My Father owned a Cajun restaurant in the deep rural South. There were no food delivery services, everything had to be made from the materials at hand. He built the restaurant by hand; he couldn’t find a suitable stove so he built one from burners out of hot water heaters, welding a frame to hold six burners; he built a very large smoker in back that was fueled by hard-woods. As a young boy it was my job to monitor the fire on the smoker and keep the temperature steady. That large piece of individualized conception he called his “Rube Goldberg contraption.” It had two large doors with a handle locking device. The top had four shelves that pulled out, the bottom rack was for the firewood. During the day, each and every day, the shelves were loaded with pork shoulders, ribs, chickens, and homemade Andouille sausage.
This was my life when I was passing into my teenage years. I chopped vegetables, stirred pots, deboned chickens, but most of all, tended the fire on the big smoker. Since the dawn of time man has been managing fires to cook his foods.Here, we hope to bring you stories of these exploits….man, fire, wood, meats, and the creative process’ it takes to bring it all together.
I’m looking forward to doing a weekly Q&A session here where I’ll try to answer any question you have about cooking over hardwoods, smoking meats, type of meats, seasonings, and basic grilling. Also, when I run across great recipes or tips I will send them back to you. To reach me and to submit questions, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org