This is what a Bradley Smoker looks like: It is a machine of bliss and deliciousness. It delivers smoky goodness to turkeys, chicken, deer, fish, cheese, brisket… digital, state-of-the-art, a smorgasbord of delight! I bought ours for My Love two years ago… for about $500… and we’ve been happily smoking ever since.
This is what our Bradley Smoker looks like today: Did a feral deer run amok and torch it with a flame thrower? Did a salmon explode from within? Did I accidentally set the time to “ERUPT”, instead of “smoke gently”? Nope. I just tried to smoke a chicken. Chili rub. Butter under the skin. Whiskey briquettes. Like I’ve done fifty times in the last two years.
I was happily working on the back deck when a cloud of dark smoke billowed over the roof of the house. The acrid scent of burning wires wafted on the breeze. “THE SMOKER!” I screeched to the weiner, who had been drooling for the past hour, anticipating the dripping delight of chicken skin in his slavering jaws. I… ever the paragon of calm… raced around to the front of the house. Now, I know you’re not supposed to smoke chicken inside. Smoking inside is forbidden. But I did place the Bradley Smoker just inside the open door of the two-car garage attached to the house. The garage door was open, there was breeze, there was air-flow.
The entire garage was filled with dark smoke, and flames were leaping through the cracks in the door where the plastic seal used to be. I fully expected the neighbors, the fire department, an ambulance and Satan to come waltzing down my driveway at any moment.
“Flames,” I said calmly, to myself, without screeching, flapping my arms or looking around wildly for My Love to save me. “By golly, there seem to be FLAMES emanating from the Bradley Smoker.”
The epitome of calm.
“Hmmm,” I pondered. I may, or may not, have poured myself a glass of wine and meditated for a few moments before I rubbed my chin thoughtfully in contemplation of the dilemma. That’s just how calm I was. “There are flames shooting out of the smoker, AND MY SUPPER IS IN THERE!”
It was this consideration of my gastronomic necessities which galvanized me to action. I am almost ethereally calm in the face of crisis. Just ask my children. Totally panic-free, that’s me.
Did you know that there are instructions on fire extinguishers? Quite handy, actually, the instructions. If you’ve never used one before, and the smoker in your garage is in imminent danger of explosion, and you can’t find your glasses and the instructions are written in text small enough for only fairies to read… very handy. Did you also know that fire extinguishers have about enough extinguish-er inside them for… oh… 2.5 seconds of hopeful pfffffffffttttt-ing in the face of Flaming Death?
“Haha, Leaping Flames of Death! I shall smite thee!” I crowed.
I aimed the extinguisher.
Flames. Lots and lots of flames.
I meandered calmly around the house to the hose. I did NOT run frantically, knees and elbows akimbo, screeching “WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo?”
No, no, no.
I did NOT almost rip my knuckles off unscrewing the hose, then heave it trippingly around the house, then burrow wildly through the obstacles in the way of the garage faucet to attach it, all the while thinking: “My Love will KILL me if I burn down his house!”
I did not do any of those things.
I think I actually hummed the refrain to “These are a few of my favorite things” whilst I retrieved the hose.
You know how Charlie’s Angels always look so sexy when they aim a gun? The wind blows back their hair, and their boobs are perfect, and there are explosions all around them but they calmly just take aim and make shit happen?
I aimed the hose and blasted that motherfucker. My hair is too short to blow back, and my boobs are almost fifty years old, but there was definitely an explosion. Shit happened. The door blew off.
The fire went out. The smoke billowed.
The chicken, in its blackened chili rub, crawled out of the wreckage and gave itself up on the charred altar of What-Was-Once-A-Smoker.
I staggered out into the driveway, coughing, wondering how the Angels ever kept their makeup so perfect, and pondered what we were going to have for supper.
I texted My Love: “We’re not having smoked chicken for supper.”
I did NOT cry a little. I did NOT return to the garage and blast that smoking beast with a second flume of retribution, just in case. I did, however, chase the weiner away from the charcoal carcass of chicken that was limping desperately toward the compost bin.
When he got home, My Love hugged me and told me that I smelled delicious. Like smoked chicken with a hint of burn.
We had salmon for supper, cooked in the oven, sans flame.
This, believe it or not, is a product review. I will probably post it on the Bradley Smoker website. There seems to have been no reason for the conflagration, but it definitely smelled electrical rather than appetizing. I am minus one smoker, minus one chicken and minus some of my ethereal calm with which I meet all episodes of smoldering drama in my life.
I definitely did NOT, at a critical moment in the above scenario, consider closing the garage door and wrapping the offending holocaust in a blanket to smother the flames. Because that would have been stupid.
When in doubt… go for the hose.