Last year my parents got me a Weber Kettle charcoal grill for Father’s Day. Since then I’ve been learning how to cook meats on the grill, including smoking meats on the grill. It’s been a pleasure and the results have been worth the effort.

I’ve made a smoked ham with a spicy apricot glaze for Easter:

We’ve done pulled pork for ourselves and for friends:

And tonight we had chopped beef with an English roast we had in the fridge that I decided to smoke. Here it is in progress:

And here is the final result:

While learning to smoke meat well, I have also been reading Andy Crouch’s Tech-Wise Family. One of the points Crouch makes is that many of the things which give us the greatest pure delight are things which require skill to do well. And this is a problem because much of our technology today is premised on the idea of making something easy everywhere you go.

The result is that if we are not careful our technological devices end up militating against the possibility of true joy in the home for the simple reason that we never bother to cultivate the skills needed to experience real delight ourselves or to share with our friends and neighbors.

I’ve thought about that a lot as I’ve thought about hospitality, which is something that has been a big part of both my life and my wife’s, as we are both former L’Abri students. It’s fashionable in some circles to talk about how hospitality doesn’t require you to have a huge house or cook an elaborate meal. And that’s all really really true! There is not some kind of test to prove minimal competence in cooking or cleaning in order to be hospitable.

That being said, hospitality is ultimately about place-making and specifically about making the kind of place in which people can feel welcome, safe, and at home, even if they aren’t entirely clear on what it even means to be “at home.” And, well, doing something like that is hard and it requires a high amount of skill to do well. To be frank, I feel in myself a great lack when it comes to many of those skills.

The hopeful thing, of course, is that skills can be learned. And so that’s what I’m trying to do as I read Amazing Ribs and watch YouTube videos and try and fail to make good food on my grill. And when it goes well, we can offer to people the gift of good meals and unhurried time and, hopefully, a little bit of rest.


Here’s the rub I use for pulled pork and ribs.

You should have this mustard sauce or this vinegar sauce with the pork. Or both.

I followed the instructions on rub and method in this video for the smoked ham:

And did the same on this chopped beef:

Oh, and you should absolutely get a Slow N Sear.

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Posted by Jake Meador

Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy, and sons Wendell, Austin, and Ambrose. Jake's writing has appeared in Commonweal, Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play and he has written or contributed to several books, including "In Search of the Common Good," "What Are Christians For?" (both with InterVarsity Press), "A Protestant Christendom?" (with Davenant Press), and "Telling the Stories Right" (with the Front Porch Republic Press).