Every Sunday, cardboard signs with hand-lettered arrows and SMOKE MEAT on them appear around our neighborhood. I find these signs both interesting and confusing.
As a writer, I’m especially irritated by the missing “D,” and in general I’m just very curious. The signs raised more questions than they answered, such as:
What kind of meat is it?
Is it for sale, or is this just a statement?
Where is the “D” in Smoked Meat?
Finally one day I said, “I gotta know more about Smoke Meat. Follow the signs!”
Our quest (following the arrows) ended at a little cinderblock house.
The hubby pulled up in the driveway and said, “Have fun with this.” I could not get him to come as backup. Somewhat trepidatious, I went to the door, smelling—you guessed it—the distinctive smell of meat smoking.
A very large Hawaiian man who really should have been wearing a shirt answered the door and ushered me (protesting) into the kitchen, where virtually every surface was covered with bowls of soaking Smoke Meat, vats of bubbling Smoke Meat, or cutting boards laden with soon to be Smoke Meat.
“Smells great,” I said, and he insisted on cutting me a sample and cooking it on the stove. This handily led to my most burning question:
“What kind of meat is it?”
“Any kine, but today stay pokebut.”
“Pork butt,” he enunciated carefully. A button-eyed toddler peeked out from behind his legs, a surly teenager worked the cleaver and the frazzled looking daughter (mother of toddler) stirred the vat while Grandpa fried my sample.
“So do you hunt for the pork, or raise it yourself?” Pig hunting is serious sport here in Hawaii (see previous blog entry, the State Animal of Hawaii is…Pig)
“Get da kine at Costco. Good quality pokebut.”
I ate my sample off a bamboo skewer, burning my lips, and it was indeed delicious. When I told him so he became expansive and took me on a tour of the cooking/smoking operation. The cooking was done on a series of gas grills in the back yard, turned down low and belching kiawe wood smoke.
I bought a Ziploc baggie of Smoke Meat for the exorbitant price of $10.00, feeling as naughty as if I was buying a dime bag of weed on the corner or something.
“Come by any time, even when we no get the sign out,” he said. “My name Squeeky.”
“Squeeky?” I repeated, thinking this must be one of those Pidgin English ‘lost in translation’ moments.
“Squeeky,” he confirmed. I narrowly avoided a hug as he headed in my direction. I would have been okay with it if he’d had a shirt on, but as it was I reeked when I got back in the car with the hubby.
“You smell like Smoke Meat,” he said. “Delicious!”
It must be a man thing.
Turns out that baggie of Smoke Meat went a long way. Just a little in an omelet, or with some beans, or on a cracker is super flavorful. So if you’re ever in upcountry Maui, go see Squeeky for some awesome Smoke Meat.
I never did find out about that missing “D” and have decided it’s not really necessary.
Oh, I reckon the arrows were a bit of a give away *wink*. And hey, who needs a D?
Great story, Toby, thanks for sharing a bit of your world.
Too funny, my friend the social-worker-hearted writer.
Thank you for going beyond your own insights to write them down, and lend us all your wit and warmth.
I have always, always wondered! Now I know….I think
Ha ha, go see Squeeky next time the signs are out!
Gosh I want some smoke meat. I’ve never had any before… seems like a great hole in my life.
Sounds delicious, not sure about the hug without the shirt myself though to be honest. Good post.
Oh I’d like me some some poke butt! 🙂
Fun post to read. I am glad you courageously tried it out 🙂
What a great story! We honeymooned in a tree house resort in Oregon–The Treesort. The town itself wasn’t much to speak of, but they had a little farmers market along the main street. While my husband was poking around one of the booths I looked over to see a “Buffalo Jerky” stand. The lady behind the table offered me a free sample. I politely declined on grounds of vegetarianism. She said, “But it’s buffalo!” Oh, I forgot, buffalo ain’t meat. 🙂
Ah, Pipi Kaula, love it. Great post Toby.