Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rednecks at Play - Autumnal Geekquinox 2014

The Rare Hipster's semi-annual dinner party , the infamous Geekquinox, came around again, and not a moment too soon!  Our collective summers seem to get far too insular, with vacations, visits, illnesses and renovation projects conspiring to keep us apart, and this past season was no exception.  Getting together a minimum of twice a year, with Pete exercising his considerable kitchen fu on our behalf, is always appreciated.  (Full disclosure: any of the decent looking pictures below were taken by Earl, who has already documented his impressions of this tremendous event at his blog.)

I think all but one of the dinners has had a theme, sometimes so strong they almost overpower other elements of the meal, such as the food or the company (I'm looking at you, Star Trek!), but this time he kept it (relatively) simple and appropriate: a meat-themed extravaganza he called Redneck Rampage.

I was too preoccupied or slow to comprehend Pete's clue to the theme, but Scott and Ellen more than made up for it; he with his 'wife-beater' shirt, mossy-oak cap and reed hanky jutting jauntily from his back pocket (c.f.: Cooter's Garage), and Ellen with her Dallas Cowboys gear and tastefully slathered on blue eye shadow.  Sylvia's 'Daughter of Anarchy' look was well received, and I quickly jettisoned my golf shirt and reversed my Dutch football team hat in an ill-advised but still somehow appreciated attempt to maintain some sort of coherence with the prevailing trends.

A surprise visit by infamous 'Tele-Totty' DrinkyWinky, courtesy of an initially accidental photographic composition error, also helped keep the mood light.
"Whoa, even if you only dispense lime, it's still impressive..."

Time spent on a sun dappled deck imbibing margaritas and beers with friends is already as successful a party as I would ever want, but the menu beckoned!

Soon, Pete was re-heating his coals by use of an industrial torch, and while those were getting fired up, he ployed us with green onion cakes.  Now, these are not particularly rednecky unless you happen to live in Edmonton, where they are served with reckless abandon and enjoyed with much gusto at just about every open air event we have, from the Strathcona Farmer's Market to the Edmonton Folk Festival.  These were fantastic as always, complemented by a mixture of dark vinegar and sambel.

Before getting too much further into the meal, Pete insisted we try a libation with the dubious moniker of "Pickle-Back Bourbon".  Now, both of those things sound great to me on their own, but the idea of taking a shot of straight-up bourbon, possibly my favourite of the brown liquors, and chasing it with a shot of pickle juice straight from the jar, I felt my gorge becoming buoyant.  Still, knowing that the Lord hates a coward, we imbibers bellied up to the bar, even the ladies who normally find straight spirits coarse and dubious!

Preparing to do something stupid.
Doing something potentially unwise.

"Well, I'll be damned..."

Turns out, it's actually pretty good, and even works when you sip it, as Pete had some extremely nice 12 year-old Jim Beam on hand for the occasion which we obviously did not want to waste.  (More on this later.)
Proper equipment is a must, obviously.

Returning to the food, Pete served up a brisket he had been slow cooking on his big green egg since the night before, which was absolutely delicious served up on a roll.  The side was a corck of beans made in a bespoke earthen vessel for another similarly long period of time, and were leagues removed from the paltry tinned fare most of us comport ourselves with.

Sensing the fullness of his guests, Pete abandoned his plans for fried green tomatoes and returned to the grill to prepare a crowd favourite: Atomic Buffalo Turds or ABTs for short.

Somewhere between another round of pickle-back bourbon and the ABTs, succulent pulled pork was served up, which was delectable, but did impact our intake of the amazingly smoky-peppery-sausagey goodness which is the hallmark of the Atomic Buffalo Turd.  So much food!  And in the interests of health and balance, Squash Creole was also brought forth to assuage the vegetable quotient.  A high degree of preparation (and a small degree of actual child labour leveraged in the construction of the ABTs) meant Pete spent the most time ever actually visiting with his guests, which was greatly appreciated by all in attendance!

It was close to midnight before anyone had any room for dessert: an incredibly rich Texas Whiskey Cake.  "Oh, I just can't! Ooh, that looks pretty good...maybe a small! We'll share! That's it, we'll share the load..."

In the end though, as good as the food is (and it is hellaciously good, I assure you!), it's the company that keeps us hanging around when the victuals are but a memory

Well, that, and the fact that many of us didn't want to drive after demolishing a keg of Alley Kat Amber Ale at 3:00 am and much of the remainder of the Jim Beam thereafter.
Did I fail to mention there are a couple of teetotalers amongst our number?

No matter what yardstick you use: food, drink, fellowship; Pete's Geekquinox dinners (ably abetted by the lovely Ellen) set the high-water mark for hospitality and excellent times!

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