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Everything posted by Loremaster72

  1. Evaporust is my newest go-to for rust cleanup. Since you were only in that climate for a week, the rust shouldn't be deep, and should clean off quickly. If you want, it shouldn't be too hard to prep your grill before the next trip. Any hardware you need to replace, pick up 18-8 or 300 series stainless steel. I'd use McMaster-Carr for this, as they are a LOT cheaper than the local hardware store for stainless, but there are many sources for this stuff. Painted surfaces should be OK, and you'll know what other surfaces you need to possibly pre-treat to prevent rust in the future. It's frustrating, but at least you can use this as a learning experience and an excuse to make some upgrades to your unit.
  2. Smoke - that's an interesting question. To get much smoke in the dish, I'd think you'd need to run with the lid closed, at least for a little bit, as food in the wok won't be very exposed to the smoke field as you are cooking. I did that a little, when I was cooking the veggies down. Dropping the lid throttles the fire back a bit, which can be a good thing, but the thermal mass of the wok keeps the heat that the food sees pretty constant. As you can get a meaningful flavor addition from smoke without much time (as when cooking fish at high heat on the grates), it sounds quite possible. I eagerly await the results of your experimentation. I'll be posting my further experiences and lessons here, as well. I picked up a new set of wok tools (thanks, Prime Days) and a couple of better cast iron scrubbers to use between batches. I'm now considering what recipe to make this weekend. I've still got some garlic sauce, but Mongolian Imperial Beef is another thing I may try. Timing for cooking stuff is the hard thing for me to work out now. I've gotta cook the veggies, especially the broccoli, a bit longer this time, without overcooking stuff.
  3. How do you think this would work in cast iron? I was thinking either a dutch oven or jumbo skillet.
  4. Well, Sunday I finally got around to trying the cast iron wok on the grill. Let me start by saying that I am a wok novice, only having used one a few times on my stove. Since I couldn't find much info on using the wok on the grill, I thought I'd post my experiences here for others to learn from. I'll take any advice and techniques that anyone can suggest, as I'm always looking to improve how I do things. My rig is an Akorn Kamado, and I positioned the wok on the Weber grate I would use to support a heat deflector, right above the coals. The wok has a flat bottom to allow it to sit stably without external supports. This position brought the rim of the wok down to right near the rim of the grill, or where the grates would normally be. There was a border of several inches around the wok, and I could close the lid when I needed to, as during preheating. I built a dense bed of coals (lump charcoal) and started the fire in the center. I didn't try to get the whole bed lit and mixed, as I didn't want things to go too big when I started cooking with the lid up. After I preheated things and when I started cooking, I shut the bottom vent almost completely. Since main cooking would be happening with the lid open, the coals were going to be flooded with air, and I was trying to retard the fire as much as practical. I didn't think I'd need a high airflow configuration (like a volcano) for this type of work. In setting up my cooking area, I also prepared a landing pad for a hot wok. In my case, I used a couple of fire bricks I already had, placed on a cooling rack, sitting on the table beside my grill. This was intended to give me a place to move the wok onto if it were too hot, or for any other reason I needed to move it off the fire. This proved to be a very good idea. As with most wok cooking, you need to get everything together and ready, because the cooking goes fast. I way underestimated how long it would take to chop all of the ingredients for my dish. I made chicken and veggies with garlic sauce. This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes, and it has plenty of veggies. In this case, it let me use up a squash, zucchini, and a couple of peppers out of my garden. This is the first time I attempted to make this dish, and I was sort of adjusting the recipe for the ingredients I wanted to use. I made the garlic sauce from scratch, on the stove in my house before I started grilling. It came out well, and I will be making it again. Cooking went well. Due to an extended preheat time while I finished chopping and preparing the ingredients, the dome thermometer said around 450 when I started cooking, which is pretty much were I wanted to try starting. Oil splashed in the bottom of the wok was hot but not too hot. I cooked the veggies first, then added the chicken, then finally the sauce. I should have cooked the veggies longer, as the broccoli was still a little tougher than I would have preferred. The fire built up to screaming hot levels due to the open airflow during most of the cooking process. As I got later in the cooking process, I was really getting my knuckles seared by the heat around the perimeter of the wok. I may invest in some longer wok-spatulas and perhaps some tig-welding gloves (for high dexterity). When I needed to step away and let things cook a bit, I brought down the lid to slow the fire. Unloading the wok was trickier than I had anticipated, mostly due to the heat. I ended up pulling the wok off of the grill for this, and the pre-prepared landing pad turned in quite handy. I'm very glad that I invested in a pair of dutch oven hook lifters, which turned out to be the right tool for lifting the wok off of the grill when hot. I found that hooking the lifters onto the wok moving them outward