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  1. Howdy Gurus. I'm thinking of purchasing some type of software whereby I can dictate what I want input into my computer. One such package is Dragon Dictate by Nuance Software. Does anyone here have any experience with dictation software? If so, what was/is your take on this? What package did you use? Would you purchase again? What are the package strengths and/or weaknesses from your perspective? The reason I'm thinking of purchasing this type of software is that my skills on a keyboard are, in a word, abysmal. I never took so much as a single typing course way back when. Whatever facility I have at a keyboard has only come through repetition over time doing paper after paper, spreadsheet after spreadsheet, model after model. My new business requires that I produce a number of white papers as marketing materials. Frankly, if I can find a way to get my thoughts into a fairly accurate document quicker than through the keyboard, i.e. dictation, I'm all for it. It would be a huge time saver and after all, time is money! Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Gurus, Another guru asked me to tell him/her about my 2 Qt. Dutch Oven Cast Iron smoke pot. I couldn't find the previous post on this, so I'm reposting it in an abbreviated form. I also couldn't get back to the original post where the Guru asked about the smoke pot. So, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa for you good folks having to click through this again. Here is the basic 2 Qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven; as you can see it's a Lodge. Here is a shot with the cover removed. You can see some of the 1/8" holes drilled in the bottom. And finally here is a shot showing all the holes drilled in the bottom. If I were to do this again, I'd drill only 4 holes or so in he bottom of the DO. To make this work, all you do it fill it with the smoke wood of your choice, put on the lid, and bury it in the lit coals. Then place your heat deflectors, drip pans, grates, etc., button up your kamado, set it and forget it. YO've got smoke for hours and you never have to wonder if the fire will drift to where you placed your smoke wood in the lump. Again, I want to make it clear that I got this idea is not mine. I got this idea from another forum. Again, apologies for reposting this and apologies to the guru who I forgot where you posted your request.
  3. I finally got around ordering my rotisserie motor from One Grill a company that specializes in rotisserie equipment and it came in today! I've been looking forward to this day since Beauty! arrived with the rotisserie basket for TheBeast. Here are a few pics of the rotisserie motor and one of the basket. Front view: Notice that this specific motor indicated that it can spin 50 pounds of meet at once! This is no light-weight motor. Of course, nothing about TheBeast is light-weight! Here is a side panel that details a one-year warranty: I would have preferred a larger warranty, but the Customer Service rep assured me that if I take care of the motor, i.e. keep it out of the elements and remove it when not in use (no problem either way) that the motor was almost indestructible. He said you can't believe the number of people who leave their units attached to the cooker, rain, snow, sleet, hail or shine, and then wonder why the motor breaks. I'd believe it! Here is a picture of the other side panel. This company wants you to spin meat, even going do far as to suggest a first cook! Here is the back panel that details some features. Note that while the motor is indeed water resistant, it is not water proof! Here is a front view of the motor itself. Here is a view of the motor from the side that will face TheBeast. Note the slides on each side. And finally, here is a picture of the rotisserie itself! This thing is a beast itself. It's about 26" long and is 10" in diameter. At first glance, you go "WTF?" Then you begin thinking like a KK Owner and Dennis Linkletter. The whole basket and it's "Frankensteinian Claws" are actually designed from its inception to securely hold every cook, no matter how large (a big turkey is very doable) and no matter what shape (I"m thinking of spinning a butt and a brisket. You also notice that there is no central spit to hold the cook. That's because forcing a spit through a cook limits what you can cook and it more importantly lets precious juices find a way out of the cook. That means that the cook could conceivably be less juicy than it need be. Finally, everything is held in place by hex nuts. Nothing is going to fall out of this basket! Finally, here is a view looking at the basket end-on. Those 3 points allow you to adjust the center-point of your basket. That is important because if you have a large cook in the basket, it's center of mass may not coincide with a single spot that normally comes with a rotisserie or most certainly a spit. You can actually adjust the point that connects to the kamado and the motor drive unit to more properly center the cook. Properly centered cooks mean that there is less stress on the motor and thus the motor last longer! In essence, it takes less torque to spin the cook. Okay, that's it for now. I'm thinking of spinning a chicken tomorrow. I'll make sure I take plenty of pics and post it in the Showcase. Thanks for taking a look at the KK Rotisserie system.
