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The Temple of 'Q

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

The Night Police Locker Room; Episode 2:

Police locker room, orange lockers and hanging clothes
Our home away from home!

Both Paul and I are aficionados of not just BBQ and smoked foods, but even more importantly, the process to get there. Food projects really get our attention. It's all about the process, engaging and challenging ourselves over a period of time to produce remarkably good BBQ. We crash and burn and produce remarkably bad BBQ too. While annoying it allows us to practice our swearing, stomping about and acting like adolescent idiots. Nevertheless, we are undeterred.

Between us, we own 2 Yoder YS640 pellet grills on comp carts, a Big Green Egg, an Argentinian Parilla, the ubiquitous Weber, a stick burner, a Swine-o-Matic (more about that later), a flat top and various propane and electric grills. What would happen if BBQ broke out and you weren't prepared? I shudder to think.

This is Lucille, a YS640 on a competition cart and recently dubbed (by me) a national National Treasure. Made by Yoder in the USA! If you knew us you wouldn't be surprised to know that Paul has the exact same model, Molly.

From the joys of chowing with my daughter at the Salt Lick in Texas, Montreal Smoked Meat at Schwartz's Deli, good times with my pop and my buddy Melmon amongst piles of oysters, BBQ'd and not, in NOLA and on the northern California coast...wherever you find BBQ, you find friends and family.

Below are a few pics of BBQ successes. I retain the right not to show pictures of my crash and burns.

Below is my parilla; had many meals on similar in Argentina and my amazingly talented buddy and co-author PJ Smith handcrafted this beauty. This happens to be paella on the parilla. Kinda like how that sounds.

Tacos on the flat top. I watched YouTube's "The Ultimate Mexican Street Food" episode and these are the result.

Simple grilled shrimp with a splash of lime. Just begging to be paired up with a simple grilled pineapple margarita!

My good buddy, Mikey the dentist, brought by some foie gras. A couple of drinks and an epiphany...lets flat top that over wood smoke. THIS is why geese are proud of their livers.

Below is the Swine-o-Matic. Concept by Wergie, design and fabrication by Wauly. Over a wood fire, on a fishing trip to British Columbia, our collaboration resulted in excessive celebration, gluttony and round little tummies. All things we hold dear.

Arnold, on the Swine-O-Matic.

For me, the Yoder, the Swine-o-Matic and my Parilla are the top of the mount. I'm sure there will be others in due time.


This is one of my favorite food projects, both time consuming and cluttered by technique BUT producing some of the best Q I've ever made. Montreal Smoked Meat.

Montreal Smoked Meat Sangwich

Close to Schwartz's, but not the same...this is smoked meat, it's not pastrami. It's a lighter smoke and more nuanced (that's writer talk right there.)

13# packer brisket (I very minimally trim)

Dry cure this cow part as follows:

1lb peppercorn, ground

1.5lb coarse salt

1/4lb sugar

1/4lb coriander seed, ground

3TBL clove, ground

3TBL bay leaf powdered

4TBL instacure (pink salt)

I like a coarse texture of spices; I throw them in a spice grinder; the bay leaves you have to grind the crap out of them to get them to something close to a powder. Use half of the mixture and save the other half for the next time.

Cover generously with the dry cure mix. Wrap it in plastic wrap, put it in a pan in the fridge, and weight it down. I really have no idea why this is recommended (in more than one recipe), but I do it each and every time and now I'm afraid to not do it. I put a cutting board on it, a twelve-pack of Shiner Bock on top of that. I suppose you could use another brand of beer, but again, I'm a'feared!

A time or two each day I flip the brisket over and do this semi-religiously for 9 days; a small amount of liquid may accumulate, that's why you put it in a pan in the first place. Why 9 days...because it works. Could it be more or less, I suppose, but again...well you know how I am.

Next, I rinse off the cure and soak that bad boy in cold water for at least 3 hours, changing water every 1/2 hour. This seems to reduce the salt content, though I do wonder about that.

Next up:

An "old fashioned spice blend" :

2 parts whole peppercorns

1 part coriander seed

Dump both ingredients into your blender or even better, spice grinder and pulse until the seeds are partially crushed. I use about four big fistfuls of peppercorn and two of coriander seed. I'm not sure you need to be hugely accurate, this is barbeque not making meth. It's enough to generously cover that big hunk of cow you've been laboring over for the last week and a half.

Then, pat Mr. Brisket dry and rub with tons of the spice blend. Re-wrap it in plastic wrap then back into the fridge overnight. Again weighted down (I must admit that routinely the 12-pack of Shiner is down to 1 or 2 bottles (all that turning each day will take it out of you), so you might consider re-upping, just for the weight of course.

By the next morning, you're practically giddy with anticipation. It's time to unwrap the brisket and, put in your smoker; give it 3-4 hours smoke at 250F. Time to wrap it in foil and continue at 250F-265F for another 5 hours.

Now it's time to take it out of the smoker and let it come to room temp or close. Wrap the whole works in plastic wrap (I know, again? Just do it!) and put it in the fridge overnight. You won't need the Shiner Bock now...just drink, as prescribed.

This is the day. I'm excited for you. Unwrap the aforementioned brisket and put it in your steamer for 3 hours. Then slice it, thin, pile it on the best rye bread you can find with a splash of mustard and enjoy. Oh, and I'd have an icy cold Shiner Bock or two as well, just to be safe.

NOTE: If your steamer won't accommodate this huge hunk of cow, it's been suggested to instead put it on a rack in a pan with water. Cover it well with foil, pop it into a 250-265F oven for 5-6 hours. Personally, I think I'd chunk it up, and put a piece that will fit, and do it in the steamer. You pick, it's your dead cow.

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