Jason Dyke is a busy man.
As co-owner of Deike Implement in Waverly, he’s in charge of sales, a position that’s usually quite busy.
Then the pandemic threw more challenges at him, from the end of both supply and demand. As parts and accessories were limited, customers wanted more small tractors and utility vehicles.
Mismatches can be stressful.
But Dyck has found a way to reduce the pressure in his life.
“I love to cook,” he told Waverly Newspapers. “I’ve learned in the last three or four years that cooking is a great stress reliever.”
Most of the cooking takes place in the smoker. Dyck estimates that he started using cigarettes about 15 years ago.
“I’m tired of grilling,” he said. “I went looking for a hobby, and everybody likes to eat, right? I picked up a smoker one day, and that’s how I started.
He now has two smokers—a trager and an egg—each about the size of a grill, in his front yard.
“Traeger uses wood pellets, and Egg uses lump charcoal and wood,” he said. “They have different tastes, and they have their different techniques that you have to experiment with.”
“Traeger is easy,” he added. “Traeger simplifies smoking. I wouldn’t call it a true smoker. You still get the smoked flavor, but it’s not a real thick, hearty smoke flavor. If I’m smoking a dark cut, or a meat, I’ll do it in an egg, because It’s got a more pungent smoky flavor.”
Dyck’s smoking repertoire extends beyond the typical pork, beef, chicken or turkey.
He said the Traeger maintains a constant temperature and can be used like an oven, which really expands its options.
“Everything that goes in the oven can go in the tray,” he said. “So, like a tater tot casserole? Put it on the Traeger. It’s awesome.”
But Deike doesn’t stop with delicious dishes.
“You can smoke anything,” he observed. “I drink a lot of sweets. They are delicious, with a slightly smoky flavor.”
For example, he likes to bake cookies in a smokehouse.
“Smoked Snickerdoodles are amazing. Smoked Snickerdoodles have the perfect blend of sugar and cinnamon, and then there’s this little smoky aftertaste, which is divine,” he said.
“My specialty is probably my triple-chocolate brownie,” he notes. “Guys’ girlfriends, when they come over, that’s what they ask for.”
His other favorite dishes are listed.
“The smoked house bread is to die for. The smoked chili is delicious.” He also likes smoked chicken noodle soup, smoked lasagna and smoked deviled eggs.
Almost anything that can be cooked can be smoked successfully, Dyck said, with a few exceptions.
“Angel food cake. Don’t,” he warned. “It tastes horrible.”
He has some tips for people who want to try smoking.
First, he recommends pork as a good starting meat.
“You can’t go wrong with smoked pork,” he said. “Pork is the easiest thing to cook, the easiest.”
“Be patient with meat,” he also advised. “Low and slow is always better. I rarely get above 225 (degrees) when I’m roasting meat.”
Next, “the best thing you can do is get a digital thermometer with four probes,” he continued, “and keep an eye on the temperature of the meat.”
Once it reaches the target temperature, Dyck wraps the meat in aluminum foil and lets it sit in the cooler for three hours, which helps the meat become juicy.
For baking, “the most important thing is that you grease the pan.” He laughed. “If it says not to grease the pan, grease the pan!”
And not just any Greece, in his view.
“When you’re cooking outside, you have to use the original Crisco,” he added with a laugh. “You can’t use Pam, no! You have to use Crisco.”
Dyck has used his smoking skills to cook not only for his family but for large groups of people.
“I’ve cooked for 50s parties many times,” he said. “I’ve done five, six pork butts at a time. I’ve done two briskets at a time. You can feed a lot of people two briskets.”
He thought about the other groups he had smoked for.
“One of my favorite times is, I pulled a pig mask for a friend’s bachelor party. And then I made smoked corn bread and smoked corn casserole, and then I made smoked brownies, and there was nothing left,” she clearly cheered.
Dyck says he smokes food year-round for his family.
He said, ‘We don’t even use the kitchen stove. “It’s been an amazing stress reliever.”