  4. I hear from sources on the KK Forum that there is a $50 discount on one of their units. It brings the price down to $129! Use code LUVDAD for the discount. IF this doesn't get you off the fence, nothing will! Enjoy!
  5. I had my nephew Shaun over for dinner this evening. He just finished pilot training down in San Antonio after graduating from The United States Air Force Academy last May. He's staying with my brother, the one who lives about 100 yards down the road. You know him, he's the BBQ Mooch who has recycled the same bag of chips for the last nine months! So I decided to use up a Tri-Tip that I'd had in the refrigerator. I also decided to give Shaun a taste treat ... he's a bachelor. I found out today that all he eats every evening is steak, generally NY Strips. So, I'm thinking it time to put on the dog and impress Shaun, or at least try. Sous Vide here I come! I decided to use up some rub I'd had left over from a rib cook this weekend. It was Runnin' Wild's Peach Rub and my brother developed a real like for it when he was over for the rib cook. Here's a pic of the Tri-Tip on the cutting board with the Runnin' Wild Peach Rub. Here is picture of the trimmed and rubbed Tri-Tip after sealing it up with the FoodSaver. It's now ready for the Anova Sous Vide. Here are the Sous Vide parameters as shown on the Anova Sous Vide. Fast forward 8 hours and here is the Tri-Tip just out of the water bath and ready to meet Beauty! at 600F. Notice that there is more liquid now after 8 hours in the Sous Vide at 132F than there was in the previous picture. More on that liquid in a bit. No pic of the Tri-Tip on Beauty! as All us boys were kibitzing and I forgot to take a pic! You simply can't trust some people! Here is picture of the Tri-Tip on the cutting board ready for carving after a 5 minute rest (The natives were getting restless!). And here is the Tri-Tip after I made my initial cut at the bend. That's a perfect Medium Rare if I do say so myself. And finally, here is the money shot. We had Mexican rice, refried beans, and guac. For those who wanted, we had warm whole wheat tortillas for tacos, burritos, etc. for those so inclined. Sorry, no pics of that either, but I'm told they went down really well! And here is a pic of the aftermath of the carnage! Now here is the story of the "Astounding" part of this cook. Shaun cooks his nightly steak on a round griddle with raised runs that he calls a grill! He also said he has never had Tri-Tip and he likes his beef cooked Medium Well! Yeah, I know ... Kids, what are you gonna do with 'em, right? So I told Shaun to trust me and he would be pleasantly surprised. I took a slice of the Tri-Tip, dipped in the au jus, and gave it to him. I said go ahead, take a bite, and if that isn't the best biet of beef you've ever had, I'll cook your share Medium Well. He took a bite, chewed, took another bite, chewed again, and got this HUGE grin on his face. "This is the most astounding flavor! Can I have some more?" Yeah I said, you can have all you want. He ate his Tri-Tip just sliced and with the au jus drizzled on the top. He was too polite to ask for seconds, so I just dished up some of the remaining Tri-Tip on to his plate and he finished off the au jus. He asked me how I learned to cook like that. I just smiled. Shaun is coming over tomorrow evening for a lesson on how to cook a NY Strip properly. I'm also rehabbing my Lodge Hibachi as a gift to him as he travels to his new duty station in New Mexico. He is one very fine man and I am proud to know this office and gentleman.
