Of rain, frogs, and fine barbecue

Baby back ribs sit surrounded by ABTs on Bruce's barbecue. There should have been a mushroom cloud above those stuffed peppers!
Baby back ribs sit surrounded by ABTs on Bruce’s barbecue. There should have been a mushroom cloud above those stuffed peppers!



How great is the new barbecue? I used it every night of the first week I had it, except Sunday when we were at my sister-in-law’s for a barbecue. And those days I used it included Monsoon Tuesday.

Yeah, that was interesting. It rained so much that our pond, which usually fills up nicely with a good rain, began overflowing onto our patio. It appeared as if the fish were getting curious about sliding up onto the patio too.

To prevent the pond from flooding back up to the house and down into a window well, I pulled out our backup pond pump and hooked up a hose to drain the pond into the middle of our already soggy backyard.

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Meanwhile, the storm drain on the road in front of our house had backed up several times that day. Even clear of leaves, it just slowly drained, meaning our side of the road was flooded. I tried to fix that, while making sure the pump was doing its job out back.

Through it all, I passed several frogs that had evacuated the pond. They were on the driveway, in the wet grass, on the patio, all over the place. I think we even attracted a few more with that rain, as it seemed about five of them were sitting on the patio at the edge of the pond, with several of them croaking at each other simultaneously.

Thankfully, the rain let up and rather than build an ark, I pulled out a cedar plank. We seasoned three big pieces of salmon and put lemon slices on them before cooking them on the barbecue. Eaten with some rice and vegetables, they were awesome!

The rest of the workweek saw me try hotdogs, shrimp, steak and chicken with mesquite smoke, and chicken pizza (yep, the leftover chicken went to excellent use) on the barbecue. I have to admit it was all quite tasty. But it was also all food I’d cooked before.

Saturday sent me into unknown barbecue waters – ribs and ABTs (atomic buffalo turds).  Now, you are wondering what an ABT is, but it’s really just a grilled and stuffed jalapeno pepper. We did three dozen of these for Sensei Jeff’s barbecue party that day. In case you’ve forgotten, Jeff is the guy whose barbecued meat convinced me to purchase my Big Green Egg. He’s far more experienced than I am on the egg, so I am the student and he’s the egg sensei.

The ABTs were the first things on the new barbecue that didn’t turn out quite right. They were delicious – stuffed with pulled pork and a mix of cheese, wrapped in bacon – but rather than just being atomic, these things went full thermonuclear.

The first one I tasted was smoky and sweet, followed by some serious heat. And that wasn’t a spicy one. We’d pulled the seeds and the spongy membrane from the peppers to remove most of the heat, but I guess I didn’t cook them long enough.

But we handed them out at the party regardless, advising people of how hot they were. One gentleman remarked he loved hot food, grabbed one and took his seat at the other side of the yard. Sensei and I watched as he took a big bite, chewed and swallowed, and started to feel the heat rise.

He commented that he’d better not get the hiccups from the pepper when, mere seconds later, they started. Naturally, Jeff and I were in tears, bent over laughing hysterically. I’d never seen someone get such violent hiccups, let alone from hot food. But they quickly subsided and we were all laughing about it.

I continued sampling my hot handiwork throughout the night and evening, but always with a beverage nearby.

That’s how the ABTs went over: tasty, hot and comical.

As for the ribs, they were downright delicious, if I do say so myself. My wife came home from the store Friday night with three of the biggest racks of ribs I had ever seen. Fred Flintstone would have been proud!

Four hours of slow cooking, good barbecue sauce, rub, and apple juice worked its magic. We had a ton of food at the party, and a lot of leftovers. I’m happy to say none of our ribs were left.

This coming week, I expect we’ll keep it simple at times with more chicken and hamburgers, but I have my eye on a new recipe worth a serious look – bacon explosion.

This involves four pounds of meat, so when I tackle that monster, it will be on a day when we are with a group of friends and family.

That’s the great thing about this barbecue. You can cook a lot of food, and that tends to attract people to come and enjoy it.

More summer time spent outside, with friends, and more home cooking, where a lot of the fat on the meat drips off. That’s a great combination in my books.


Melt-in-your-mouth salmon grilled on a cedar plank. It tasted even better than it looks!
Melt-in-your-mouth salmon grilled on a cedar plank. It tasted even better than it looks!


  1. Bruce: You should try a piece of slate on the bbq, and then put a steak on top of it when it is about 600 degrees. It char's it, sear's it. Doesn't get any better. about a 2.5 to 3 inch t-bone works perfect.


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