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Ski-Freak

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Everything posted by Ski-Freak

  1. Here's what it looks like on the plate with some Hot Pepper Peach Preserve and Bourbon Dressing on the Pork Chop. The Succotash is grilled corn sliced from the cob with sun-dried tomato strips and Lima beans. The Jalepeno popper is half of a Jalepeno pepper filled with cream cheese, topped with a Frito Lay chip, and wrapped with Bacon:
  2. Here is another Dual Zone Meal with thick brined bone-in Pork Chops in the Direct heat and a few Jalepeno Poppers in the Indirect heat:
  3. Saffire released a new Crucible Firebox lined with refractory bricks. It has a stainless charcoal basket on top of a lift out ash pan. It fit right into my 6 year old Saffire, but I had to replace the original 3-point triangular grid elevator with a new circular 4-point grid elevator. The new matching heat deflector for indirect heat cooking now comes in two halves, which allows the use of only one half for Dual Zone Cooking. Here is a picture of Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles cooking in low heat with a slab of Eastern Halibut cooking in high heat. Tasted great! The new dual half heat deflector is also easier to store and less awkward a shape that doesn't block airflow. This all makes cooking better!
  4. This reminds me of the rain hat I put on my Stickburner - Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Offset Firebox Sideburner. Unnecessary for my Saffire which has spent its 6 years out of the rain inside my screen porch.
  5. I tried out doing a combination cook with both Direct and Indirect heat by using only one half of the new Ceramic Dual Half Heat Deflector Plates. I put it on the back half of the Multi-Rack for cooking bacon wrapped Asparagus bundles while grilling Eastern Halibut up front over higher heat. Both tasted great!
  6. Here is a picture of my Nomex gasketed Chip door after being used for 5 years in my Saffire. It still seals very well.
  7. I have cooked on the new Crucible Firebox setup a couple of times and saw the following improvements: 1. It comes up to temperature a little faster during start-up due to better air-flow thru the new Charcoal Basket instead of the old cast iron plate with 1/2 inch holes in it. 2. Before starting a cook I can just just shake the ash out of the Charcoal Basket and empty the Ash Pan if needed, instead of stirring the leftover charcoal/ash to get the ash to fall thru the small holes in the cast iron plate at the bottom of the firebox, and then tediously fishing the ash out of the lower vent hole with a little tool into a dustpan/tray. 3. The new 4-point Multi-Rack fits snugly and more securely holds my original cooking grid, much more securely than the original 3-point triangle shaped grid elevator. 4. I am looking forward to doing a combination cook with both Indirect and Direct heat by only using one of the Ceramic Dual Half Heat Deflector Plates. The original triangular heat deflector plate was awkward, blocked some air-flow, and could only be used in or out of the Saffire. I had a hard time storing it due to its awkward shape while the new one is much easier to store.
  8. If you're following I am the original owner of a 6 year old Saffire and just updated it with Saffire's new Crucible Firebox, Multi-Rack, and Dual Half Ceramic Heat Deflectors. For the past 6 years I have used my Saffire inside a Screen Room right outside the French Doors to the Kitchen of the house. This room has screen walls on two sides, and I use a high velocity blower fan to push the smoke out of the closest screens. This setup has allowed me to cook on my Saffire year-round in New England, paying no attention to our highly variable weather nor cold snowy winters. The process of removing my old ceramic fire ring and firebox, scraping and vacuuming out a lot of stuck on carbon on the inside of the outer ceramic lower dome finished off my 6 year old lower gasket that was already thin and fragile. Over the years I have dripped sauces on it and drug food and pans across it by accident so after the most recent work to replace the firebox the gasket was leaking wisps of smoke and ready to be replaced. I had bought a length of Nomex gasket material and Hi-Temp Food Safe RTV from BBQgaskets.com several years ago to better seal my chip door, and I had enough extra sitting on the shelf to do this job as well - so it was a quick fix. I basically just replaced my lower gasket with "Nomex" Gasket Material, using a bead of Food Safe High Temperature Rated RTV to glue it down. First I scraped off the remnants of the old gasket with a razor blade, and then I wiped down the surface with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean it up pretty good. I was careful not to stretch the Nomex gasket material (per the instructions). I left the joint in the rear, and worked my way around 12 inches at a time gently pressing the Nomex material down on the RTV bead as I went. I used the 1/8th inch tip of the RTV applicator to spread the bead around a bit before I placed and pressed the Nomex material on it. Finally, I closed the lid and it was a nice soft landing! I then let it dry with the lid closed for several hours. Today, 24 hours later, I cooked on it and it is working well with NO LEAKAGE! Some pictures:
  9. I just replaced my lower gasket with "Nomex" Gasket Material, using a bead of Food Safe High Temperature Rated RTV to glue it down. First I scraped off the remnants of the old gasket with a razor blade, and then wiped down the surface with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean it up pretty good. I was careful not to stretch the Nomex (per the instructions). I left the joint in the rear, and worked my way around 12 inches at a time gently pressing the Nomex material down on the RTV bead as I went. I used the tip of the RTV applicator to spread the bead around a bit before I placed and pressed the Nomex material on it. Finally, I closed the lid and it was a nice soft landing! I then let it dry with the lid closed for several hours. It seems good!