from inside the wok worked easier than coming in from the outside. Some reviews of the hooks complained that they were too big (wide), but I found they worked well, and the extra width would let you handle things with gloves on. After I had the main ingredients out of the wok, I needed to get the remaining sauce out. I tried picking up the wok by the handles, using silicone grill gloves, and didn't have very long before the heat started to come through. This was after a couple of minutes off the heat, so that heavy iron wok does its job holding heat. Picking up a heavier (loaded) wok directly from the grill would cut that time down even further, so I would highly recommend the hooks for handling the wok. Unfortunately, they don't give you the control you would need for tipping or holding a wok sideways to scrape things out. I did contact Lodge and they don't have any silicone handle covers that work with their wok (very similar to mine), which would give you a thicker insulation layer and more time to handle things. The ones I could find online are narrower than would be needed, which could be problematic if picking and trying to tip the wok sideways to dump out excess sauce. Better spoons / scoopers for emptying the wok are definitely in order. Because I needed to not overcrowd the wok, I ended up cooking things in two batches. This meant that I needed to clean the wok so I could start a second batch without leaving sauce residue to burn and spoil it. I used a trick I learned from working with my Blackstone griddle - I sprayed water on the wok, scraped everything down, and wiped it out with a paper towel. It seemed to work, but is a bit messy. All in all, using the wok on the grill worked pretty well. That cast iron wok holds the heat and cooked well, at least to me, and I'll definitely keep using it. I can see that there are definitely some techniques I need to develop to get full use out of the wok. I'm betting that I can get a lot higher and more consistent heat out of this rig than I can with a thinner wok on the stovetop, which is all I have used before. It definitely opens up a whole new group of recipes I can at least try to cook.
  5. I've been considering ordering up and cooking some Wild Boar, probably a few different cuts if I do. It will definitely include a butt, probably some bacon, and I'll probably go hog-wild and order some other cuts. I know that there are places you can order this stuff online. Does anyone have any favorite vendors for wild boar? Also any specially recommended cuts to try, or to avoid? I'm just feeling like I need to experiment a bit. I've got an Akorn grill, and have done low and slow pork butts before to good effect.
  6. Judging by the relatively square corner on that rock, could it possibly be a piece of worn fire brick fractured off of the kiln they cooked the charcoal in? If not, it probably got jammed in the wood when they were handling the logs and wood chunks, and somehow made it through the processing and into the kiln.
  7. I was out at a flea market yesterday, and saw a 14" cast iron wok for sale, in great condition, basically new. The price was decent, so I decided to splurge on it. I hadn't seen one of these before, but have since discovered that they aren't that hard to get new (the price I paid was still good) with Lodge making a very nice looking one at a reasonable price. Anyhow, I love cooking with Cast Iron pots and skillets on my grill (Akorn). I have lower rack position that will let me position the base of the wok much closer to the coals, using the same metal rack I use for holding a diffuser, and positioning the top of the wok basically at the original grate height. I'm wondering what the best way to configure the fire/coals for wok cooking will be? Since wok cooking will be with the top open, the coals will be flooded with air. I'm almost thinking I'll light a smaller load of coals than I normally would. I'm hoping someone here might have some experience with this, but I didn't find any existing discussions of wok cooking on the kamado gril. Anyone out there have any words of wisdom?
  8. I have both some instant read thermometers (with the small tip) and some leave-in type probes. I use the instant reads on quicker cooking type dishes. When I do a long and slow cook, I use the leave in type. I'm a bit of an outlier on my leave-ins, because I don't use a kitchen-type thermometer. I use a more industrial setup, with Type K thermocouple probes, most often to a 2-probe industrial thermocouple reader box. I used to use this sort of stuff industrially, and had most of what I needed down in my shop when I decided to try low and slow cooking. I set up one probe on a small wire stand I formed up, holding it about an inch above the cooking surface, to monitor the cooking temperature, and the second probe goes in the meat. I just run the probe wires wires out through the gasket, and connect them into my boxes. I've even got the stuff to make up extension wires and other probes. Buy small diameter stainless steel jacketed probes and they are easy to clean and reliable, and I'm not restricted to one manufacturer if something goes wrong. Mini thermocouple connectors are universal in dimensions. I generally get the type that have the connector remoted from the end of the probe, with a stainless steel or similar high-temp material used at the junction for best longevity, but they aren't expensive if you hunt around a bit. I've used both an Omega 2-channel hand reader (used from Ebay), and a cheaper Chinese box ($20 new from Amazon), both of which work well. I could probably get a basic 2-probe setup done for around $30, depending on the probes. I don't have wireless capability, but could probably rig it up if I had the desire, as it's all standard thermocouples and process monitoring hardware.
