Tag Archives: Alaska art

This Alaskan Summer Has Been Smoky, So Why Not Smoke Some Meat?

pork bbq

Pairs well with a sour beer!

Alaska has had a dry and hot summer, and that’s a recipe for wild forest fires, which have made the air smoky for most of the summer.  So we decided, we might as well start smoking meat!  I smoked salmon in my Big Chief electric smoker this year, which keeps the temperature colder than a Texas-style BBQ, making it more suitable for fish.  Although, I suggest barbecuing some pork — it is my current favorite!  What could pair better than an ice cold brewski with a pile of delicious BBQ?

A couple of years ago I was over at my friend’s house and he had just pulled a brisket off his Traeger smoker.  I was amazed at how delicious this otherwise nearly-impossible-to-cook piece of meat was, and he told me how he slowly smoked it for over 12 hours in the pellet smoker.  Since then, I have been obsessed with real BBQ.  I can tell you what it is not: steaks, sausages, burgers, salmon, chicken, or anything else that is cooked over high heat.  That would be grilling.  A hot grill is the antitheses to BBQ.  Now there is nothing wrong with grilling, it’s a good way to cook the meat fast and produces delicious outdoor cooked treats, but it ain’t BBQ.  Grilling happens at 400 – 600 degrees and sears the meat.  BBQ needs to be done slowly and at low heat.  It involves cooking less desirable cuts of meat for several hours, which then makes them highly desirable.

The word barbecue comes from the Caribbean native people Taino’s word Barbacoa and refers to the process of burying meat in a pit oven wrapped in agave leaves.  Texas-style BBQ is a bit more complicated, and needs a specific tool to achieve the desired effect.  Whether it be a computer-controlled Traeger smoker, or a stick smoker, you need a way to produce smoky heat that can be kept at an even 200 – 250 degrees for many hours.  Ribs and roasts are normally preferable, but you can BBQ a suckling pig or larger cuts of meat.  

I have a stick smoker in McCarthy where I prepare my BBQ.  It has a lower compartment for burning the fire, and a larger chamber above where the smoke filters through and exits through a smokestack chimney.  I use oak lump charcoal to keep my fire going and I use chunks of wood to produce the smoke.  I prefer mesquite for that real authentic Texas flavor.  It takes about an hour per pound of meat, so a 3lb boneless pork shoulder takes about 6 hours to BBQ.  The smoker is big enough to handle larger cuts of meat, so you can either make two at once, or smoke for a lot longer with bigger cuts of meat like that brisket I mentioned earlier.  Since you are cooking the meat at low temperatures for a long time, that breaks down all the proteins and makes what would be a tough grilled meat a tender smoked delicacy.  The meat looks blackened and it is the black part, referred to as the bark, that is really good.  Make sure you get to try a piece with some BBQ bark — it has the most smoky flavor that is sooo good.  I like to wait an hour after pulling the meat from the heat, and I use a meat thermometer to make sure it hits 180 degrees — the perfect time to pull the meat.  I like to have some fresh buns ready to make pork sandwiches.  You will probably need some BBQ sauce.  Don’t buy the BBQ sauce with liquid smoke in it.  You only need some sweet tangy sauce to add to your already smoked meat.  Oh, and don’t forget to pair your meat with your favorite beer!  The only beer I wouldn’t use to pair with perfect BBQ is a smoked beer.  There is already enough smoke in the meat!  I would go for a tasty fruity sour ale, or a killer hoppy IPA, but there ain’t nothing wrong with a Euro or American pale lager either.  

Cheers to BBQ!  Meat and beer are really, really tasty! 

pork bbq

A pork shoulder right off the heat — resting for one hour.

Hours of chill time!

