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Owly last won the day on October 11

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  1. Owly

    Nitro Covfefe

    Oops..... forgive the misspelling. This forum has no section for beverages........ Or at least I didn't see one. I'm a home brewer from way back........... I think I brewed the first time in about '67. My younger brother loves to tell the story of me beating a burlap sack of apples with my Louisville Slugger in a washtub..........the truth is I never had such a bat, and he knows it, but it enhances the story. He was 8 and I was 12, and this is more or less a true story other than the non existent Louisville Slugger, and the apples were Gravenstins not the Granny Smiths... which to my knowledge did not even exist back then or were as yet unknown. We had an apple tree and a bing cherry tree in the back yard. The juice thus extracted was bottled, and treated with bread yeast to make apple jack........ on the sly, as my folks were tea totalers. We also made rootbeer from those powder mixes, and allowed them to ferment longer than was normally acceptable. I later made wine from blackberries and strawberries, and eventually made beer from the only thing available in those days when brewing beer was ILLEGAL........ Hop flavored malt syrup. Since those days I've brewed many hundreds of gallons of beer and wine, as well as making several stills including my most recent that is a "convertible" that can be a pot or a reflux still. I no longer brew beer........ I had to quit for health reasons, culminating in a weight loss program where I lost 50 lbs in about 5 months, and brought my blood pressure from about 190 down to 130 (systolic). No doctors or medical supervision, etc. I've been a coffee drinker since age 5........ but quit all forms of caffeine years ago.......... that's right, I drink decaf, and never touch any soft drinks.......... never have in my adult life. Left over from brewing are 2 kegs, 1.75 gallon cornelius (soda) kegs, that fit perfectly on the top shelf in the fridge......... where "normal" folks keep milk ;-).... One has carbonated water in it, and the other has had kombucha, but I just cleaned it, and did a custom installation of a stout faucet.... intended to be mounted behind a bar. I built a small shaped bracket that bolts to one handle, and is welded to a thin steel plate that bolts down under the beer out connector. I had to machine the connector on the bottom a bit to compensate for the thickness of the plate, and as I don't currently own a lathe, I simply chucked it in the drill press, and carefully used a grinder to shave a bit off the bottom, then cleaned up the threads with a deburring tool. The faucet is way too tall of course, so I removed the stud where a tap handle is meant to go, and bolted a horizontal steel and wood handle on, which gives just enough clearance. The long nozzle of a stout faucet surprisingly works....... an ordinary beer glass will slip under it.....not a tall one. The stout faucet has a restricter plate with 5 tiny holes, designed for high pressure dispensing to give that creamy nitro effect. I have nitrogen on hand all the time for refrigeration pressure testing (I own the bottle). Today I installed a sintered stainless steel "carbonation stone" on the gas inlet, which has a short stem inside the keg. I heated a plastic hose, and managed to slide it on, so the stone now lays in the bottom. Nitrogen dissolves poorly in water, so the carbonation stone should help. The protocol will be to begin with very low pressure, and gradually ramp it up over several hours, ultimately ending up with about 60 psi serving pressure. I'm brewing my decaf cold brew using half a pound of Kroger decaf...... which is course ground, in a hop bag in a gallon of cold water. I'll brew it for about 24 hours, then carefully filter it. I'm thinking of doing a nitro mocha............... .............. Any ideas, wisdom borne of experience that anybody has to offer is welcome................ Howard
  2. My "meal in a muffin" is truly a full meal in a muffin or two....... Unfortunately it is so loaded with nuts and crasins and everything short of the kitchen sink that it does not hold together well. Buckwheat groats, bran walnuts, apple chunks, dried fruit, etc......... You could live on them and at one time I knew a girl that did...... but that's another story. The problem has always been that the nuts and stuff were so large proportion compared to the batter, that they didn't hold up well......... crumbly. In pursuit of a solution I looked at pie crust, rice paper, and puff pastry to line the cupcake tins......... None were entirely satisfactory. Enter the Portugese Custard Tart.........Find it on Utube..........The solution was the crust for these. Recipe was 1 c flour and 1/3 c COLD water, and 1/4 t salt. Mix into a sticky dough and use flour generously on your cutting board.... knead and let rest. Roll it out into a rectangle, spread 2/3 of it with butter, leaving 1/2" edge margin. Letter fold it and seal the edges, roll it out again and repeat. Then roll it out, and spread butter over all of it except the edge margins, then roll it all up like a cinnamon roll, and refrigerate for an hour or so. Slice it in half, and each half in half, and each of those quarters into . One goes into each muffin tin, and with the cut side down / up. With your thumbs, work it out and up the sides. Then add your filling. The result is a wonderful flaky crust around each muffin, somewhat like puff pastry, but much easier to work with.... It takes about a full stick of very soft butter to work....
  3. Many years ago.. early '70's........ I discovered willow and maple for smoking. It imparts a mild smoke flavor, and one can cut willow along almost any creek or river in the west at least..... I don't know about the east. Willow and cottonwood often grow together and can be similar in appearance. Willow as I'm talking of never grows to a tree, it grows in wet bottoms with stems from the ground with minimal branching. It imparts a sweet mild flavor. The story is one of "young love" ........ eventually gone wrong, as love or more accurately "lust" often does ;-). In the heat of passion in those days, I would propose a hiking trip on a lovely afternoon, and inevitably one or the other of us would decide we needed a couple of steaks..... We'd swing by Safeway, and grab a couple of T bones, and on the way out of town one or the other of us would remember matches, so we'd swing into the nearest bank and grab some book matches........ Free give aways everywhere in those days of smoking ( I never did, nor did any of my girlfriends.... I "culled" on that basis ruthlessly!!"... I'd already learned about kissing chimneys ;-)........ Surprisingly I was not slapped one day when I rather coarsely suggested to a smoker lady who found me attractive, that sex from behind was fine so long as I didn't have to kiss her!! Needless to say she got the message that I was not interested ............ I'm more of a "snag" these days (sensitive new age guy)....... read "more tactful". Inevitably we'd end up out somewhere after a vigorous hike, combined with other "activities"....... ravenously hungry.... for FOOD. A willow grill would be woven, a small fire built and allowed to burn down a bit, and as we had forgotten salt and pepper inevitably, I would throw heaps of willow branches and leaves on the coals. Sweet smoke wafting over the meat would flavor it enough that salt was never missed.......The spice of sex I suspect had a lot to do with it .............. Ah the good old days. I can take it or leave it now......... depending on the lady of course. Knowing how wrong things can be. Today I'm smoking a rack. Beef prime rib trimmed by a restaurateur friend with willow collected on my daily walk to the post office a mile away..... through the woods...... Why did I wait so long to try it again? It has that mild sweet smokey flavor of young love...... if one of those ladies is reading this..... perhaps we should try it again In those days I took a pile of loose bricks and built a tiny fireplace behind my home on the river bank.......... I worked graveyard shift....... a shift I loved because I had the entire day free!! On the upstream edge of town, I often hiked and fished and waded upstream....... and back down, pulling out lovely pink fleshed trout.... and whitefish (generally considered trash fish here). The tiny fireplace had a small chimney, and I would skewer the fish through the gills, and hang them in will or maple smoke from a small fire burned to coals and leaves piled on. Cooked minimally...... only to tenderness, the grease (trout) would run out, and the tender flaky flesh would have a very mild smoke flavor........ perfect beyond words!! The Kamado allows me to duplicate SOME of this. The willow experiment was a complete success, and I will repeat it. Note that the ribs were sous vide cooked at 130 for several hours the other day and frozen. They went into the Kamado frozen. I currently have a Lamb roast........ also frozen in there...... I hate to waste charcoal!! It was a gift, from the same friend. Slow baked, my only object is to impart a bit of smoke......... a bit of "love" to it. Nothing compares to the flavor of a lamb roast done properly IMHO. My favorite is called "mutton" because it is several years old.... a healthy "weather" (castrated lamb) straight out of the high mountains....... about 2-3 years old. It has the maturity of flavor and marbling that "lamb" does not, and if properly cared for is mild, and wonderful............ but you cannot buy it. Only a relationship with a sheep rancher who runs his sheep through the summer in the high mountains can supply it, and ONLY if you are a friend........ as they have no "market value" as "mutton" so they are butchered as lambs normally. Few people have ever experienced this.......... I have spent my life around livestock and most of my friends are ranchers, and even they tend to have no idea what I am "raving " about......... as they tend to overcook everything. Nothing is so offensive as overcooked sheep. NEVER cook it beyond medium rare........ beyond that it continuously becomes more and more offensive. DO IT RIGHT OR STAY HOME!! H.W.
  4. The best sourdough I ever made was bread I made in the mountains of Montana as a caretaker at a guest ranch........ it began with ordinary baker's yeast, which I used or waffles............ I neglected it after a few months ( I was in the mountains for 9 months), and in the spring I was snowed in for 21 days with over 3' of heavy wet snow. Running short of supplies, I made sourdough bread from my "dead" starter...... a sediment under several inches of liquid. Rise time was close to 24 hours at 80+F temp, and I cooked it in a wood cookstove. The product was to die for!!! Lovely sour flavor, nice texture. I didn't use spreadsheets, I just added flour and water until I got the correct product. Don't make it complicated....... it's simple.......... it's not rocket science!!! I use kefir (home made culture) these days for sourdough. Yeast, and Lactobacillus. The key is SLOW. If it rises fast, the yeast is too strong, and you won't get the desired sour tang.
  5. On my prayer list...... At 64, I remember that age as the best years of my life, strong capable, and fearless. I was fortunate in having the parents I did. They trusted me and let me run, instilled confidence, and gave me plenty of rope. Good health, but I had to deal with bullies every day... At least they were tangible visible, and could be overcome with the resources bred into me. I can't imagine having to tackle this kind of challenge at that age........... or this. I've heard people criticize modern youth....they always have but I admire their strength fortitude and determination. The future of humanity rests in their hands, and as far as I've seen, they rise to meet every challenge. Have no doubt that he will rise to this challenge, and be a better man for it. H.W.
  6. I pulled the filter out specifically so the ash would blow through and distribute across the yard.... it's not a lot of ash, and it vanishes into the grass immediately. As Family Cook wrote.......... less than a minute. I would not even remotely consider this with warm ash. H.W.
  7. My 10" titan kamado has no provision for ash cleanout except to lift out the firebox and scoop ash. I've been using briquettes quite a bit for slow fire.... along with mesquite chunks for smoke. This morning I used a wet and dry shop vac with no filter in it, and an exhaust hose as well as a suction hose installed. Worked great!! I laid the exhaust hose out pointed over the garden & yard, and all the fine ash blew out, leaving only the heavier courser ash in the vac. A fast easy cleanout. I could have simply left the firebox in, and cleaned down through it, and sucked through the intake. The fine ash does't even show in the lawn. This was a cheap $20 Craftsman shop vac that I bought a year ago on sale at Ace Hardware.......... I bought an extra hose just for this sort of thing. H.W.
  8. I smoked two half racks of pork ribs yesterday evening for about 4 hours in my 10" kamado. Needless to say I didn't have enough space. These were done sous vide first, and went into the kamado frozen with mesquite chunks on the coals. Temp kept down under 200F. They were frozen together on top of each other to start with, and I cut two pieces of pine lumber, which I charred over the propane cooktop, and used to space them apart once they thawed enough to separate. Each side ended up on the bottom for about an hour (4 sides of course as there were 2 racks). Once an hour, I juggled things about. The spacers allowed the smoke to pass all the way around everything. It worked quite well. Of course I had my home made deflector plate underneath, and was wise enough to wrap it in aluminum this time.... H.W.
  9. Owly