  6. Howdy Gurus! Kamado Guru has the Seafood Challenge this month and I'm officially entering with my version of Salade Nicoise. Salade Nicoise is a classical french salade/meal from the area surrounding the town of Nice, hence the appellation Nicoise. Classical Salade Nicoise is made with Eggs, Olives, Tuna, and other garden greens. I'm not big on eggs in my salad, and I had some salmon in the fridge, so I took liberties with the classical French rendition and I've dubbed my concoction Grilled Sooner Seafood Salade Nicoise as an homage to the classic. First we start off with boiling potatoes. I used miniature purples, reds, and golds. I boiled them up using the NuWave induction cooktop as seen below. After they were cooked, I wanted to stop the cooking process, so into an ice bath the spuds went. Next came the haricots verts (that's green beans to everyone in the world but the French and Quebecois) which were blanched in the spud water after the spuds joined the polar bear club. And here the haricots verts are swimming amongst the ice bergs. And again, just like the spuds, the haricots verts jumped into the freezing water to stop the cooking, set the color, and to win a Polar Bear Club Certificate. As many of you know, I'm a sucker for new gadgets. A friend has a FoodSaver with a marinator, and I just had to get one. Below is a photo of the marinator in action. The marinator really works quite well. Here you see the salmon fillets in a quick marinade of olive oil, tarragon vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon, and pepper. Total time in the marinator was about 15 minutes. Now it's time to get down to brass tacks and get the seafood on the grill. I made up a couple of skewers of shrimp and one skewer of scallops and set them on Beauty!'s main grate. Temp was about 400F The shrimp cooked quicker than the scallops so I pulled the shrimp and put on the salmon fillets. Everything cooked quite nicely. The salmon was wonderfully tasty and flakey, the shrimp were done just right, and the scallops had just a nice little sear to them. So everything is cooked and it's time to assemble the Grilled Sooner Salade Nicoise. As you can see, I'm definitely NOT a food stylist, but this salad was a really nice treat. Tasty, refreshing, and dressed with pomegranate-blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. It seems as if everywhere I turn lately pomegranates and blueberries have been paired together, so what not at ChezChef as well, right? Without further ado, here's the money shot of what I placed on the table before SWMBOI. Thanks for looking in. I had forgotten how much it takes to plate up a nice Salade Nicoise. Assembly took as long as it took to cook the seafood! I fell in love with Salade Nicoise over in Paris, but there, they had all kinds of folks to plate it up. Here it was just yours truly. Now I remember why I save Salade Nicoise for really special folks! Y'all have a wonderful and safe weekend. Here in OKC, we're looking at manning the boats. We've had almost 15" of rain this month and another 4" forecast this weekend. Please take a moment this Memorial Day weekend to remember those members of our Armed Forces who paid the ultimate price so that we could sleep well at night and live in the greatest country in the history of mankind!
  7. Howdy Gurus! This weekend officially starts the summer season. For those fair-weather grillers (which is nobody here!), this weekend is when all the charcoal sales, grill sales, meat sales kick into high gear. GRILLING SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN! Many of us will be traveling this weekend. Many of us will be camping out this weekend. Please, be safe, don't drink and drive, and come back to KG safe and sound! Finally, Memorial Weekend is all about remember those among us who gave the last full measure of devotion to a cause, freedom, so that we could enjoy everything with which we have been blest by out Creator. Let us not forget to pause, take a moment, and remember the member of the Armed Forces who insured our freedoms with their blood. Great love hath no man ... May God bless and keep those who died for our freedoms.
  8. Gurus! I could not be more proud of my Granddaughter, Cailey. As you may remember, she's one of The Ladies we have discussed here. Along with her younger sister, Gracie, I've been teaching both The Ladies to cook on Beauty! & TheBeast. And they are making good progress. But that's not why the buttons are busting off my vest. Cailey struggles with math, specifically algebra. I understand that all too well as I struggled with algebra myself. I told Cailey if she would meet with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would teach her algebra. I also told her to do the problems exactly as I taught her. When we started, she was at a very low C, something like a 70-71. She just got her report card and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B for the semester! She's over the moon and so am I! SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! I am so very proud of her. She worked hard, didn't get discouraged, believed in herself for the first time in her life, and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! She's so excited about her success. And she's asked me to tutor her in geometry next year. Cailey did a lot of extra work, she stuck with it, she believed in herself, and it paid off! Nicely done, Cailey! Very nicely done! You deserve every success in life!
