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    Newport Beach, CA
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    Grilling... Coding, Technology, Music, Travel, Airstream, Dogs
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daveythesaint's Achievements

  1. Ah! Thank you so much for mentioning that about the sugar. You are so right. That would have been a real possibility and then I'd be apologizing to everyone for the burned candy flavor all over the breasts. I'm going to stick with a rub, and hope it in turn does the same
  2. Yes! Definitely a good learning experience. I'm considering trying a rub or honey glaze on a couple of them on thanksgiving. Any thoughts or tips in that department?
  3. Alright, I'm back after my first low-and-slow cook today to report on how it went. Firstly, thanks for the advice, guys. It got me through a couple of dark moments on this cook. First, let's introduce the star of this cook, a 3 lb butterball boneless turkey breast. I considered bone-in, but opted for the boneless as every bit of space counts in my little akorn jr... and to be honest, it's all I could find. After thawing the turkey breast out in the fridge, I brined it overnight in a mixture of salt, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, half an apple, half an onion, 5 or so cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh sage. In the morning, I got my akorn jr going by filling the fuel chamber to the tabs with royal oak hardwood lump, then lit a fire starter in the middle, and off we went toward my first dark moment of the cook... I left the lid open and let the starter get burning just a bit (WAY) too hot. Upon closing the lid, I got a LOT of smoke. I became self-conscious. Very self-conscious. I felt like I was smoking my neighbors in condos around me out (because I was). I felt like even though I knew it wasn't dangerous and just annoying, people would think I was being reckless. I didn't know if this amount of smoke was normal since it was my first low-and-slow cook, and I had never been around anyone else doing it. But something about the amount of smoke coming out of the vent and smoke even streaming out from the seal around the lip of the lid didn't seem right. Ha! But I didn't know what to do, so I just shut both vents and paced in my house nervously for a bit. I thought about quitting. Not just this venture, but smoking low-and-slow altogether. I had accepted that this is just how much smoke a low-and-slow smoking venture created, and even though it's been a new-found love that I've spent hours reading about and preparing for with my high-and-fast grilling on the Akorn Jr, adjusting the knobs, practicing with my smoking stone as a heat displacer, it had become clear to me the proximity of my patio to other units around simply meant my smoking days were over. I'd have to go camping to use my smoker I decided. BUT NO!!!! That burning, or should I say, smoking voice inside of me smoldered on. You've got it wrong! There's no way that much smoke is right. So I went back and checked the advice I had received on kamadoguru.com and a couple of things became clear. A) I was letting way too much air in from my bottom intake vent (open a couple of inches), which was sure to be the cause of smoke having nowhere to go but out every possible crack. And b) I was being a chicken. So I took a deep breath, opened my bottom vent just BARELY, then, as I had already been instructed to do by tips in previous posts, I opened my top vent just barely and already the amount of smoke was better. It was enough to see the white, but so little that dissipated almost immediately, and I was able to keep my patio door open. After adding my smoking stone and grill in, I added the turkey on a pan, closed the lid and paced nervously for 30 minutes while the temperature hung around 125, 150... I had stifled it too much! Dark moment number 2... But I decided, give it a tiny bit of air to come up and be patient. After 30 minutes I had it staying comfortably around 250-275, so I set a 2.5 hour timer and took it easy. After an hour and a half I checked the internal temperature of the middle of the breast, and was surprised to find it creeping up to 180. For a minute the smoker temperature had creeped up to the 300 range before I brought it down a tiny bit, so I'm guessing that is the reason it cooked faster than I expected. I took the turkey breast out and left it to rest for 30 minutes wrapped in aluminum, before cutting it. Even with being slightly overcooked and having a *tiny* bit of that stickiness between my teeth when I clenched down on it, it is juicy and divine! Definitely the best thing I've ever cooked. The brine really did its job, as it is definitely flavorful and just the right amount of salty. I'm really excited to do 4 of these guys (2 at a time) for thanksgiving this year, and very glad I did a test run. I'll practice a couple of low-and-slow salmon cooks before then to expedite the temperature lock-in, but will definitely shoot more for the 1.5 - 2 hr time to check for removing them so that I can get them out just before 165. One thing is for certain, I'm never buying turkey sandwich meat again. This is way cheaper and better than even the most expensive stuff I get at the deli. Big fan!
  4. Excellent advice, Frank. Thanks for that! I wasn't able to reply immediately because I was having trouble accessing my account, but your tips have already served me well on a couple of cooks. Cheers! Davey
  5. Thanks for the warm welcome guys! Sorry for the delay -- my password resets were apparently going to my spam! Also, very happy to read about the tips regarding forgoing the chimney starter unless going for a hot and fast cook. I was wondering how I would possibly manage getting to low and slow with how raging my coals have been getting from the chimney starter method! I'm about to test my first low and slow tonight with some salmon filets, in preparation for a test smoked turkey breast cook. Getting ready to host my first thanksgiving and doing a couple of 3lb boneless turkey breasts on the akorn jr. Thanks again for the welcomes, Davey
  6. Hi all, I just posted in the introductions section. New here! I've been really enjoying learning proper grilling techniques on my new Akorn Jr. I'm a little confused about one thing at the moment. The drip pan. I know I need to prevent drips to prevent flare ups and a mess in general, I've tried placing a bent up aluminum baking tin over the coals, but that seemed to cause more of a problem as I didn't do a good job getting it to sit on the deflector tabs in my Akorn Jr. base. My confusion is, I did buy a smoking stone, which I know would accomplish the same thing, but would prevent any of that yummy flame kiss when grilling burgers, steaks, chicken. What is the solution when I want the flames but don't want the drip? Is it one or the other? The drip pan / deflector pan still the best approach or is there another way? I'm also open to the possibility I'm misunderstanding or missing the point here. What would you guys typically do when cooking a burger or steaks to prevent the juice from upsetting your coals? Thanks! Davey
  7. Hello! I'm a software engineer, writer and musician living in Newport Beach California and very glad to join you all on this awesome site! I have always been a big fan of grilling...other people's grilling. Although I've always enjoyed the fun of doing it myself, I never really learned the finer points and ate a lot of dried out food when I was the cook. I never knew how to control the temperature or what it meant to be doing it right. At this phase in my life I'm decidedly more deliberate, and interested in quality. So I bought myself an Akorn Jr. and have started learning the "how's" and more importantly the "why's" of good charcoal grilling. I use lump charcoal with one of the nifty Char-Griller bottom-release chimney starters to get 'er going and have been absolutely thrilled with the results. One key difference in my approach now is not rushing the setup. Rather than getting the bright idea to grill when I'm already hungry, I've been taking time to really enjoy the process of planning my cooks in the morning or the day before and giving my coals enough time to burn and the grill proper time to come up to temp before tossing my food in. Regulating the temperature has been interesting. I think I've largely lucked out, but I'm ready to keep test cooking until I get it dialed in. Thanks to help from all of you here, I've been grilling a few nights a week with only one dried out food experience, which to be fair happened rather ironically during a monsoon style down-pour here in Newport Beach last week. I was out of my element in more ways than one with that cook. Two nights ago I had my my first cook that I was like, okay... That's not just cooked food, that's delicious. Salmon marinated in rice vinegar and soy sauce for a few hours, grilled at 400 with roasted vegetables. Cheers! Davey
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