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7-06-2020 5:20 pm
David: Masterclass
I've been eyeing a Masterclass membership for quite some time. I probably heard an ad for it on a podcast at some point, but when it really started to pique my interest was when I heard that Steve Martin was "teaching" comedy.

My initial thought was comedy can't really be "taught", but it would be interesting to see how Martin approached the class. If anything, it would offer insight into what he thinks of his process, and that alone would be valuable as entertainment.

Alas, when I looked into it further, the sticker shock pushed me away. Taken as entertainment, I didn't see the value in whatever the cost was at that time.

About a year ago Neil Gaiman started talking about his Masterclass series on writing. This seemed to be more practical than learning from Martin, but still more entertaining than utilitarian. Still, it forced me to reconsider whether there was value in a subscription. I looked, did whatever internal calculus was prevailing for me at the time, and decided that it still was a no go.

Last week, however, they got me.

I've gotten way into barbecue over the past couple of years. My ribs have gotten infinitely better. My pork shoulder pretty solid, and my brisket finally good enough that I'd share it with others (and even cook a few on request as gifts). Still, I felt like I was only 50% of the way there. The flavors were getting really solid, but I wasn't nailing my textures. I'd get close on one cook, adjust for what I thought was off next time around, and then give it another run only to find that it was further off the mark.

Enter Aaron Franklin's Masterclass on Texas style barbecue.

Finally the value proposition for Masterclass was there.

I cooked a couple pork butts over the weekend with what I picked up, and they were honestly better than anything I'd done before. It was all about timing, spritzing, wrapping longer, and not being a slave to the meat temp.

If you can find 3 or 4 "instructors" on there that you are interested in learning from, I'd say it's worth it. I would have paid the full price just for the stuff I got from the Aaron Franklin stuff, but Martin and Gaiman are pretty solid watches as well (I'm working through both concurrently), and there's a ton of other ones that I'm planning to follow them up with.

Plus, as someone who just likes to learn new things, it's pretty awesome to have well produced instructional videos on tap.

Brandon - (<-- The Electric Sunshine Man, yo) - Administrator
Ok, now I'm just hungry. I really need to invest in a good smoker.

Any recommendations?
David - ()
If you're completely new I'd recommend trying to set up the charcoal grill you (maybe) already have for indirect cooking. Tons of YouTube videos on this that will lead you in the right direction.

If you want to reach "pit master" status, you'll need to learn your way around an offset smoker with a live fire box and room for a few choice cuts. I'm not there yet.

The best compromise, though, is a nice Traeger wood pellet cooker. Even the small ones can handle a full brisket, and they take the fire management out of the equation. Your taste buds probably won't tell the difference. I've got the Lonestar model, and have done everything on it.
Brandon - (<-- The Electric Sunshine Man, yo) - Administrator
I've got some friends who have Traeger's, and they seem to like it. Although my dad swears by his his Kamodo Bit Green Egg.

I am a big fan of tasty meat. I really should cook more of it.
David - ()
The eggs are pretty popular, and I've almost impulse bought one on several occasions. I want my next smoker to be offset, though, and I've got a custom build in mind.

A coworker of mine swore by a metal version of an egg style cooker. Cost less than the ceramic and, according to him anyway, cooked just as well.
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