  9. Gurus! I could not be more proud of my Granddaughter, Cailey. As you may remember, she's one of The Ladies we have discussed here. Along with her younger sister, Gracie, I've been teaching both The Ladies to cook on Beauty! & TheBeast. And they are making good progress. But that's not why the buttons are busting off my vest. Cailey struggles with math, specifically algebra. I understand that all too well as I struggled with algebra myself. I told Cailey if she would meet with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would teach her algebra. I also told her to do the problems exactly as I taught her. When we started, she was at a very low C, something like a 70-71. She just got her report card and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B for the semester! She's over the moon and so am I! SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! I am so very proud of her. She worked hard, didn't get discouraged, believed in herself for the first time in her life, and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! She's so excited about her success. And she's asked me to tutor her in geometry next year. Cailey did a lot of extra work, she stuck with it, she believed in herself, and it paid off! Nicely done, Cailey! Very nicely done! You deserve every success in life!
  10. Gurus! I could not be more proud of my Granddaughter, Cailey. As you may remember, she's one of The Ladies we have discussed here. Along with her younger sister, Gracie, I've been teaching both The Ladies to cook on Beauty! & TheBeast. And they are making good progress. But that's not why the buttons are busting off my vest. Cailey struggles with math, specifically algebra. I understand that all too well as I struggled with algebra myself. I told Cailey if she would meet with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would teach her algebra. I also told her to do the problems exactly as I taught her. When we started, she was at a very low C, something like a 70-71. She just got her report card and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B for the semester! She's over the moon and so am I! SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! I am so very proud of her. She worked hard, didn't get discouraged, believed in herself for the first time in her life, and SHE MADE A VERY HIGH B! She's so excited about her success. And she's asked me to tutor her in geometry next year. Cailey did a lot of extra work, she stuck with it, she believed in herself, and it paid off! Nicely done, Cailey! Very nicely done! You deserve every success in life!
  11. Howdy Gurus! I promised a new Guru to our group that I would find and publish a guide to woods that can be used for smoking, what those woods are best applied to, etc. Well, I can't find the dadgummed file. Not to be a slacker, below are a couple of links that solve the problem and give some guidance as to what wood works best for a specific application. Google is a very good thing! Dee Jay's Smoke Pit Virtual Weber Bullet Amazing Ribs has a pretty good discussion of the Zen of Smoke. I hope this helps one and all!
  12. Hi Again, Gurus! So last Saturday, SWMBOI is watching TV and "napping" in the bedroom while I'm Watching baseball on the Big Screen. All of a sudden, at a critical juncture on the ball game (doesn't every interruption happen at some critical point?) SWMBOI comes and switches the TV to an infomercials about the NuWave Induction Cooktop. AAAARRRRGGGHHHH! This had better be dadgummed good! She tell me to watch! SWMBOI knows I've been looking at induction stoves here for the house, but as little as we use a stove, I'll be dipped if I'm spending that kind of money on a new stove. (These things are the newest, latest, and great, but they ARE expensive!) I don't have to be an early adopter. Now I just HATE infomercials with an undying passion. I truly do. I just hate the "But WAIT!, there's more!" Here is this induction cooktop that is only $99 bucks. I've been thinking about getting a propane burner like you see on many breakfast buffets and used to do omelettes. The more I look at this induction thingy the more I think it just might do the deal on the patio next to Beauty! and TheBeast. I copy down the web address and back to the ballgame. I missed the dinger that put my team ahead! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! So later that day, after another ball game I go and log on to the website (which I don't remember, but Google. NuWave Induction Cooktop) and I fall for the "But WAIT! there's more!" O order a couple of these induction cooktops and some pans that SWMBOI wants and they thrown in a veggie steamer/fondue pot. Okay, it's not much money. Something under $200. If SWMBOI is happy, my world is wonderful. So this box shows up on Monday afternoon and I unpack it. These NuWave cooktops are more substantial than I thought they would be and the cookware is of better quality than I had hoped for. It's not All-Clad quality, but not much is. The instructions that came packaged with the unit are very well written and easy to follow. The Quick Start guide is written for idiots like me. Here is picture of the NuWave Induction Cooktop. Temperatures are easily controlled and there are preset temps for Low, Med Low, Med, Med High, High and Sear. There are also preset cooking programs so you can automatically cook something at 350F for an hour and then decrease the temp to simmer for 3 hours. Everything is customizable. I was impressed. So who can screw up breakfast, right? ME! If anyone can screw up breakfast on this NuWave Induction