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All We Can Eat
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 01/03/2012

Smoke Signals: Meaty resolutions

Shahin plans to move beyond brisket this year and give pastrami a try. (James M. Thresher)
The other day I overheard a woman tell a friend that she thought of New Year’s resolutions as guidelines, not goals. “Wrong,” I wanted to exclaim. “The root of the word is resolve. As in, ‘Will do everything I can to achieve a task.’”

But maybe she has a point. We so often break our resolutions, maybe we’d be better off thinking of them as suggestions. We wouldn’t feel the pressure that comes with saying we will do a thing, then (nearly always) not.

But I will tempt fate again this year and make a resolution in the old fashioned sense. If only it was something noble, like resolving to help bring world peace, or even just something personally beneficial, like that old chestnut, losing weight, which this belt-buster could stand to do.

It’s not, but at least it’s achievable: learn to make pastrami. I love the brined, seasoned and smoked beef brisket. It’s time to figure out how to make my own.

Kinda pedestrian, I know. My lame resolution got me wondering what other barbecue-crazed folks were resolving for the coming year. I asked a few of the top movers and shakers.

I will present their answers this week and next. Here’s the first batch:

Myron Mixon wants to smoke like dad. (Alex Martinez)
Myron Mixon, champion barbecue competitor, TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters” judge and author of “Smokin’ with Myron Mixon.” “My New Year’s BBQ resolution is to focus on my roots, the way I learned to cook from my father, Jack. He didn’t fuss over the marinades, injections and glazes that we do today. Most of the time he just smoked meat and seasoned it with some rub and vinegar. Showing people that great barbecue can be quick and easy is what I want to focus on in 2012.”

Heath Hall, president of the sauce and spice rub company Pork Barrel BBQ, co-owner of Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant in Alexandria and co-founder of Pork Barrel BBQ competition team. “Pork Barrel BBQ’s 2012 resolution is to repeat as grand champion of the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle and return to the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue contest.”

Craig Goldwyn wants to add smoke to griddled foods. (Craig Goldwyn)
Craig ”Meathead” Goldwyn, runs the popular site and writes for the Huffington Post food section. “In 2012, I want to play with adding smoke to griddled foods using different surfaces: cast iron, stainless, marble, even a salt block. I’ll try to perfect such standards as eggs and hash browns, but I also want to develop recipes for shrimp, scallops, stir fry, veggies, sandwiches, even bananas. 2012 presents exciting new horizons at the end of my spatula.”

Amy Mills, 17th Street BBQ heiress, owner of OnCue Consulting and co-author of “Peace, Love, and Barbecue.” “For my resolution, I chose three overarching words: create, prosperity and generosity. Create a new book and new ideas. Prosperity, in finances and relationships, for ourselves and our employees. Generosity in lifting up others which is a cornerstone of who we are and what we do.”

Elizabeth Karmel is thinking of duck. (Jamie Tiampo)
Elizabeth Karmel, executive chef of Hill Country and author of “Taming the Flame.” “I want to work on smoked duck barbecue. When I first started grilling, duck was one of my absolute favorite things to grill. I have never really experimented with smoking it. I want to experiment with smoking the duck and crisping the skin. Thanks for asking, because now I have to do it.”

If you have barbecue resolutions, include them in the comments section below or send them to me at

Send your tips, suggestions and opinions to and follow me on Twitter @jimshahin.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 01/03/2012

Categories:  Chefs, Smoke Signals | Tags:  Jim Shahin

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