grilling

Smokin’ Weekend

Over the weekend we got to try out our new Traeger smoker!

Saturday

We had another couple over for dinner to have ribs. Michael started the ribs at about noon and then we ate at 7-ish.

Michael has been really good at BBQing ribs, it’s one of his specialties, but smoking them for several hours first made them out of this world!

He used a combination of a BBQ seasoning rub and a recipe that the Traeger book recommended (honey, mustard, brown sugar) and then for the last hour of the cooking he added the BBQ sauce.

The ribs were absolutely perfect! The meat fell off the bone. The flavors were so rich and smokey. It was like nothing we’d ever had before. Smoking the ribs was sooo good.

Michael said next time he does ribs he’d do the timing a little different. I think he was saying it was a 3-2-1 process where you smoke them for 3 hours then cook them in foil for 2 hours then the last hour is cooking uncovered on the grill and using BBQ sauce. He said he wanted to play with the time a little bit next time.

Our friends brought a delicious Asian-inspired cucumber salad. The cucumbers were from her garden. The salad was really tasty and went so well with the ribs.

Sunday

Michael bought a giant hunk of brisket at Costco and started the Traeger at 7am. He followed the recipe in the Traeger book for the first time. A few years ago I bought him Franklin’s BBQ book so I think he’ll use that in the future, too.

This was definitely an all day process and he said he should have started it a bit earlier in the morning.

I picked the first batch of jalapenos from the garden and Michael pickled a bunch and then saved a few and made poppers as an appetizer. SO TASTY!

Michael’s mom and stepdad, sister and friend Jeremy came over to be guinea pigs for the first ever brisket.

Once the brisket was done, we wrapped it in foil to rest for almost an hour.

More wine:

And the unveiling!

Michael’s mom made potato salad from scratch and Michael’s sister made a delicious salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was all really tasty and went perfectly with the meat.

For a first attempt, the brisket was really, really good. There were a few tough pieces but for the most part it was great! The flavor was outstanding. We are all super excited to try again!

So Long Bend

Sunday we took it easy. Which was probably a good thing…the amount of stress and stuff that’s been happening lately really pointed out how badly we needed some down time. I took a few short naps on Sunday, which was nice. I was fighting off a little head cold or something so I didn’t feel up to working out much. Which was a bummer. I had a list of hikes I wanted to check out. 🙁 Next year, I guess…

Sunday afternoon Michael and I took Logan for a walk to the downtown area. It was less than a mile walk and it was nice to get outside in the sunshine after laying around most of the morning. The sunny walk revitalized me a bit.

We walked around downtown a bit and got some ice cream. 🙂 Logan loves ice cream! We did a little shopping and then walked back and Logan fell asleep in the stroller. (He wasn’t great about napping on vacation, so we took what we could get!)

My dad played with Logan for a bit and Michael, my mom, and I played Scattergories (one of my favorites) on the front deck. It was SO nice outside! It was heavenly just listening to the wind in the trees, the birds and the nearby kids and dogs playing.

Then we fixed dinner. I made a big clean-out-the-fridge salad and some beans with bacon, and Michael grilled up some of the fancy bratwursts we got at that meat/growler shop on Saturday!

I had the Creole sausage and it was great! Very spicy!

We sat outside on the patio and had our last vacation dinner. I was bummed that vacation was ending. Especially since we didn’t get to do about half of the stuff I had hoped to do in Bend this trip!

Monday Logan got us all up bright and early. He was obviously 100% better and was ready to run and play and jump and climb and walk everywhere. I think he was catching up for the several days he didn’t feel good.

Last coffee on the porch. I loved that porch. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

We packed up the car and said goodbye to my parents.

We timed it perfectly. My dad wore out Logan so by the time we got in the car to drive home, he was REALLY ready for a nap! He slept for about half the drive. We got over Mount Hood and stopped for Subway (not a lot of lunch options on the road–especially not good options on the diet).

We stopped at the Wildwood Recreation area to have a picnic lunch. It was a really cool spot! Perfect for little kids to explore.

After lunch we walked around a little bit to let the little dude stretch his legs and explore. He loved it! He wanted to check out everything he saw. It looked like there were lots of trails and places to walk. There was a creek and places to have picnics. We definitely want to go back and explore some more.

After a little walk we got back in the car. It was a nice little pit stop! We got home at a decent time and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and cleaning up.

It was a really great vacation. We didn’t get to do everything I had on my to-do list. There is so much stuff to see in Bend and since this was the first time we’d been there in summer, I guess I had higher expectations for trying to do all the things! Logan being sick kind of changed those plans–as it should. I guess we’ll just have to go back next year! 😉