Cooktop, it's Yours Truly. So I'm off to cook breakfast and see what happens. Breakfast wouldn't be breakfast without BACON! Here's bacon frying in the new nonstick pan (it's no supposed to off gas at higher temps like teflon). One shortcoming to this cooktop is that the induction surface measure only about 9" on a surface that is about 12". In a 12" pan, as pictured above, is that the last 1.5" on each side will not get cooked. But for the price, I guess I'm happy. One of the hard things to do is cook a really good sunny-side-up egg after frying bacon. That's because of the residual heat in a lot of stove top heating elements and the pan. Not with this system. There is precious little thermal energy stored in the cooktop itself. I'd say that within a minute, two at the most, temperatures came down so that I could get a nice sunny-side-up egg. Here is a pic of the eggs in the new 12" skillet. Again, because the induction surface doesn't extend to the far edge, no cooking occurs in the last 1.5" all around the cooktop and 12" pan. You can see that in the photo above. The albumin just runs. Lesson: Crack the eggs in the center of the skillet running at a higher temp, or, move the edge of the pan into the induction heating area. That's eventually what I did. As always, here is the plated shot. As you can see I'm using my finest paper china for this inaugural cook! All in all, I'd call this a successful inaugural cook on the NuWave induction Cooktop as witnessed by the next pic. Some time back, John Setzler, our esteemed Admin, started a thread stating he was thinking about buying one of these units. That was a couple of years ago. I can't remember the outcome at this point. What I would tell each of you is that I'm really impressed with this unit. It does everything it claimed and more. The cookware that I purchased with the unit is pretty good quality. The handles don't feel as good to the hand as does my All-Clad, but that's not that big a deal. The included nonstick pans are also not as heavy as their All-Clad counterparts, but as I think about it, that may be by design. These pans respond quickly to changes in the temperature settings because they don't have all the thermal mass of my All-Clad. Using the NuWave pans in conjunction with the induction cooktop, there is not much hysteresis in the system. The temperature of the pan responds quickly, so the lack of mass is not necessarily an indication of cheapness. Before you go running out to order a NuWave Induction Cooktop and think you're going to use the cookware you already have, take a second and make certain your cookware will work with an induction heater. Simply grab a magnet and try and stick it to the BOTTOM of your cookware. If the magnet stick firmly and tightly, your cookware will more than likely work quite well with an induction cooktop. If the magnet only barely stick to your cookware, that is an indication of an alloy that may be less than ideal for induction cooking. Rethink you'r purchase decision unless you want/need new cookware. Finally, a note of caution. Induction cooktops use strong electromagnetic fields. These are generally strongest within about 2-3 feet of the cooktop. Strong electromagnetic fields can impair or completely disrupt the function of a pacemaker. Also, be careful of the jewelry you wear around the inductions cooktops. If any of it is susceptible to electromagnetic radiation, TAKE IT OFF! No sense in getting burned while you cook. This means, rings, watches, bangles, etc. So there it is. I'd buy this NuWave Induction Cooktop again. It's the real deal. Is it perfect? No. But it doesn't cost $15,000 like the unit I was considering for the house. This thing is just very good.
  13. ... ruled by idiots! And they're breeding! And producing dumber idiots quicker than they're dying off!! Who are these people that now cause me to gnash my teeth to nubs? Okay, the background. As I've said time and again, I can't get weeds to grow. I have a black thumb! But SWMBOI can get dead twigs to sprout into might oak trees without effort! We were at Sam's and SWMBOI see a planter that she wants. So, being ever mindful that if SWMBOI is happy, CC is happy, too! So I buy this planter. SWMBOI is happy. I get it some. Some assembly required, batteries not included. I get this thing unpackaged and what do I see? I see an all too vivid reminder that fools, idiots, and the scourge of all mankind, i.e. personal injury attorneys, rule the world. This is what greet me: And then on the instructions, just to make certain everyone got the idea, in the bottom left hand corner of the assembly instructions, the "Lets protect idiots from themselves" message is repeated! Now my questions is this: What kind of fool, idiot, dullard is going to try and climb on this thing? This thing is one square foot at the base! Who the heck is gonna let their kids climb this thing? What is wrong with our world that some parent is gonna watch their kid try and climb this and not think, "Geez, Junior could get hurt!!"? What the he!! has happened to common sense? Common sense isn't so common, or so it would seem. Maybe we should allow the idiots, fools, and dullards to remove themselves from the gene pool. After all is said and done, isn't that what evolution is all about? Survival of the fittest! We have spent the past 50 years, the majority of my life, removing consequences from actions. Maybe it time to reverse that trend. I live in a world perfectly designed by God and run by the lowest common denominator! Ok. I'm off my soapbox. Enough of the rant. P.S. The backyard is a work in progress.
