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About ScoutHikerDad

  • Birthday 07/28/1965

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  • Gender
  • Location:
    Upstate SC
  • Interests
    Smoking, fly fishing, straight razors
  • Grill

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  1. Greetings all-I see it's been over 2 years since my last post. I've been busy in other areas of my life (I was assigned Department Chair of my large suburban high school English department along with 2 AP English courses and all that entails, for one thing), but have still managed to do quite a bit of smoking here and there. In fact this week's smoke of 20 chicken legs on my 5 year old Akorn revealed a rusted out fire bowl. Rather than try to scrounge another one, I just gave it away, and my loving wife decided to gift me with the Vision Pro S for 799$ from Home Depot. We also got the electric starter and the lava-stone and hangers accessory. I am very impressed with the build quality and features relative to price when looking at similar competition. Yesterday, I lucked onto a 10 lb. choice-grade packer brisket from the Evil Empire known as WalMart. Still, I've had great luck with their Excel choice-grade briskets in the past, so that will be the Vision's maiden voyage one day this week. I've watched all the Vision videos, done my homework on here, and read their instructions, which are kinda basic (don't operate the smoker with the cover on-make a note, lol!). So I'm familiar with the fundamentals from 5 years with an Akorn, but just curious about vent settings for a classic low and slow smoke at 225-275. I've got my extra bag of Royal Oak, my rub made (a Texas-plus rub, basically), and my chips are ready. So if anyone is willing to share the vent settings for both top and bottom dials, I would appreciate it. I assume to start out open, and gradually close it down as the temps start climbing. I guess the 2 bottom vents kind of confuse me. If the top vent goes to 1ish on a long, low and slow smoke, do both bottom vents need to be open just a peek? One more than the other? It kinda reminds me of the gain and volume knobs on a tube amplifier-just a hair more complicated than a single sliding vent. Thanks in advance for any thoughts! Aaron
  2. Looks great! Supposed to hit 70's here in SC by the weekend (after last weekend's lows in the teens). Either way, it makes me want to fire mine up!
  3. Just open up your vents after a messy cook for a few minutes to get the temps up-keep an eye out to close them down when it gets up near the max. on the dial so that it doesn't go full nuclear!! Let it cool until it's still hot but not dangerous, and the fire's long out. Put on your oven mitts and scrub with foil, then spray all the nooks and crannies generously with cooking spray to re-season, and you're good until the next cook. Soap and water are the enemies of cast iron unless absolutely necessary. I have done some really messy cooks with lots of charred fats and sauces, and the above technique has always cleaned sufficiently for me.
  4. Wow, nice-looking brisket! That is very moist and tender for a small flat!
  5. Wow, great 1st smoke in challenging conditions. It's been awhile since I smoked a butt. I smoked and ate so much 'cue over the last summer after I got my Akorn last Father's Day that I kind of got tired of it, but this makes me want to start it back up again!
  6. I'm sorry I find this so funny.
  7. Yeah, they all have that play, but it doesn't seem to impact the cooks any.
  8. I re-purposed one of those heavy woven bags you get a ton of sand in at Lowe's because I'm cheap. It works great, and fits almost perfectly!
  9. That's a beautiful view, Brad. I too have bitten off more than I could chew on many hikes both in the Rockies and here in our NC mountains. The only thing you can do, as you did, especially when the elevation gain ramps up, is take frequent rest breaks, and just keep doing it. Move it or lose it, and I'd rather die of a heart attack on a strenuous hike than in front of the tv. The thing is, as you know, so much of the great outdoors just can't be seen at the convenient tourist overlooks, and I have found that if you're willing to put in some boot time, you can escape the crowds (like in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, our own Smokeys, or anywhere). And if you take your kids along, you will instill in them a lifelong love of nature and a conservation ethic that is our only hope of preserving these beautiful places.
  10. Thanks Brad-I'm not sure we have a "real" local butcher/meat market type store, but I'll look and ask around.
  11. Well, they got done much earlier that anticipated! All were reading around 200 after only 3 hours. Sadly, they seemed to be more gristle and fat than beef; maybe that's why they shrank away from the bone so quickly. Lesson learned-Don't buy beef ribs at Mal-Wart! (though I've had great luck with their spare ribs and Excel briskets). What meat we did get was very tasty and flavorful with the SPOG rub, so maybe I'll try again if I can find better ones at Costco. I also had some issues with temp control and getting it shut down. I'm thinking some high heat cooks have compromised some seals, which I understand is pretty standard for the Akorn, so maybe I need to work on that before my next low and slow. I saved the bones and some gristle to try that beef broth idea I was talking about. I picked up some nice gourmet brown and wild rice and dried mixed mushrooms I may add to them after they simmer for a few hours, and maybe some red wine and mirepoix. We'll see what I get inspired to do. I'll post results if it turns out okay.
  12. So I put 'em on my Akorn at 10 this morning over my usual RO lump, with some hickory chips and apple chunks mixed in. I've had some issues getting temps stabilized (maybe due to a cold, brisk wind), but my Maverick appears to be fairly stable now at 255. But the skinniest rib that I stuck the probe in now reads 180, so these may go quicker than I thought (though several are much fatter!):
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