Sunday, November 19, 2006


I hate Sundays. I’ve hated them throughout my entire life.

I hated them as a kid, because it meant that my two sacred days of watching late night TV had ended.

I hated them as an adult living in the US, because it meant that I had to return to work the next morning—and, cruelly enough, it also meant that work-related stress would return right around bedtime.

But above all, I hate them in Spain. Why? Because a Sunday in Spain means that everything is closed and there is NOTHING to do.

It’s for this reason that I woke up this morning in a panic.

“Sunday! Nothing to do! Dangerous! Very dangerous!”

Believe me, folks—I really, REALLY don’t relax well. In fact, I can’t even begin to fathom what other people find so relaxing about relaxing.

My body tenses like an over-tuned violin string. My teeth start grinding like a mortar and pestle. And my mind starts wandering into neighborhoods where no mind ought to wander.

“Must occupy myself! Must occupy myself!” I cried as I leaped from bed and bounded down the staircase.

I started rifling through cabinets. I tore through magazine racks. I scanned the neighborhood for any signs of life. It was all for naught. Until...I opened the refrigerator door.

And there—staring me right in the face—were a leg of lamb, a whole chicken, a sweet potato and a COCONUT.

My trapezius softened. My head tilted back. I let out a long, drawn-out, quasi-orgasmic breath. And then—refocusing my gaze on those four objects sitting on the refrigerator shelf—I snarled, “You’re smoked!”

Enter The Salivator.

We all know the procedure by now. I fired up the charcoals (Minion Method, for those who are interested), and turned my attention toward prepping the food.

The first order of business was to name the meat. This is important, because Q’g can take anywhere from five to fifteen hours. And given that I live alone...I need someone or something to talk with during that long haul.

I named the leg of lamb “PATCHES” and the chicken “CORKY.” There was no need to name the other items, because—as we all know—lambs and chickens have a tendency to dominate conversations.

PATCHES had been marinading overnight in a mixture of one part Kikoman Soy Sauce and two parts vegetable oil. CORKY was in a brine of 6 T. table salt, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 quart of water.

I removed and dried them both. I dusted PATCHES with a dry rub called “Magic Dust” (recipe can be found in the book “Peace, Love and Barbecue” by Mike Mills).

I washed the as-yet-unnamed sweet potato and jabbed it several times with a fork.

And then, I sawed the COCONUT in half. If you think sawing a COCONUT is easy, then think again. It took ten minutes and I’m damn lucky to have escaped with all my fingers.

I somehow squeezed all this food on The Salivator’s top grate, shoved a digital probe thermometer into PATCHES, and closed the lid.

And then I sat down, and commenced a conversation with PATCHES and CORKY that ran the gamut from middle-eastern animal the best method for making hats out of yarn and empty beer cans.

I removed the COCONUT after three hours—which was probably an hour too much, because it was a bit dry. But interesting, nonethless. Smoky COCONUT is very niiiice!

At hour four, CORKY'S breast was at 160F and her thigh was at 170F. Time for her to come off!

She was so beautiful, I almost didn't want to shred her. But shred her I did, because CORKY gave her life so that my daughter can have chicken salad for dinner tomorrow night. Sorry, CORKER. I didn't invent the food chain. I just follow it.

At hour four and a half, PATCHES hit 170F. He was drop-dead gorgeous. I wrapped him and the sweet potato in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and put them into an empty beer cooler. They sat in there for another hour...keeping toasty warm while PATCHES re-absorbed his juices.

Finally, I sliced and then chopped PATCHES into little bits, served him on Wonder bread and drizzled with an Owensboro, Kenucky-style "black sauce" (i.e., Worchester sauce, white vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar and garlic).

And, so...I successfully navigated the pitfalls of another Sunday. All thanks to PATCHES, CORKY and COCONUT.

In case you're wondering, I'm going to have a salad for dinner.


At 3:31 PM, Anonymous cream said...

Sal, I am salivating!!!
It all looks delicious.
Sunday is more bearable with friends and wine!

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous jrpfeff said...

Sal - Is that an Ikea cutting board? They are everywhere.

I'm glad to see you the Salivator being put to use. Great looking feast! Will you be smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving?


At 5:52 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Cream: Whoa! I just got a cooking compliment from a professional chef? Thanks, dude. And you're right...friends and wine make everything more bearable. Wine even makes friends bearable.

Jim: I figured that you'd sniff-out this post. Yes...that is an IKEA cutting board. I still can't believe that I only paid 12€ for it. I use it a thousand times per day. I love IKEA. I could spend my entire paycheck there. In fact, I almost did yesterday. And now...why you put YOUR WSM to use? C' know that you want to.