  14. Howdy Gurus! Monday evening, I looked in the freezer to see what I had for dinner on Tuesday evening. There was a chuck roast, almost the last of a cow my brother and I had slaughtered and butchered. I pulled it and thawed it. Below are the results of yesterday's cook. Here is a picture of the guest of honor right out of the package. I decided to lay some smoke, peach smoke specifically, on the chuckie. I got this at Academy. I only used a couple of pieces directly in the heart of the lit lump. I was doing this indirect, hence the heat deflector. I"ll be laying on the smoke at 250ish. No big deal as the real key to this cook is the braising which comes later. I always like to keep my kamados as clean as possible, so I always set a drip pan on my heat deflector. A clean kamado is a safe kamado; no flashbacks for this Okie! And finally here is the chuckie on the grate. The temp probes are to the new iGrill thermometer that operates on BlueTooth. Red for the cook; yellow for the grate temp. I seasoned with my Embarrassed Zebra rub. Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne. As many of you know Beauty! has thermometer probes built in the side through which you can run probes and their wires. Curved probes negate that capability, especially those that have a collar (red and yellow in this case. Hence the probe wires sitting on the lip of Beauty! I smoked this chuckie to about 160F internal according to the probe. Following is a pic of the chuckie at the end of this smoke. Here is picture of the chuckie in a pan with a liquid of beef broth and merlot wine. The veggies are red skin potatoes, turnips, carrots, and grossly chopped onions. Braising is classically combination cooking technique that consists of a sear on the meat and then a lower temp cook in a vessel, generally with some liquid in the bottom. Many of you may know this technique as pot roasting, hence the term pot roast! And here is the chuckie all buttoned up with its foil covering getting ready to be braised at a temp of 350F. It's back on Beauty! for the duration of the cook. Here is a picture of Beauty! holding rock solid smack dab in the middle of a rain storm. Here's the iGrill sitting on the KK teak side table. It's sitting under a glass bowl to protect it from the rain coming down and swirling around. Notice the water on the table. All in all Iwas quite pleased with the performance of the iGrill temperature unit. I had little if any problems with the BlueTooth. This was the first real test and it went well. I can recommend it. This next pic shows the finished product still in the pan after about 5 hours in the roasting portion of the cook. Here is a pic showing that the bone in the chuckie just easily wiggled loose. And finally here is a plated pic of the cook; braised chuckie, root veggies, and a green salad. SWMBOI and I used some of the broth over the meat and on the root veggies. Scrumptious! The chuckie, which can tend to the tough side, was really tender. Total time on smoke was about 2.5 hours and total time braising was about 6.5 hours. Because of the braise, the chuckie was incredibly moist. All in all, this was a very successful cook. I normally would reduce the liquid in the pan and make a gravy. But, SWMBOI's stomach thought her throat and been cut and she wanted to eat NOW! So, ever mindful of who butters my bread ...! Thanks for looking in!
  15. Gurus - I simply HATE autocorrect! I hate it, hate it, HATE IT! I'm so tired of having my computer tell me that I'm an idiot and think I need to be constantly corrected! Take for example our esteemed Guru gerrell. MY computer thins I should substitute guerrilla in place of my friend's screen name. I just had to edit a post where it changed my "gerrell" to "guerrilla" without any prompting on my part. And the dadgummed computer STILL want to do it! Anyone ever read Damn You Auto Correct! And this freaking Net Nun software will probably change D_A_M_N to Darn. And I understand why and support it doing such. I'm just frustrated and need to rant. Okay. I'm back on track!
