Gray. My favorite?


The above photo shows some of the options. In particular, here we have a red tone, a gray, and a brown. However, sometimes I derive yellows, bronzes, and dark gray. This variability begs the inevitable question “what causes the differences in color.” Opinions vary...and as I quickly discovered, color predictability would become the weakest part of my skill set.  This lack of certainty is at times maddening and has occasioned some intermittent foul language. Feel like I’ve tried it all and just surrender to what comes. It’s a pisser!

My smoking medium usually consists of dry cedar chips and a Cabela’s camp stove, although I have tried other woods and smoking systems.  From my typical and present method using the same fuel, chips, and stove, I have produced a wide variety of tones with more probably falling into the bronze-brown category than any other.  However, once in a while a light gray appears. I gotta admit, I find it VERY appealing. Maybe because it’s so rare it sort of stuns me, like finding a mastodon femur in my garden. It’s not the first color that the majority of my customers seek, but I feel a special “bond” with those who do.  Like maybe we should share a special handshake or that perhaps our wives are identical twins or maybe we fought back-to-back in some bloody conflict. I don’t know exactly, but I do know this much, we are members of an inner circle. An elite fraternity. My gray brothers, I salute you!

Neal Armstrong