Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT!(Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough::
So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
With the grill outside heated by white-hot pieces of coal and chopped peach wood, Jim Cloud diligently sliced raw meat inside a kitchen scented with seasoning salts.
On his dining table were containers of red pepper, onion salt, chili powder, oregano and ground mustard.
Cloud is the chief of demolition/neglect for the City of Birmingham. He also has an after-hours and weekend gig that makes him a popular man in City Hall.
"He's known around here as the barbecue king," said Janice Gilliland, an administrative clerk. "We had a going-away party for a lady that used to work here. We all brought some stuff and he brought barbecue and some of the fixings. It was delicious."
Cloud is a certified barbecue judge who travels to tournaments throughout the Southeast to help determine which contestants cook the best pork.
The Pratt City resident has worked with the city for 14 years, the last nine as chief of the condemnation/demolition section which is under the department of planning and engineering. His division is responsible for getting rid of the dilapidated structures that need demolishing in Birmingham.
He has judged contests for five years in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee, including the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis - The Super Bowl of Swine, as it's called, - that draws 90,000 pork lovers from around the world.
Cloud, 58, said his mother taught him how to prepare food when he was a youngster. "She said if my wife got sick I would be able to cook." [...]
He demonstrated his technique last week during an off day from City Hall. He began by wrapping his hands in latex gloves and gathering two sets of knives: one for the raw meat and one for the cooked. "You don't want to contaminate the cooked meat with the knives that cut the raw meat," he said.
He carved fat away from the spare ribs until three to four inches of meat were left and then he massaged in the rub - the seasoning he puts on the meat to give it flavor.
He paid as much attention to his grill as his meal. "I don't use lighter fluid to light my fires," he said. "I use an electric lighter to light up the charcoal and then I add on peach wood."
"I watch my meat's temperature," he continued. "I don't just cook meat to cook meat. I cook it at a temperature. I try to maintain around 225 to 240 degrees."
He uses apple juice or pineapple juice - no water - to keep his meat moist and avoids barbecue sauce, if possible.
"I try to make the meat so good you might not even want sauce," he said. [...]
As I said, I know Mr. Cloud--he works downstairs, and is one of the finest fellows you'll ever meet. And I'm not just angling for some ribs. posted by Terry at