Ann’s Dad likes stuff. Not just any stuff, he has standards. But if something is of a clever design, and looks like it might be useful in a specific situation and it’s a bargain, it’s likely to go home with him. He visits many garage sales and flea markets, and has paid bottom dollar for some gems. To give you some idea of the depth of his coffers, I believe if you added up the number of waffle irons, coffee makers (primarily stovetop) and outdoor cooking devices he has, the number would be well north of 50.
Much of this stuff goes along with Ann’s parents when they camp. How much? They take all of the seats except the driver’s and front passenger out of their Honda Odyssey van for maximum hauling capacity, and they fill it up. That’s an impressive amount of gear for two people, especially considering that they are pulling a 14-ft. pop-camper behind that van, which is also very well provisioned.
A couple days ago they sent us a text from their Colorado camping trip to say that they were tobogganing after a recent snow. Ann said, “That’s great, that a couple in their mid-60s are getting out there and tobogganing.” I was just astounded that they had included a toboggan on their pack list for a Colorado fishing trip in late May.
Personally, I like to travel a bit lighter. But Ann’s Dad is an invaluable resource when you’re in need of borrowing something. Which brings me to the Abu Roken, aka the Swedish smoker. This nifty little device that Ann’s Dad loaned us on our last visit has clearly never been used. The brochure with it said the whole kit cost $12.95, but I’m guessing those prices may be pre-WW II, and I doubt today you’ll still find Impecco Ltd. on 257 Park Ave., NY NY importing smokers from Sweden.
The box come with a pan, a rack, a handle, a lid, a can (for burning alcohol or sterno), several wicks, a brochure in Swedish, English and German, and a pound of span for Aburoken, aka magic powder, aka sawdust imported from Sweden. The powder is enough to use the smoker 50 times.
The instructions advise just putting to smoker on top of the stove (gas or electric) or barbeque grill. The auxiliary fuel device is just for using it in the wild.
I put the powder (measured in the sterno-burner lid) in the pan, two trout on the tiny little grill, and gave it a whirl. In 10 minutes they looked like they were smoked, right on schedule. The only way it could have been easier would have been if my microwave had a button on it that said, “Smoke Fish.”
So the smoke trout now await the recipe. As easy and simple as the process was, I’m really hoping the result is good as well.