The Brisket Critics

St. Patricks Day Rocket Fuel Party

If you can remember the St. Patricks day Rocket Fuel Party then you weren’t there.  That is a bit of an exaggeration but there were a couple of people who should have had a notice put round their necks.  “FUELING COMPLETE.  NO SMOKING.”  They were obviously tourists.

WOW.  That was Terlingua in full force.  The party was a fundraiser for the Volunteer Fire and EMS.  When all of the commitments are in we expect to squeak just over $5,000.00.  We have already handed over $4,800.00 to Greg Hennington, our fire chief.  I think the community should be proud of that achievement and I mean the winter Texans as well.  Thank you all.

This was the first chance we have had to cook on the new barbeque pit so we were a little nervous.  Would everything work OK and would the BBQ be top quality?

The first problem was that the pile of “Oak” turned out to be anything but.  We weren’t  going to cook with mystery wood.  The panic was on.  No suitable wood and only one day to go.  By a strange twist of fate I had just met Don Baucham of the Rustic Iron BBQ  Don stepped in and donated some wood to the cause.  He delivered it and stacked it and it was Oak and Mesquite and I was smiling again.  Thanks Don.  It is just possible that Don will be setting up a BBQ trailer somewhere in Terlingua/Study Butte.  That will be great.  This is Texas and we are supposed to have barbeque joints.  Until La Kiva opens the closest one is “Come and Get It “in Fort Davis.  “Friday and Saturday, 5:00 p.m. ’til it’s gone
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. until we run out” so hurry up and join us Don.

Wood problem solved, we prepped the meat and did a test firing of the BBQ.  It worked and the dampers all worked properly.  Smoke came out of the HUGE smokestack, it filled the main chamber and the monster rotisserie rack went round just the way it was supposed to.  Smiles all round.  We set the temperature and watched the needle creep ever closer to the set temperature and when it reached it all sorts of servos kicked in and flaps closed over air vents and the temperature stopped dead on the correct temperature.  We watched it for a while and it stayed rock solid where it was supposed to so we went home.

At ten o’clock Elton and I headed for passing wind.  Elton loaded the BBQ while I loaded the firebox.  Two slightly smug individuals added the last touches and prepared to leave.  Elton called “I am setting it going.” and then there was a flash and a bang and everything stopped.  Elton looked devastated.  I think he had visions of us staying up all night feeding the fire with one stick at a time and trying to control the temperature while robbed of our automation and with no backup manual control.  Ouch.  What Elton didn’t know was that I am not only an engineer that does abstruse calculations while someone else executes my designs.  I can actually fix stuff.  I headed back to La Kiva and grabbed my tool kit.  Within half an hour I had the front off the machine and the problem fixed.  It took me a little while to track down the breaker which had blown when we had our problem but once I had done that we were golden.  We hung around until it reached temperature and then we stayed on until it had gone through a couple of cycles of temperature adjustment just to make absolutely sure it was working and we went home to bed.

Next morning we headed for passing wind to find the smoker had maintained the temperature within two degrees of where we had set it the night before.  It smelled great.  We wrapped the briskets and turned the temperature down to the holding temperature.  While Elton prepped the beans and baked potatoes I got the fire going in the small smoker so that we could do baked potatoes and authentic Ranch style beans.  To make a long story short the potatoes came out with just enough perfume from the smoke to make them interesting, the brisket was great and the beans were the best I have ever had.

The party got started when the Doodlin Hoggwallops tuned up.  The weather was a little spotty but it didn’t stop anything.  The Hoggwallops played through a rain shower and got a cheer for that.  The music was good the food was good and the company was fantastic.

Do I look Cool
Gonna Try Begging For Brisket Without The Shades
The Pit Of Despair (Princess Bride) AKA The POD
Some of the Hotties
This image inserted by hackers
The Jacket Potato Cooker
The Doodlin Hoggwallops on the Pirate Ship
Elton The La Kiva Executive Chef
Pablo Menudo Strumming on the Focastle
Honest honey. I don’t know how that got in there but you must admit they are pretty impressive.

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8 thoughts on “St. Patricks Day Rocket Fuel Party”

  1. John,
    It was my pleasure to help out for such a great community cause and to support our Fire and EMS departments. And Rustic Iron BBQ is on the way, just taking some time..

  2. Thanks for keeping La Kiva alive.!!

    We live in northeastern NC but honeymooned in Big Bend back in 78 and have returned as often as possible over the years. I can’t remember just when we made our first visit to La Kiva – maybe mid 90’s – but it became a must stop whenever we did return.

    Its now been nearly three years since our last trip to Texas and I need a fix badly. Looking forward to getting back that way soon and checking out the updates – they look amazing.

    Al & Cindy K.

  3. My Wife and I made our first trip to Big Bend in 1981, on a motorcycle.

    We camped, in the tent camping area of La Kiva, the next spring and tried to make annual visits after that.

    I remember the first time we met Glenn, we had brought some friends down with us and they had a 5th wheel trailer and wanted electricity… Glenn was going from camp site to campsite, with a hair dryer, looking for outlets that worked… he was a resourceful man and we were saddened by the news of his death.

    The wife and I have just purchased a trailer of our own and our maiden voyage is going to be to Big Bend, some time after April 15th, the wife is a tax accountant and we have to wait for her to finish filing all the returns.

    I really hope you are open, it would be great to camp there again… our adult children still tell their friends about the fun we have had there.

    Hope to see you soon.

    -Brian & Laurie

    1. You will be more than welcome to camp at La Kiva. We are not yet open and the campground is being refurbished but if you don’t mind dry camping i.e. no restrooms. Facilities will be added but right now all we can provide is water from a standpipe.


      1. Hi John,

        Thank you, we would love to come and hang out, it has been at least 10 years since we sold our old pop-up and stopped camping.

        We are anxious to see the progress you have made and should be in the area on the 20th, after a couple of nights in the Seminole Canyon SP.

        Now that our kids are grown and we have a new camper, I expect our annual pilgrimages to begin anew.

        See you soon.


        1. Hi Brian,
          We may not be open but come in and see what we have done anyway. We are working on refurbishing the campground but that will take us a little time. If you are “dry” camping we can take you right now. We can provide water but that is about it.


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