Posted: Nov 27, 2007 9:53am ET
I have skipped a Thanksgiving smoke in recent years. There always seemed to be something conspiring against it. Sometimes, it was my post-Big Smoke malaise…I had just had enough smoking for awhile. Or I was at a house where smoking wasn’t welcomed.
Not this year. I was home. It was actually warm outside, so I didn’t even have to negotiate the use of the TV room (with the cigar fan exhaust) away from my daughter and nephews. And, my brother-in-law was keen to join me. He chose a Cohiba out of the humidor, and I reached for a Coronado by La Flor Double Corona, the number two cigar of the year. It came out of a box of 50 that I hope to age for years to come but I wanted to see how it had evolved in its first year out the factory.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I may have had the best turkey that I’ve ever had. We bought it from a local farm, Stone Barn Farms. It was a heritage breed, and was a free-range bird. Fortunately, I followed the cooking instructions, because normally for an 18-pound bird I would have been thinking, three, even four hours of cooking. After two hours, and another round of basting, it looked done…sure enough, the meat thermometer said it was done, so we pulled it out, covered it and set about getting the rest of the meal finished off. Instead of the usual delay of sitting down at the appointed hour, we were at the table at 3 o’clock, as promised. The bird was perfect, and I guess my mashed potatoes were good too…no leftovers.
After a round of pecan pie and an apple crisp fresh out of the oven, I was waddling around thinking about loosening the belt. It was nearly six o’clock. I went down to the basement and brought up the bottle of 1980 Graham’s Vintage Port that I had stood up the day before in anticipation of just this moment. I pulled out two glasses, picked out the cigars, and my brother in law and I retired to a small covered breezeway. He’s a great guy. A philosophy professor, and a bon vivant, he is one of the best cooks I know and we have shared many, many meals together, taking turns being the sous-chef for one another.
We sat there puffing away, sipping on the Port, and talking about everything from the weather (a front moved through while we were sitting there) to my daughter’s first semester at college, to the cigars. He got to point where the Cohiba was almost burning his knuckles. My Coronado was simply one of the best cigars that I have smoked in a long time. What a great smoke. It’s got all the characteristics of a full-bodied but balanced Cuban, and it is perfectly constructed.
There’s a lot to be thankful for. Hope you all had a special Thanksgiving too. What did you smoke?
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