Things I’ve been right about include coming to Australia, moving to Tasmania, and having children, although the jury’s still out on that one. But it turns out that Oliver is proven right about using the smoker to cook our gourmet sausages at events.
Oliver made all four of our smokers himself. They stand around our bush block looking a bit like Ned Kelly costumes. Each one is bigger than the last. They're made from barrels, steel boxes and old air compressors and Oliver entertains himself by carving a pig face into the fire chamber. The latest is made from a double fridge he brought home from the tip. One day I’ll push him too far and you’ll find me swinging in there by the ankles in a fog of apple smoke.
Once he discovered the joy of smokers, he began smoking everything. Any time I plan a roast, he volunteers to cook it in the smoker. He’s smoked olives, cheese, river-caught fish and fish from the market, ribs, roasts and snags.
The rest of the family got so fed up with smoked food that I was adamantly against the smoking of sausages for selling on our stall. I found it hard to believe they’d have the same appeal as a barbecued banger, and that kids wouldn’t like them. Smoking stuff is a bit of a man's thing, borne out by the Facebook groups and programs like ‘Man, Fire, Food’. I thought we’d lose the female market.
I found it hard to believe that the Council Food Hygiene Gestapo would allow him to cook something in a red hot tube of steel powered by wood fire. Turns out they will.
We trialled it at a small event. And guess what – it worked. The sausages cooked quickly and evenly without splitting or sticking. Since Oliver wasn’t constantly turning them on a barbecue hot plate, he was free to do other things on the stall, like cook more onion or make me a Negroni – (in my dreams). With the addition of child labour and our daughter taking the money from customers while I looked after service, we served more sausages with greater speed than ever before and made a sum of money which raised all of our eyebrows. It would still make anyone with a proper job laugh their socks off, but it made our daughter’s orthodontic bills seem more achievable.
More importantly, the ‘smokey’ flavour is pretty indiscernible and nobody batted an eyelid at it.
Now Oliver has got the whole process, lock, stock and smoking barrel passed by the Gestapo and event organisers, and the upshot is that we’ll be doing smoked sausages at events like the Tasmanian Craft Fair, Entally Estate Gardenfest, Woolmers Festival of Roses and Agfest.
Oliver was right. Smoked sausages are the biz. He hasn’t rubbed it in, he’s too nice for that. I’m only eating a small dish of humble pie, and thankfully it’s baked, not smoked.