  9. I've looked on Amazon, and unfortunately nothing I've found looks like it will work. With side shields on and folded, my prescription glasses are almost 6 1/2" wide, and the thickest part is out at the ends, not in the middle. I'm just surprised no one is making something to deal with this. Anyhow, I'm probably going to have to make something custom to deal with this.
  10. OK, I just had to get new prescription glasses, and this time I upgraded my prescription safety glasses as well. They were quite a bit older, and while my distance vision hasn't changed, I'm now wearing progressive multifocal lenses, and being able to read prints out in the shop is an asset. Anyhow, the reason for this posting is one of my pet peeves. I picked up a nice pair of safety glasses with removable sideshields, glasses that look good enough to wear as daily wear if needed. Since these are secondary glasses, they spend most of their time in a case in my briefcase or other day-bag. Unfortunately, I can't find a compact hard side glasses case that fits glasses with sideshields on. When folded, the sideshields add about 1/2" per side to the overall length of the folded eyeglasses, making them too long for every case I've seen. Given that we have any number of people here from a wide range of backgrounds I was wanting to see if anyone has found a good hard-side case that works for glasses with sideshields? I want something that gives the glasses decent protection while riding in my briefcase, without taking up an excessive amount of space. Yes, I can and do pop the sideshields off to put the glasses into a hard case, but then I also have to wrap them in a cloth to keep the shields from scratching the lenses in transit. It's do-able, but a touch tedious, plus the shields sometimes break over time, as they are a friction fit to the temple bars. I'm just surprised to not have seen a decent answer to this problem. Thoughts?
  11. Look over at the "Blackstone Cooking" thread under the "Non Kamado Cookers" section of this forum. It has MANY pictures of some really good looking foods prepared on the Blackstone, that should help you get pre-authorization. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, stir fries, and cheesesteak sandwiches are a lot easier to do on a flat top than in a kamado. I guess I'm becoming a big advocate for the griddle and kamado grill combination for maximum versatility. Note that there are some other, similar brands of cooker (Campchef) that offer griddle capabilities along with burners, for even more versatility. A lot depends on how much space you have and how much you might have to move things around. https://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/39208-blackstone-cooking/
  12. I snagged a 28" blackstone 2-burner earlier this summer, and love it! There's something relaxing about standing outside on a quiet Sunday morning and whipping up a breakfast burrito. They sure are quick to fire up and quick to clean.
  13. I just found a recently resurrected thread that I had commented on shortly after getting my Akorn. I was surprised to see that it was 5 years ago, and my grill is still going strong. I keep mine on a covered porch, so it doesn't get directly rained on, but it will get blown rain and snow, along with other environmental exposure. The only real mod I did was upgrading the gasketing. I love my Akorn, and recommend them highly. That said, the BGE and other ceramics are probably slightly more capable cookers. They seem to be able to be controlled to somewhat lower temperatures than an Akorn, but they do use more fuel. Ceramic kamados are also more weather resistant. I know one of my friends has a BGE that is over 25 years old and still going strong. I'd say that an Akorn is 80% of the grill at 20% of the price, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again. Good luck in your decision and purchase!
  14. Awesome feast! If you need more space, I'd just pick up another Akorn. It gives you TRUE two-zone cooking, and at the cost, how can you beat it? You might also consider another type of cooker. I just added a Blackstone 22" propane griddle alongside my Akorn, and I love it. Last weekend I did sausages on the Akorn, while I did peppers, onions, and mushrooms on the griddle, along with making garlic infused olive oil and toasting the buns.
  15. Did you ever have a chance to post the recipe? I may have missed it if you did. I've been salivating over this, and would love the chance to try it. I'm guessing it will be under the Beef recipes section, but please let me know.