  10. I saw the new Crucible Firebox on the Saffire website for their current model and called to ask if it would fit my older Saffire. I really liked the idea of using refractory fire bricks in the firebox to avoid cracking, and also the nice stainless steel charcoal basket, and the lift out ash pan that are a part of this new firebox. They said yes it would fit and it arrived today and I cooked on it this evening! It's a really nice update that I'm looking forward to using. It did require a new cooking grid elevator and a new ceramic heat diffuser plate for indirect cooking, which was good because my old one had broken due to rough handling about 6 months ago. The new one comes in two halves to allow you to use only one half for a combination of indirect heat on one side and direct heat on the other. So, a couple of service items I found in the process of cleaning it up were that my lower stainless steel band had loosened quite a bit, and by the time I was done with the full clean-out and installation the front part of my lower gasket is down to the bone and some wisps of smoke are coming out, so I'll need to replace the whole lower gasket. I guess almost 6 years of using my Saffire several times per week had weakened the gasket material, and the work I did today dragging fireboxes across it finished it off.
  11. I have removed my gunked up top stainless steel damper 3 times now over the past 6 years, and put in a bucket and used Easy-Off Over Cleaner on it liberally with a little scrubbing from a nylon brush. Then I rinse it with the garden hose (all done outside). It has cleaned up perfectly each time!
  12. I heard you have to have NYC water to make that great NYC dough - and that was the hidden secret to why every kind of bread you buy in NYC is the best bread you have ever eaten. Two decades ago we lived in NY Metro and honestly the only things we missed when we moved up to New England was one FM radio station and the bread. The FM radio station broadcasts on Internet Radio too so we can listen to it now, but even trying to seek out the best bread up here it's all substandard compared to the bread in NYC, and I mean ALL bread. This area is a lot less congested, nature is purer, and life in general is just better for us though - so bread was the only thing we gave up. I tried buying pre-made pizza dough up here and it was marginal at best. You have done a really nice job of making a science out of making your own great pizza dough from scratch, which is what it takes and what I haven't done. OTOH, there are several good restaurants in our area where we can get our fill of good wood fired pizza made by them, so all is not lost. Good Luck to you Jose, and you're doing an awesome job cooking with your Saffire!
  13. That pizza does look really good - Congrats! I don't have a source for good pizza dough, and the couple of times I tried it was the iffy dough that turned me off. I like the way you keep from burning the bottom of your pizzas.
  14. Jose, Thanks for your report on the new firebox! As to how long my gasket has lasted, I have been using my same Saffire for almost 6 years and am only now getting ready to replace its dome edge gasket(s) - probably right after I complete the installation of the new Crucible Firebox. The bottom gasket has the most wear and is getting thin, which is probably from occasional drippage and dragging across it. I do burn off the grill at high heat while watching it when I'm done cooking so mine has certainly seen plenty of 600-700F temps, but not for very long. It still snuffs out fine still and I don't see wisps of smoke while snuffing coming from the gasket area - which I think would be the easiest indicator that the gasket was not sealing. However, I exclusively grill and smoke in my Saffire, and have only tried cooking pizza in it a couple of times around 5 years ago. I do cook on it several times each week, all year long.
