An American-style barbecue with the Hang Fire Cook Book and our new smoker

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Send him out shopping for gardening tools and he comes back with a smoker. Likely story. It all started when we were gifted the Hang Fire Cook Book – the bible of American barbecue, written by a pair of local gals. Well that got him all excited didn’t it, so the first smoker he spots and it’s in the trolley and now set up in our back garden. And of course, he couldn’t wait more than 24 hours to use it, so we had a spur of the moment barbecue party in our concrete box garden.

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Smoked lamb breast and leg of lamb

Almost everything we served up was either straight from or inspired by and twisted slightly from the HFCB. My personal favourite was the cola hot legs (adapted from the cola hot wings recipe) which made me re-discover my love of chicken. We also created our own take on the smoked lamb shoulder, trying out the rub with lamb’s breast and lamb leg. The smoker just gave all of the meat an incredible depth of flavour, which is impossible to replicate in a standard oven.

And there’s so much more in there than simply how to smoke a bit of meat – some of the side dishes are truly stonking. Such as the Southern-style potato salad with it’s American mustard tang or the wonderfully nutty hasselback poatoes with brown butter.

The fab thing is these ladies openly encourage you to experiment. They want you to discover the art and love of smoking for yourself. So while some of the longer-lists of ingredients may look a little intimidating to your average barbecuer, for the most part, once you have they key items in stock you’re good to go for most of the recipes and can adapt them yourself as you see fit.

I’ll have to admit, I took a back seat from the smoking myself. Man love fire and all that, but it was nice to see him getting really excited about food. Looking to get him a gift? Surprise him with a smoker – and the HFCB.

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