Hot Stuff

A Man and His Smokehouse

I love this photo. The monochromatic colors of the landscape, the leafless aspens, the shadow of the mountains, the improvised work table, and of course, the rustic smokehouse. I can only imagine the delicacies that will emerge from the billowing wood smoke.

Built by my food-obsessed friend Vladi Ulrych near his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, it is similar to the one I erected a few years ago while developing recipes for my book Project Smoke.

I met Vladi over a decade ago when we debuted Barbecue University at the 5-star Broadmoor resort. (Space is still available for the 2019 sessions.) He was—and still is—a supremely capable head steward who always ensures attendees’ needs are met during their time at our outdoor classroom near Cheyenne Mountain. I quickly learned how food-obsessed this native Czech was when he brought specialties inspired by the old country to class. Home-cured sausages, and toothsome breads, including lángos, a chewy yeast-based flatbread that can go in a sweet or savory direction. Though traditionally fried in oil, Vladi graciously demonstrated how to grill lángos and shared the recipe with me and the class. (Later, I learned láng actually means “flame” in Hungarian.)

Pictured is his inaugural smoke in the new smokehouse, which he celebrated with a glass of currant wine—homemade, naturally, by this practitioner of “Old World” ways. Fall was likely a busy time for Vladi’s Eastern European ancestors as animals were slaughtered in the fall once cold weather set in, then preserved with salting and smoking; the meat had to last through summer. In the coming weeks, Vladi says, he will be smoking sausages and bacon.

I wish I could join him for a convivial day of smoking, maybe fortified by a glass of that wine.

LEARN HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SMOKEHOUSE with step by step instructions here.

Join the Discussion

Shun - Handcrafted in Japan