  15. Your Saffire looks great in blue! I have enjoyed my older Jasper Red model, set in their Teak table for many years. That new Crucible Firebox looks amazing! It has refractory fire bricks held in place by a metal frame, with a really nice lift out charcoal basket, and a lift out ash pan underneath. I just ordered one for my older Saffire as an upgrade, and am looking forward to installing and using it.
  16. Love my Saffire Kamado/Table Combination! Saffire and Teak by Ski Freak, on Flickr
  17. Here's some fingerling potatoes cooking in my Kamado in "re-cycled" Duck Fat on a Lodge Fajita Pan (with a bobbed handle). I was set up for two zone cooking (charcoal divider), with the pork chops on direct heat over the fire, and the potatoes on the cool side. No water being used here, but check out the potatoes: porkchopsand duckfatpotatoes by ski_freak1, on Flickr KathysPorkChopPlate by ski_freak1, on Flickr
  18. I always use a water pan on top of my ceramic diffuser plate inside my ceramic Kamado when I'm smoking Duck, because I always want to capture the Duck Fat drippings and not have the drippings burn off on the hot ceramic diffuser plate. I later use this Duck Fat for cooking fingerling potatoes, searing stuffed roasts, etc. The Duck's Fat drips into the water pan and floats on the water, rather than simply burning up on the ceramic diffuser plate, and can be strained off the water surface and stored in a mason jar in the fridge for later use. This is the way I re-use this resource, and from feedback makes about the best potatoes people have ever eaten. I did learn about using water pans from previous traditional BBQ experience, and still use them in my Offset Side/Stick Burner, but I think there could be applications such as I highlighted above where capturing grease/fat is preferable rather than having it burn off. On the topic of using water in a Kettle shaped cooker, I also designed a charcoal basket some time ago for use in a standard Weber 22.5 Kettle for low/slow cooking that works really well (yup, I can weld). The pictures are pretty self explanatory but show that I fill the circular track around the water bowl/pan with unlit briquettes and small wood chunks, and start the burn with a handful of lit briquettes at one end of the track. It will burn overnight and make delicious moist BBQ such as Brisket: Weber22.5CharcoalBasket by ski_freak1, on Flickr Weber22.5FiredUpCharcoalBasket by ski_freak1, on Flickr
  19. Sometimes we cook down lobster carcasses for 6 hours or so to make lobster sauce, for making risotto. The challenge is that putting the stock pot on the kitchen range stinks up the house over the 6 hour boil down. I solved that challenge by placing an Induction Side Burner on our Saffire Teak Table, out in our screen porch. It worked out great and has lots of other applications as well! stock1 by ski_freak1, on Flickr
  20. Not sure about the KJ version but here's some info on another: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/10795-dual-zone-cooking-in-the-saffire-kamado/?hl=lobster#entry117803
  21. How many people are you feeding? You can fit 3 packers in a Big Joe. That's enough to feed 40 people. I think it's time for your household to upgrade to a two Joe family. Join the multiple Kamado club. I'm researching the science behind the thin blue smoke or thin clear smoke depending on the wood being used. I'm a man on a mission this summer to squeeze more blue smoke out of my Joe's. Now that I know what creates the thin blue smoke, it's just a matter of time before I find a method to maximize the effort. Amazing Ribs and Dr. Bonder's article says smoke absorption stops at 145 F. After that, the meat won't absorb any more smoke anymore. 6 hours of smoke is about all you need. Seems like my stick burner will smoke/BBQ infinitely more racks of ribs than my Kamado, and every teenager wants two racks of ribs. You do however raise a valid point about upgrading to multiple Kamados, as I've already concluded that the next time around I would definitely buy two matching Ceramic Kamados set in a side by side cooking table setup so I could cook indirect in one at the same time as I'm cooking direct in the other - like I do with my stick burner. The good news is that I can still use my stick burner for those big summer entertaining events when I like to put half a hog on, or load it up with lots of rib racks and butterflied chickens. BTW, I find that larger chunks of smoke-wood will give me more of that thin blue smoke time when using Kamados. Most smoke-wood starts off with puffy grey/white smoke until it gets going, before providing the desired thin blue smoke. Smaller chunks of smoke-wood barely get burning the way you want them before they're gone. Any blue smoke advantage seen at the helm of a stick burner is simply having full time and complete access to your firebox, to more carefully tend/feed the fire. With Kamados you just need to keep in mind you have limited access to the fire, and work around that.