First Firkin Friday Art Show at Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Twice a year I get to have art shows at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in Anchorage.  Once in January, and also in June.  There are a couple perks to showing my oil paintings at this venue.  First, I get to tap a firkin (a small keg) at 5pm of opening day to kick off the month-long show.  Usually the firkin is filled with one of MSBC’s delicious brews cask-conditioned with special ingredients.  For example, at my upcoming art opening this Friday, June 1st, the firkin will be Panty Peeler Belgian-style ale cask-conditioned with tequila-soaked oak spirals and lime!  That sounds festive and refreshing!  Another benefit of having an art show at a brewery is that every time I go there to check on the show, I order a beer, which is tax deductible!

I’ve been working on several new pieces for this show, including paintings of the Homer Harbor, a K2 plane flying by Broken Tooth Mountain, a tandem bicycle, and a 5ft x 4ft piece of birch trees that is for people who have big empty walls.  I’ll be posting pictures of these paintings each day for the rest of the week on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds.

Click here for details about the event, and please invite your friends!  I hope you can be there at 5pm on June 1st to watch me tap the firkin, but if not, we’ll be there until 8pm on Friday, and my art will be on display and available for sale until July 5th.

I hope that when I tap the firkin, this happens, because a beer shower is always fun, although I don’t want to waste too much beer.

Oil Paintings for People Who Have BIG Empty Walls

~ by Maria Benner

We are looking for people who have big empty walls.  If that’s you, or if you know someone who fits that description, let us know.  We can help them fill that space with large oil paintings by Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel.  Art for your office space is tax deductible!

Here are four large oil paintings currently available.  The edges are finished with oak, so they are already framed, and ready to hang.  Shipping cost will depend on location.

1. Susitna Pops. Oil on panel, 5ft x 2.5ft, 2016. Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.

Large oil painting for big empty wall Scott Clendaniel Susitna Poppies

2. Bluebird Day at Alyeska. Oil on panel, 5ft x 2.5ft, 2017.  Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.Alyeska Resort large oil painting Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel

3. Athena’s Owl. Oil on panel, 8ft x 4ft, 2015.  Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.Athena's Owl. 8ft 4ft. Oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

4. Birch on Birch. Oil on birch panel, 4ft x 5ft, 2018.  Contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.

large oil painting of a birch by scott clendaniel

June Recap

June was packed with backyard barbecues, hiking, fishing, and camping.   In between, we managed to do some work.

One of the highlights was the Great Northern Brewers Club annual camping trip near Seward. We made sure to visit Seward Brewing Company, and bought a crowler (an aluminum 32 oz to-go can) to sip on the beach. Then we decided to climb up Mt. Marathon, and estimated that we would finish the hike in about two hours, since the winner of the race can do it in about 43 minutes. Three and a half hours later (we paused at the summit to enjoy the scenery while sipping on beer), we got back to the parking lot, and when we arrived back at the campsite, the GNBC party was in full swing. So many great beers to taste, so little time, and only one liver!

The view from the top of Mt. Marathon in Seward.

The view from the top of Mt. Marathon in Seward.

Some of the beers we sampled at the GNBC camping trip.

Some of the beers we sampled at the GNBC camping trip.

Yesterday we returned from our annual dip-netting trip to Kasilof where we pulled 19 Sockeye Reds out of the water. Each year we get one chance to go, and catch all the fish for the winter. I’m keeping an eye on the fish smokers as I write this. We are very grateful for the salmon, and for the unique way we are allowed to harvest it here in Alaska. Hopefully it will be available for many years to come.

Smoking the salmon harvest.

Smoking the salmon harvest.

The art show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company was a success, thanks to the wonderful beeristas who help me sell art there, and to the beer-loving patrons who buy it. Tomorrow evening I’ll be taking down my paintings after 8 PM. If you have your eye on one in particular, be sure to make MSBC your lunch destination, and if you can’t make it, you can always stop by my studio. I’ll be hosting an open studio event for the First Friday Art Walk from 5:30 PM – 8 PM. 333 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 4 (inside the 4th Avenue Market Place).

Clendaniel art at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

Clendaniel art at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

The next big task is to buy roofing materials, to load everything on to a trailer, and to make the long drive back to McCarthy on July 7th where we will spend a couple weeks building the roof. Finally those logs will get covered from the elements!

Cheers to June! Bring it on, July!