    Bed of Nails

    Problems with bird crap on my kamado table. The starlings started using my new steel kamodo table for a roost and a toilet. I cleaned it up and hauled it into the shop, ground it off and painted the top gloss black..... looks nice, but I couldn't let the birds trash it. Took an aluminum sign, and cut it to the shape of the available surface, and epoxied a bunch of nails to it standing straight up.... decorative black twisted nails about 2.5" long. It does the job, but this is NOT the way to do it. It was difficult to make them all stand up, and keep them standing. Next time I do something like this, I'll drill holes for each nail. I had to add more epoxy around each nail to make them solid. It is very effective, looks menacing to me and to the birds I also welded a tab with a hole to the bottom of each leg of the support frame for the kamado and bolted it down solid.... the table is also bolted down to the deck. We see 80+ mph winds every year here. H.W.
  10. Today I built a very simple chimney starter designed to sit on top of a single burner propane camp stove that accepts those green bottles. I simply cut a piece of stainless steel tubing I had lying around. 5" diameter tubing 6" long. This is more than sufficient for what I need for my 10" kamado. I simply welded a piece of expanded steel to one end trimming the ends off nicely, and cleaning them up with a flap wheel on a grinder. I had a handle from a pressure cooker lid........... The cooker was "repurposed" and the lid had a large hole bored in the top that required removal of the handle..... but that's another story (one of those good taper seal ones with all the bolts around the top). I found I could not drill the stainless...... at least not easily with the bits I have, to bolt the handle on, so I just punched the holes with the plasma cutter... doing a surprisingly neat job, I was ready to go...... Tried it out. Filled with charcoal and simply lit the stove, and set it on top. Worked nicely, so I had to barbeque some ribs for dinner since I had the kamado going. After things cooled down, I cut some vertical slots in the sides for additional airflow. We'll see how well this works. If It doesn't, I can do a do-over, as i have more material. Note that the expanded metal is on the very bottom on this starter as it is intended to be used on a stove. I could use it on my kitchen stove, except I'm a bit nervous about CO. H.W.
  11. Owly