  22. I own both and have pretty good experience cooking on both, and would say that both will give you good results - but "when" depends! My stick burner is of little value when it gets under 50F degrees outside temperature since it's single wall heavy steel construction. However, when it's 50F or higher it can produce a large amount of great smoked BBQ since it has a 20" X 40" indirect heat food chamber cooking grate. It also requires a large amount of fuel to do so. It is however not very efficient to run a stick burner for only a small amount of food, because it still requires a large amount of fuel. I am able to grill directly in the stick burner's firebox WHILE I'm smoking in the indirect heat chamber, since I have a 20" X 20" cooking grate that goes in the firebox for searing and grilling. This means that during a long smoking session I can still grill up some other food for lunch, appetizers, etc. It's a great rig for large scale entertaining in the warmer months! My Kamado can be used in any temperature, including very cold weather, and is extremely efficient on fuel. However, when I set it up for smoking that's all it can do. Same thing for direct grilling. It can do anything, and do it well, but it can only one thing at a time. It is also quite smaller and only smokes a small quantity of food at a time. This is great most of the time, but not for large scale entertaining. The thing that I have really come to appreciate about my Ceramic Kamado is that it is so well insulated that it actually sits on/in a wooden (Teak) work table, and can be touched with a bare hand while cooking without getting burned. This also means that it radiates little heat to other combustible surfaces near to it, and can with supervision be used inside my screen porch with the assistance of a fan to blow out the smoke. Being able to cook under some cover allowed me to cook all this past winter despite getting 7 feet of snow over 3 weeks, with no melting. OK Joe Hat by ski_freak1, on Flickr Chx 1 by ski_freak1, on Flickr
  23. Sounds really nice Charlie! I will one day upgrade my Akorn Kamado at my mountain house, but I need to wear that Kamado out some more first. I greatly prefer the smoother and more reliable temperature control of my Saffire Kamado at my RI house, and also the larger work surface of its matching teak table. I would clearly want to get another Saffire setup, however, rather than going for one single bigger Kamado, I think I would rather have two standard size Kamados set side by side in one table so I could smoke and cook direct simultaneously. Plus, two regular size Kamados will be easier to carry up onto the deck at that house. Please mention to the Saffire folks when you speak with them that there could be some demand for double Kamado cook-tables. I know that some other Kamado companies already make double tables...
  24. Just some home-made dry rub on both sides of a butterfly'd chicken (coarse salt, freshly ground tellicherry pepper, lemon zest from 2 lemons grated from a micro-planer, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, and a dash of some spices - oregano, paprika, cinnamon, etc.) It was cooked direct but low in the 250-275F range for 45 minutes, and then I ran the temp up to 325F for the last 15 minutes to render out the remaining fat from the skin.
  25. As long as your pot(s) are compatible induction burners work great - or at least this Fissler one does. In this case my pot is an All-Clad tri-ply stock pot (stainless inside and outside, with a layer of aluminum in between on the bottom and sides for heat spreading). My magnetic screw driver holder from my driver/drill sticks to the sides and bottom of the pot slightly but not heavily, showing some mild magnetic attraction. It's interesting with induction how the heat goes directly into the pot, which is evidenced by watching a boiling pot and then turning the power level down and the boiling instantly stops - and then turning the power level back up and the boiling instantly starts again. There seems to be no thermal mass from the instantaneous response. This burner has some intelligence built in so it won't even turn on if the pot/pan aren't ferrous enough for the burner's electromagnetic field, and if a pot boils over it instantly goes into stand-by for you. The burner itself stays very cool and really seems like it's efficiently putting the energy right into the pot and not the area around the pot.
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