Throughout the ages, the manliness of oneself has been judged by the ability to complete set tasks. In the early days, it was hunting and gathering. Kill a large boar, throw it over your shoulder, bring it home and be championed as a real man. As we developed, physical strength – lifting weights, having large biceps and being able to carry a stupid number of grocery bags from the car to the kitchen – has remained the main precursor for being manly. Though modern society has found other identifiers for this sought after trait.
For example, growing a beard now deems you manly (why, I am not sure). That slack-jawed suburban menace who never had friends in primary school can easily rid himself of history by growing a face bush and ordering whisky in a short glass at a bar where the staff don black fedoras and leather suspenders. It’s just the way society wants it, and in the same way slaughtering a pig will no longer impress a female, growing facial hair will eventually fall from grace.
Though hidden amongst the suburban landscape is an underrated gem in the guide to manliness. It’s a way to be a man, but also a self-serving talent that provides a delicious return on your quest to make men say “that’s epic” and women say “How impressive”. It’s an art, but an accessible one. It’s the practice of smoking (and/or curing) meat.
I’ll set the scene: you invite ten friends over for a BBQ. Everyone expects the rudimentary sizzle steak/snag/bread combo. But instead of slaving away in front of your guests, you just stand with the masses, sinking piss as the smoker’s aroma permeates the deck on which you’re perched. When the time comes, you open the hatch and pull from it a gigantic hunk of deliciously tender meat, carve it, place it in a bowl of its own juices, then let everyone serve succulent morsels of protein onto fresh bread rolls. “This is amazing,” and, “how did you make it so tender!?” they say.
Smoking meat is therapeutic and cheap. It also makes people think you’re a true bloke, because tackling a 1.5kg brisket is far more impressive than turning a few snags. Though the final product – amazing pulled pork or a phenomenal smoked brisket – makes the other rewards insignificant. It’s a win win situation.
Try it. If you need info, this book has everything.