  16. Could you post a picture of the bottom of your new vent? If those screws thread into the new cap, then it should be an easy replacement. You would just have to remove the old screws and thread the new ones through the holes and into the new cap. I would recommend a combination of drilling and grinding with a Dremel tool to remove the old screws, just remember to work slowly. The base material is probably too thin and flexible to stand up to chiseling. If the screws don't go up into the new cap, and are designed to interface with something else, I can probably come up with another mounting technique that avoids a permanent gluing. I design equipment for a living, and this sort of problem is routine for me. Unfortunately, I have a big Akorn, not the JR, so I don't know what the exact geometry you are fighting with is. One other thing, I would probably recommend adding some large washers to reinforce the area where the screw heads sit. It appears thin enough to probably need some reinforcement. You might want to get some fender washers and bend them to work with the geometry of the lid.
  17. I have cast iron grates on my Akorn, and I brush it (usually) immediately after cooking, then hit it with oil and set the grill into shutdown mode. That lets the oil cook into another layer of seasoning on the grilling surface. I use one of those Weber triangular-ish grill brushes, and can't recommend them highly enough. They last a LONG time, are inexpensive, and do a great job. They work well on either my cast iron grate or standard round steel grates like on the Big Green Egg. I have a friend who cooks professionally, and her brush lasts for years. Yes, it has short metal bristles. I know some people are paranoid about bristles stuck in the grate and transferring to their food. The Weber doesn't seem to shed them, and I've said for a long time that if your grate has enough schmutz on it to have bristles stuck in it, it's too dirty to grill food on. If you keep up the maintenance on your grates, it doesn't take a lot of time or effort.
  18. I use one of those cast iron pans as a diffuser, too. It does work nicely, but I do need to remember to add some oil to it periodically, as it frequently gets hot enough to burn off the seasoning as it's closer to the fire and in direct heat.
  19. Very nice rig. The only thing I see missing is a spot for the cooler. Maybe you could rig a mount for it under the rear end of the trailer. Akorn's are the way to go for mobile, as they are so much lighter than ceramic, and still perform. Did you consider adding a small propane griddle (Blackstone or the like) as a secondary cooking station? That's the rig I just set up on my porch, and so far I like it. You might be able to fit one beside the small Akorn if you turn that 90 degrees.
  20. I don't remember the geometry of the area around this, and I'm at work and can't go look at my grill. You could try taking a dremel tool and cutting a slot in the rusted head, then try backing the screws out with a flat head screw driver. I'm not sure if these are sheet metal screws or machine thread screws. If they are sheet metal screws, I'd try to keep the drill out as small as practical, and look at using pop rivets to replace them. You could then replace it again (if needed) by drilling out the pop rivets. If they are blind machine screws (doubtful), I'd try to back them out, maybe even cutting the heads off then using vice-grips to turn out the remaining base. If you do have to drill machine screws out, you could possibly replace them by glueing in some studs, then securing the ring with nuts where the screw heads were. I'll try to look at this area in more detail tonight when I get home, so I can be more definitive with my answer.
  21. Today's cooking: Smothered cabbage with sausage. It's a Rachael Ray recipe I've made before, but this is the first time I tried it on the grill. It's got way more vegetables in it than meat, so that's why I landed it here. I will say that it was slower to cook on the grill than on the stove top, but it's a really tasty dish, and a good way to use up some sausage or ham. I also made some grilled cauliflower. I chopped it into large chunks, coated it with a garlic olive oil, and roasted it on the grill in a cast iron skillet. It's a REALLY tasty way to make cauliflower. Sorry, I forgot to snap a picture of it.
  22. As to restoring old equipment, we do have some good fabricators in our group, as well as a lot of good mechanics. Those older machines are simpler to work on. The hardest problem is usually finding engine and mechanical parts. I do more work organizing their library of manuals and similar stuff. As to photography, you don't start out good. I've been learning for years, and am still only an amateur. I found a great meetup group in my area that is about photography, and I've learned a lot from them on techniques and different ways of looking at things. Like grilling, you get better by doing and seeing what other people do.
  23. Neat, king oyster mushroom is an ingredient I've never seen before. I'll be interested in hearing how your experiments with this turn out in the future. Looks like a great supper!
  24. I'm an avid reader / book collector, and also do photography. My most unusual hobby is that I play with antique construction equipment. I'm a member of the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA.net) and meet with a local chapter about once a week. We restore old machinery and engines. As a side of this, in the summer I frequently go to antique tractor shows, where I take lots of pictures. Here are some snapshots I've taken at recent events:
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