    The idea flood

    I rounded corners on my steel table yesterday, and built my bird repeller..... a section of aluminum sign coated with epoxy with hundreds of nails sticking up, ground and smoothed the table top and painted it black, and finished a new steel deflector plate with a flange and a hook to grab around one of the supports on the underside of the grill. This afternoon I plan to build a chimney lighter with a propane burner, and a few other odds and ends. It's Hopefully I will get the platform / table reinstalled..... I plan to play with the PID controller a bit also. snowing and 10F here today... 60F yesterday............ go figure!!! What a season. H.W.
  12. I love building things...... they don't always work up to my expectations, but it's always a learning experience, and there is the joy of creation..... I have drawers full of stuff to create things from. My biggest disappointment was my electric mousetrap with a massive bank of motor start capacitors charged with 320VDC. Sounded like a pistol shot going off. It didn't kill them for some reason, but I had the small satisfaction of finding body parts scattered about... It was powerful enough to kill a person....... but not a mouse?? My shop vac motion detector trap does work..... and it isn't dangerous to people. H.W.
  13. I'm an inventor.......... always have been. With each new project, the ideas on how to improve the process start flooding in. I'm not working right now so I'll attack some of these. 1: I did a post on PID controllers, and as I already have one, I ordered a cheap small fan for the job.............. 2: Meanwhile I've ordered a cast iron serving pan to act as a deflector plate......... raising the grill a bit higher in the dome. 3: I also made a deflector to use in the meantime, by cutting out a disk with the plasma cutter, and welding a flange around it, so it can contain sand if I choose. 4: I need a 3 prong lifting tong to lift the fire box out..... A simple project. 5: The lack of a decent ash cleanout is a nuisance, but one of the liabilities of a small kamodo like mine. I plan to simply use the shop vac........... keep it simple. 7: I'm having issues with birds crapping on my new temporary steel stand.......... I plan to build a "bed of nails" to discourage roosting there...... I'll make is cheap and simple. A piece of aluminum cut to shape, coated with epoxy, and a bunch of nails set upright in the epoxy. I don't like the 9: I've ordered a cheap ultrasonic "fog generator", which I plan to use on the air intake. A small container of water will be set right by the intake, and the fogger dropped in.... it will be moved closer or farther as needed 10: I can't see the temp from my desk, though I can see the kamado out my window just a few feet away............ A lazy susan would solve this, but my PID system will allow me to monitor and control from inside 11: Build a chimney lighter........... To get max use, it is necessary to be able to bring it up to temp rapidly. A chimney lighter should speed the process and encourage day to day use. 12: Square corners are annoying to me........... and my quickie stand made from an 18" x 24" by 1/4" thick galvanized plate (salvage), has square corners........ today I will drag the plasma out and whack those off and round them with the grinder. 13: Smoke generator I have a problem with this grill, as it is virtually impossible to feed it while there is meat on it. I'm contemplating using pellets for smoke flavor as I should be able to get them into the firebox through the grill....... or possibly put them in the cast iron pan I ordered. THANKS TO THE MEMBER THAT GAVE THE LINK TO THIS. K_sqrd. I don't expect everything to turn out great............. some ideas work great, others OK, and others are failures...... that goes with the territory when you invent things. For every "genius idea", there are half a dozen or more that don't make the grade..... H.W.
  14. The logical solution would be The very rapid cycling would effectively give a variable speed. The PID is capable of cycling in milliseconds, much like a PWM control, and it also is a "learning" system, that changes cycle frequency to stabilize the temp, anticipating the results based on "learning". It is NOT a stupid thermostat that simply turns the power on and off at fixed set points. People seem to be programming microprocessors for this..... A PID is already a microprocessor, and already programmed to "think on it's feet". There might be wild fluctuations initially..........but they would level out fairly quickly. simplified Utube Video of PID temp controller H.W.
  15. Back when I was brewing, and doing some other things related to brewing, which I will not discuss here..... I discovered the PID temp controller. PIDs are "intelligent", and do not simply turn on and off at a set point, but determine the effect over time of on and off periods, and ultimately anticipate the results of on and off cycles, modulating the on and off times to hold temps very close. A learning controller you might say.......... In brewing these are typically used for controlling a heating element, and this is generally done using a solid state relay. There is no reason this could not be used to control a brushless fan..... such as a computer fan. Most computer fans are axial, but they are also available in centrifugal, which means that you could easily direct the flow into your lower air control. The best part of this is that a PID with thermocouple and solid state relay can be had on Amazon for a mere $18, and a 12 volt computer fan suitable for the job can be had on Ebay for around $7.00.... all including shipping. All you need is a "wall wart" to run the fan.......... and some wiring. If you don't have a 12 volt "wall wart" lying about .... another $8 on AMZN..... or pick one up at the thrift shop for a dollar!! You can use the system to control your kamado temp............or your mash temp for brewing, or the temp in the top of your reflux column............ or, whatever. H.W.
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