Amid all the other tasks of working in a restaurant, Gilbert Romero checks the smoker every 40 minutes to make sure the temperature is right, and maybe throw another white oak log on the fire.

As the meat slowly cooks on a summer afternoon, there's no haze in the air. Romero looks for a “clean” smoke coming out of the pipe — cloudy smoke results in an overpowering flavor.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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