At 6:18 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

OMG! That looks (and certainly tastes)fantastic! Will you be starting up the Salivator when you have all of us bloggers visitng, too??

BTW, we also have that IKEA cutting board and we think it's great. IKEA is my equivalent to Orange and Boss stores! $$$$$$!!!

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Kurt said...

In memory of Patches...we hardly knew ye... Oh Patches.

I just had microwaved frozen spaghetti...I need to marry someone who can cook lol.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

C-Swiss: Of course I will. I quite grandmotherly in that regard. I show my love by making people fat. Just be sure to come on a Sunday; for the reason that Cream mentioned earlier.

Kurt: Patches died for a good cause, so don't be sad. And don't be jealous, either. I ate spaghetti and its brethren nearly every night last week.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

You seem like a cooking catch, Mr DeTraglia!

I shall expect to be fed wondrous things when we blog on over.

In exchanged I will offer witty, in fact superior, conversation ... superior as in comparison with said dead bit of animal you conversed with today :)

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

It's a deal, Lady Di. I look forward to your views on the best way to make a hat from yarn and empty beer cans.

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

huh? since when are you divorced and living alone? well I mean living with a coconut and your daughter?? uggh, I am so confused??

Keep advertising yourself like this, with the pictures (very cute, btw;) and cooking adventures, you'll have all these women bloggers booking flights to spain!!


At 12:05 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Kim:

Since when? Since over a year...which, I think, was the last time you left a comment...wasn't it? :-O

Anyway...divorce isn't all bad. If you don't believe me, just check out my dining room table.

As for those women blogger booking flights to Spain, I see right through them. They're just using me for the 364 days of annual sunshine and the cheap, yet world-class wine.

Don't be such a stranger.


At 3:28 AM, Blogger Pam said...

A ukulele will really fill those empty Sundays. That, and babes looking to exploit you for 364 days of sun and cheap wine.

I'm not much of a meat eater, but I loves me some chicken from the smoker. Expectations are set for blogfest at your house, and they are HIGH.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger christina said...

Ahhh, I could smell that Q all the way from Bonn. I think I got on the wrong train yesterday afternoon, too - instead of going back up north I should have taken the one that said "SAL'S HOUSE" on the front. The 22 hour trip would have been worth it. Yum.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...


You soo need your own show ;)

Divorce can be not so bad, and it can be bad..depends I guess on how long you are into it..mine is still not completed and it's been over 3 years..damn NY laws..and stupid lazy lawyers!

I'm glad you are happy and posing for such funny pictures!


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Yum! You'll have to teach me smokin' one day.

In the meantime, I can't believe you are actually wearing a chef jacket! ;-) The cleavers I understand...

What did you actually do with smoked coconut? I think it might be good in some sort of grain dish. I bet you just ate it plain, didn't you?
~ B

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

BeeP: Of course I was wearing a chef's jacket (I have two--one white and one black). I certainly can't do "Q Kung-Fu" in a sequined cocktail dress. They chafe.'re right about the COCONUT. I just ate it like candy.

Pam: Don't worry about the meat. At the blogger reunion, I'll smoke you a bottle of tempranillo reserva.

Christina: With 22 hours lead-time, I could smoke a whole hog. Intriguing thought, eh?

At 10:19 PM, Blogger The Big Finn said...

Sal -
I'm gonna have to try me one of those "quasi orgasms".
Also, the author of the cookbook was "Mike Mills?" You mean, like, the bass player of R.E.M.????

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Oh you can stop the chafing with the right undergarments. I would actually think the stiletto heels would be more of a problem.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

TBF: I think "quasi orgasms" become the norm after age 40. As for Mike Mills...same name; vastly different waistline and cholesterol level. BTW...I oh you an email with some dates. I'll get that to you soon.

BeeP: So...the iron breastplate and codpiece might've been the culprits, after all?

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are we supposed to be coming over? Hope it falls on a Sunday. That food looks delish!!

Now as you know, I do hate IKEA. But I like Sundays.

I hated them when I had to go to school or work the next day. But now it means my own kids have to go to school the next day, it's a completely different matter!

Hey, if we're coming over for 364 days of sunshine, does that mean we're actually all moving in?

Just aswell you've got that table then!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger christina said...

Hmmm, a whole smoked hog IS an intriguing thought. Who wouldn't enjoy a big hunk of pork after traveling for 22 hours?

As for the "after age 40 thing" - not true, not true! Trust me on that one.

P.S. Show us your chairs, already!

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

"after age 40 thing"? What did I miss? Heck, I got married at 40! What's really sort of odd is having a son and a grandson that are the same age.... =o/


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