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mstewart39

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  • Location:
    York, pA
  • Grill
    Kamado Joe

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  1. mstewart39

    Chewy steak

    My girlfriend used to like medium-well-ish steak. (I like rare.) Now that she's had my kamado reverse sear steak she's eating medium-rare steak. So that's a step! She won't order steak in a restaurant anymore. Here's my extremely easy method: 1. Buy pretty good steak. Her favorite is filet. I really like it too, so that's what I typically get. 2. Make sure it's thick. 1" is the thinnest steak I'd even consider. I prefer 1 1/2" - 2" especially for filet. 3. At least 2 hours before you want to start to cook it, sprinkle salt on both sides of the steak, put them in the fridge covered. 4. Start the smoker and try for 225 degrees. (But don't worry if it's anywhere close.) I like adding a chunk of mesquite. It's a strong smoke but you only have it smoking for about 30-40 minutes. 5. Take the steaks out and pat them dry with a paper towel. The salt draws a LOT of moisture to the surface. 6. Cook the steaks with a probe to get them within 10 degrees of your goal temp. I take mine off around 117. But you can take yours off at 120 and leave other steaks on longer. 7. Remove the steak, cover and set aside. Open the vents fully and let the grill get at LEAST 500 degrees. I like even hotter. 8. Sear the steaks for 1 minute per side. I typically turn them at 30 seconds so I get the cross-hatch pattern. That's it. No other seasoning. Just the salt as the dry-brine. A little bit of smoke and the actual beef itself is all that you need. The salt really brings out those flavors.
  2. mstewart39

    New Flame Boss 300

    OK, now that makes perfect sense. Thanks! (I feel silly that I didn't think of that...)
  3. mstewart39

    New Flame Boss 300

    I'm confused by your graph. I have the Big Joe (and love it.) I see a few times when your pit temp appears to be around 220, and within 15 minutes it's around 160-170. Mine physically can't do that. Unless I put a block of ice in there, nothing will cause the temperature to drop that quickly. Does the air blowing initially reduce, and then increase the temps? I'd love to see a similar graph without the controller. I'm on the fence with a controller. The geek in me wants one, but I'm not sure the Big Joe needs it. When I used the Akorn all the time I would have loved one, but I'm not sure I'd need it on the BJ.
  4. 3 Racks fit easily. I feel that you may be able to figure out a way to make 4 fit but it would be tight. I would use my second level if I needed 4. (I got the Grilla Grills Kong Upper Grate and it works well. https://store.grillagrills.com/collections/kong/products/upper-grate-1) You'll probably want to get a rib rack or second level rack.
  5. mstewart39

    Do any/all KJ Classic owners wish theyd gotten the BJ?

    I think there will be times when you want more space. I sure did on my Akorn, But before you buy a second kamado (...I say that even though I have the akorn and the Big Joe) you may want to try the expander. https://www.amazon.com/Kamado-Joe-KJ-SCS-Stainless-Expander/dp/B003EV6MIG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1523538689&sr=8-4&keywords=kamado+joe+expander I even have a second rack for my Big Joe and I use it probably 20% of the time. That won't help with a large brisket, but it will allow you to do a lot of ribs, and it will also work nicely for putting a drip pan under a pork butt.
  6. Let the kamado heat up naturally. You'll have white billowing smoke while it's heating up. You don't want to cook with that. A pretty strange test I do is I basically shove my face in the smoke. If it burns my nose and makes my eyes water, it's not right yet. If I can smell the sweet hickory / apple smoke, it's ready. If you want 250 and it settles in nicely at 24 or 260, I usually just leave it alone. I hate trying to chase a specific temperature. I am more going for a "close" temp and I modify the time accordingly. And I pretty much always start with a relatively full load of charcoal. It's easy to re-use if you have any that doesn't fully burn. Just close up all of the vents and it will go out. I would tend to over-cook ribs in the beginning. Don't do that. The bend test is great. It's nice to make sure your ribs still have a little bite to them. I typically do the rub for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours and then spray with Apple Cider Vinegar and bourbon a few times for an hour or so. Then I spread honey on the ribs for the last hour or so just to let them get sweet and a little sticky. Good luck. You'll love the Big Joe!!!
  7. mstewart39

    OKJ Bandera Smoker

    I use a temp probe to get me close, and then try to make sure it's probe tender. That's what I'm not good at. But this weekend my temp probe inside was reading right around the 195 range, but I must have been somehow reading wrong. Because I went out to check for probe tenderness and I was reading 208, 212, depending on where I was. The brisket was dry. It tasted wonderful. We made nachos with it last night for dinner and they were great. But it needed sauce the first night. I feel that I need to try next time with no probes at all. I'll just go by look and feel. I was spraying to add a little flavor, and this thing looked BEAUTIFUL about an hour or so before I took it off. I wish I would have started with the probe test at that point. Because by the time I took it off, it was pretty much a shriveled mess. I let it rest for about 3 hours wrapped in foil, and when I opened it up the foil was still completely dry. THAT'S a bad sign... I'm working on it. I usually know what I do wrong. I just need practice.
  8. mstewart39

