|AGUA DULCE, California -- I drove down the winding
country road, careful not to blink so as not to miss the tiny town of
Agua Dulce, "Sweet Water", to those Spanish impaired. A small
western-style strip mall, a liquor store, a general market and the town
was in my rear view mirror. Eyes peeled for a street with another
Mexican name. There it is--WHOA!! Almost plowed off the the road
and into a fence when my eyes are distracted by a very pretty young lady
leading a very pretty horse in the lot on the right. OK, go slow
now, eyes straight ahead, forget about the very pretty horse. I turn
left and head up a dusty lane. A wrought-iron gate opens as my car
nears, almost as if it sensed my coming.
I pull into a gravel parking area, bigger than most residential lots
in Los Angeles, get out and stretch my legs. My host, Dan Cannon,
comes over to meet me and I shake his hand. Dan is busy, tells me
to feel at home and walks away. I move toward a red painted trailer and
my jaw drops. What do I see perched upon this trailer--a Playboy
Playmate (to be gender fair: a handsome hunk in a G-string)? No,
something more sexy, more alluring, something that sets my blood on
fire. For on this trailer sits an object so beautiful, it takes my
breath away (in addition to dropping my jaw).
I am in deep, heartfelt love (or more accurately, in deep, heartfelt
lust). The Green-Eyed Monster of jealousy and envy makes me want
to back up my truck, hitch up this fantastic beauty and drive away with
it while Dan is in the house. Then I sadly remember, I have my
wife's station wagon and not my truck--no hitch. The wife, damn,
there'd be hell to pay if I brought this looker home with me. Who
cares! I back the station wagon up to the trailer's tongue. I hop
out, grab some shiny-new chain I find nearby and begin to tie the rig to
the rear axle and back bumper of the station wagon. The red
trailer weights over 5,000 pounds, about twice the weight of the wife's
wagon, who cares? I'll be miles down the road before the transmission
craps out and I can call for a tow. From out of nowwhere, Dan
appears. Brows wrinkle, eyes darken. Oh, hi Dan. Just seeing what
it's look like behind the wagon. You know, checking out how your
red paint goes with the red on the wagon. Just joking, Dan.
Really. No need to set the dogs on me. Just joking!
Under Dan's watchful eyes, I undo the chains and move the wagon back
to the acre-sized parking area. I then take a look around his place.
I see a nice house, a big garage and two beady-eyed beagles giving me
the once-over. Over here, a grill or two. Over there a small
smoker, and there a Black Diamond, just like my one and only smoker.
Across the way sit a bunch of Weber Smokey Mountain smokers. What's that
out there in the back? I see a nice Klose pit on a trailer, next to it a
custom-made off-set pit on a trailer. What's the smoker count,
Dan? Six, seven, eight?
I turn back to the red trailer and wipe the drool off my chin with my
sleeve. This time, Dan has outdone himself. For what sits so
pretty on the trailer is an Ole Hickory EL smoker, a beauty in stainless
steel, a work of smok'n art. AND I WANT IT!
I can tell, this pit is made for traveling, for catering, for
competition, for just plain show. It's got everything, including the
kitchen sink. AND I WANT IT!
Despite my attempted pitnapping, Dan still extended the invitation to
be among the privileged first to give this new beauty a real workout. We
loaded up "Big Ole Red" with what seemed like two hundred
pounds of meat, two small logs of seasoned oak and let it rip. Two hours
later, we were eating some of the best smoked sausage I have ever put in
my mouth. The pit's internal temperature was so rock steady, I was sure
the thermometer dial was stuck on 250F. The only problem all day
was that Big Ole Red ate Gary's nuts (but that's the subject of an
That evening, we feasted on smoked prime rib, smoked chicken, smoked
baby back ribs, Dan's Five-Star BBQ beans and finished the meal with
Rick Streiff's world-famous and prize-winning miniature apple pies.
Later, in the dark, I drove back down the dusty driveway, with the
terrible pain of separation stabbing my heart.
That's Dan, working at the big prep table. Anybody wishing more
information on this very nice rig, and how you can have it delivered to
your place for a cater or just to see what Dan looks like from the
front, check out his web page. BBQDan.com
PS Those ARE NOT propane bottles at the front of the rig. Those
are liquid nitrogen bottles that Dan uses in his secret meat tenderizing
process. BBQ Dan would NEVER use propane in a smoker!