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Everything posted by Loremaster72

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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/
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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!
  17. 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:
  18. Hey, it often takes several iterations to come up with a good design. I thought about this hard for some time and ran through a lot of other design concepts before I settled on what I built. Other designs might work better for the tooling that you own, or for the base parts you are starting with, or the ergonomics you want to end up with. I like a loop or rod type handle, you may prefer a knob, or want to reuse some specific handle part you have. There's nothing wrong with thinking a lot about the designs.
  19. If you can't find what you are looking for locally, try McMaster-Carr. You might need to snap a few measurements of the existing fasteners or the holes they went through, but they should have what you are looking for. They have all of the dimensions for the fasteners listed, and even downloadable drawings of them, so you are certain of exactly which dimension is which. You can also get some nylock nuts to prevent the loss of the fasteners in the future. If you really want to go whole-hog, you could upgrade to stainless steel shoulder screws if you wanted to. I ordered a box of stainless steel short hex bolts from them to replace the factory leg mounting screws on my Akorn. Yes, I'm goofy and seeing fasteners rust would have annoyed me.
  20. OK, handle details. I used some 1" dowel for the top bar, and either 1/2" or 5/8" for the vertical members. I drilled shallow (1/8" to 3/16") deep pockets into the ends of the top bar for the verticals to seat into. I drilled completely through the vertical members, which are only around 1" tall, and secured the entire thing to the lid with 2 - 1 1/2" long stainless steel pan head screws. This means that the handle has no glue anywhere, as the screws pass completely through the verticals and bite into the top bar. Drilling the holes through the verticals was a bit tedious, but the holes don't have to be exact and can even be a bit loose. The handle risers are sized (length) to keep the tips of the screw from passing through and out the top to avoid potential hot spots. Stainless steel is a crappy heat conductor, so that should help keep the handle wood from charring, so stainless steel washers could also be added underneath the ends of the verticals, should I notice degradation of the wood.
  21. One other thing I've noticed is that the shape of the fire can make a difference. If you set your charcoal bed in a volcano form, with a clear center passage, the grill is more sensitive to the vent settings, and you generally need smaller openings. If you have a full, dense coal bed, especially if the pieces are smaller (end of bag), the grill seems to need wider damper settings. I don't have evidence, but I would suspect that it will also more susceptible to temperature spiking on long cooks if a clear air path opens up through the coals. Perhaps others can expand on this.
  22. While I haven't heard of anyone's Akorn fading or rusting from the outside, don't forget that if it does, you could easily change the color with some high temp engine enamel paint, if you wanted to.
  23. I have a camp chef 14" cast iron pizza pan that I bought to use as a heat deflector. It fits just fine on the Weber grate resting on the deflector shelves, with plenty of room to spare around it. It would work well on the main cooking grate as well. It has shorter handles than the Lodge, which may or may not be what you are looking for. If you want I'll snap a shot of it on the main cooking grate. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Q01WBU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  24. It's going to be slightly hotter down there than up on either the deflector grill grate or the main grate, but the griddle is a lump of cast iron. It shouldn't be damaged by that heat. Getting it up higher might make for an easier access with your grilling tools, and have slightly larger peripheral flow areas, which will reduce the airflow velocity a bit and possibly save some of your arm hair. I think you might have more to worry about with the fire bowl itself, as it isn't used to having downward forces applied to it when up at cooking temperatures.
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