Kenyon Side Projects: Brandon January ’15

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So, as it turns out, Kenyon students are pretty weird. The Thrill has decided to showcase the endearing oddities of our student body with a new features entitled “Kenyon Side Projects”. In this new feature, we will spotlight a Kenyon student with a side project that we find particularly intriguing. Up this week is Brandon January ’15, a senior Econ major from Dallas who smokes his own meats. Brandon and I met up one chilly day this week to discuss his smoking habits (pun intended…). 

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So Brandon, it’s nice to meat (this will never get old) you. Tell us about your Kenyon Side Project. You smoke your own meat? 

I have a pretty big smoker here on campus that I brought from home and I smoke my meat outside my Morgan.

Wow. That is pretty amazing. What kinds of meats do you smoke?

Well, my favorite type of meat to smoke is brisket, but I can also do chicken, salmon, and sausage.

That is a diverse selection of meat/fish. Will you walk us through the smoking process?

Sure. So, it is a fairly long process. You have to constantly watch over the process, temperature wise and make sure its never too hot. The whole thing takes a couple of days. You have to brine the meat in ice cold water for about a day and then season it with the dry rub. You have to wear gloves for this part. Then you can put the meat in the fridge for another day. The next day is when the actual smoking can begin. You get the smoker outside and start the fire going. It is good to start this process in the morning so that it’s done by dinner time. Before you make the fire you need to soak the wood chips. The type of wood chip you use affects the flavor. You can use hickory, mesquite, or even cherry wood. So once the fire is going you can put the meat on the smoker for a few hours. To keep the meat moist, you put a metal cup/can full of water in the smoker. Then you take the meat off the smoker, wrap it in foil, and then put it back on the grill until it’s done.

Oh my! That is quite an involved process. Very impressive. How did you get into smoking meat?

This past summer I was in the South and I drove past a BBQ place and just got inspired. I saved up some money and bought a huge smoker. It was really pretty random.

How often do you use the smoker?

I’ve probably smoked like 8 briskets this semester. Mostly for friends, the Betas, and for the football team.

Where do you get the meat from? 

I try to get all the ingredients from Lannings. It’s good to stay local. I try to avoid Walmart.

Do you have any meat secrets?

Well, I make my own dry rub. I use black coffee beans. The recipe I use was passed down by my friend’s dad who owns a steak house.

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