    OKJ Bandera Smoker

    I've never cooked a flat, only ever full packers. I could fit about a 12+ lb brisket in the bandera diagonally. I was trying the "hot and fast" brisket, but it certainly wasn't my best. I need to practice. I've found even with my kamado that brisket is my downfall. (I cooked a pretty bad one this weekend!) I struggle with knowing when to pull it off. And yes, the Big Joe is sort of cheating. Yesterday I did a 9 pound (after trimming) brisket on the Big Joe and once it settled in around 260, I never had to touch anything ever again. (Although I wish I would have pulled it off about a half hour before I did...)
  9. mstewart39

    Double Smoked Ham

    Thank you, yet again, for a great idea. I changed just 2 things. I used the orange marmalade and bourbon (my favorite) for the glaze, and I just cooked mine on the grate with a drip pan and without covering it. This was probably the best ham I've ever had. The smoke really does come through, especially on the edges. And the orange / brown sugar / bourbon mixture was awesome. This is the way I will cook ham from now on. Thanks a lot!!
  10. mstewart39

    New Flame Boss 300

    I'm not sure if this is the correct place, but what's the difference between the 200 and 300? Is the ONLY difference the ability to buy adapters and add meat probes? Can the 200 also work with Alexa, and connect to Wifi, and do all of those other cool things?
  11. mstewart39

    OKJ Bandera Smoker

    Just reading this makes me realize that I'm not very good on the Bandera yet. How did you use way too much wood? What did you learn that improved that? I usually get a chimney full started, throw on 1 or 2 splits, let them go for a while to get the temperature where I want it, try to move the vent a little if needed (top vent full open, side vent as open as possible) and then while I'm cooking I add another split every 30-45 minutes when I see the temperature start to fall. My problem is that when I add a 14" split, sometimes I get flames shooting under my water pan. So I will try to pull them back, or cut the splits in half. On the longer smokes, I typically overshoot my temperature at least once by 50 degrees or so, and sometimes if I'm slow on the splits I'll get it to drop and it's hard to pull it back up. I'm probably making it sound tougher than it is. I love it, and I've loved every single cook from my Bandera except for my first Brisket. (It was dry & tough to eat.) But it's certainly more work than my Big Joe!!!
  12. mstewart39

    OKJ Bandera Smoker

    I still love it. I will admit that I didn't use it much in the winter. I have it covered in the garage. (I have a 2 1/2 car garage. The 1/2 is my motorcycle and Bandera and smoker stuff. The Kamado & other grills stay out on the patio.) I absolutely love the smoke profile as well. That's what surprised me the most. I was used to the taste from the kamado and the stick burner was just a little more fine smoke flavor. Almost less smoke, but a more flavorful smoke. I bought expanded metal to make a charcoal basket. I have only ever used a chimney full of charcoal to start it, and then splits. I bought a 1/8 cord of hickory first, but now I need more. I've found a few places locally who will sell oak, but there isn't much hickory around. But I wanted to test it with mostly charcoal so I could see if I could get stable temperatures. But I'm a little afraid it will change the smoke profile more than I want it to. That's been the issue for me so far. I'll feel confident for a few hours, and then all of a sudden the temp will get away from me. I've read a lot of people refurbishing the Banderas. How bad is yours? If you're close to me, your @CentralTexBBQ name is a bit misleading...where are you from? I'm in York, PA.
  13. mstewart39

    Inkbird Temp Probe

    Update: I don't like it anymore. I changed the batteries to BRAND NEW batteries last week, and it simply won't work anymore. I get wild temperatures. Some were reading 45 degrees in my house, others were reading 200+ degrees. It's nice when it works, but it's insanely fickle with what batteries you use.
  14. What he said. I got mine so hot it melted the gasket up top, and completely burned the seasoning off the grates. It will get hot if you give it enough charcoal. That was always my issue if the temperature was too low
  15. I bought this Inkbird 6-probe temp probe I saw on another smoker site. I buy probes a lot, and they all eventually die. So I decided I wanted to try a cheaper probe since they all have problems eventually anyway. https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Digital-Wireless-Bluetooth-Thermometer/dp/B071H6MLH9/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1512850514&sr=8-17&keywords=inkbird%2Btemperature%2Bprobe&th=1 At first I had some issues with it, but now I’m going to have to give it some kudos. So the first one I got had issues where a couple of the probes would read hundreds of degrees off. They said the issue is that you need to use alkaline batteries. I was, but I still had the issue. The sent me a replacement, and it is great when I use new batteries, but gets really strange when the batteries get low. Like I’ll have 5 probes in the air reading 67 degrees, and the one probe will read 232 degrees. As long as I have new batteries they’re all within 1-2 degrees. If you can get past that, it’s great. It uses a pretty generic BBQ Go app which you can customize so I like it. But what made me really decide to write a review is that I decided to use my iGrill2 at the same time as this Inkbird for today’s brisket cook. The smoker was in the driveway. When I am sitting in my kitchen the Inkbird stays connected 100% of the time. Literally 0 disconnections. The iGrill2 would only stay connected when I was closer to the smoker, or outside and had a line of site. It would disconnect every time I came back inside the house. They both had relatively similar temperatures, so I was fine with that. But the fact that the cheap Inkbird with 6 probes stayed connected the entire time made me really like it. So if you’re willing to make sure you have strong batteries, I’d recommend giving it a shot.
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