  16. Howdy Gurus! Well, I was sitting around thinking about Wednesday evening's dinner and thought that I haven't used my Anova Sous Vide in q few weeks. Time to get the hot water to meet the NY Strips. The first thing I did was season the NY Strips with S&P, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Then it was time to seal them in a bag using the Food Saver vacuum packer. Here's a closer view hopefully showing the spices on the meat. Prior to seasoning the NY Strips, I got the Sous Vide controller set up and warming the water to 125F. My Sous Vide is set to keep the water at 125F for 4 hours. Here is a picture of the NY Strips cooking away in the water at 125F. Tonight's sides are brussels sprouts seasoned with a kiss of garlic with a lite cheese sauce and sweet potatoes, Here they are in the belly of TheBeast. It's worth noting at this point that sweet potatoes are really a dense food. They need MUCH more time to cook at temp than brussels sprouts. Make certain you take that into account whenever you cook sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not bake at the same rate as regular white potatoes. Sweets are really more dense and take quite a bit longer. Our cooking temp this evening is 400F. As you can see my temp control skills are slipping. I just hate it when I do that! LOL!! Next comes the cheese sauce. it's nothing more than a blonde roux (just cook the raw dough taste out of the flour), spices, 1 cup of COLD milk, and a couple of cups of sharp cheddar. No big deal. A roux is a basic sauce and dead simple to make and then it serves as the basis for so many sauces. Dead simple ... that's what I like! Here is a plated shot of the final product when everything came together. I like my cheese sauce spicier than does SWMBOI, so I did the cayenne and black pepper workup on mine. We topped the Strips with a nice goat cheese with basil crumbles and the sweet potatoes just got kissed with butter, salt, and pepper. Couldn't be simpler and couldn't be tastier! In fact, it was so tasty, I almost forgot to show the inside of the steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Sorry I don't have a shot of the steaks searing in TheBeast. As the NY Strips were already at 125F, it was throw the steaks on TheBeast, wait a few seconds, turn, wait a few more, flip, and repeat. The Strips came out at a perfect 135F. Here's a picture of the steak cut open. I hope you can see the color of a perfectly done medium rare. Were it not for SWMBOI, this shot wouldn't have happened. This steak was so delicious, I literally forgot about taking pics! Sous Vide makes cooking steaks so easy. Just set the temp of the water bath just just below where you want to final temp to be (medium rare is 130-135F). The longer you cook at temp, the more tender the cut of meat will generally be. You also want to save the juices in the Sous Vide bag as they are simply wonderful poured over the steak. So this was a quick and simple cook. Steak were just to our liking and couldn't have been better! Thanks for looking in.
  17. Howdy Again Gurus! Last night SWMBOI and I were tired at the end of the day. I was looking for something quick, easy, and light. We have a favorite restaurant very near our home here in OKC, Charleston's, and they do a killer flat bread pizza. SWMBOI has been after me to duplicate it and I had the materials on hand, so, what the heck, why not? So here we go. Lit a fire in the belly of TheBeast and got him up to about 425. A little corn meal on the pizza peel ... The sweet Italian sausage hand made from the local grocery ... I bought some Momma Mary's thin and crispy pizza flats at the store. Here it is on the peel ... I whipped up some pesto in the food processor and spread it on the pizza flat ... Added some mozzarella cheese and Roma tomatoes sliced so thin they only had one side ... Then the sweet Italian sausage went on top to complete the flat bread pizza pie ... And into the belly of TheBeast who had heat soaked for about an hour ... Total time to cook was only about 9 minutes at 425F and here's the finished pesto flat bread pizza with sweet Italian sausage ... A view of the finished crust ... And a plated shot of a couple of slices sitting on my best china ... And finally the aftermath ... As you can see, this was a very formal dinner where I use my best china and stemware! When all was said and done, this was a wonderful cook. Next time, I think I would add a few sliced ripe olives. You can also use chicken, beef, etc. I'm also going to add a few jalapeños to the next pie. This was a simple, easy and delicious cook that took very little time and was wonderfully tasty without much work at all. Thanks for looking in.
  18. I had a buddy in Stavanger, Norway, ask me about the KK line. He wanted to get an idea for the relative sizes of the two KKs I have. I took a few pics to given him an idea of what he cold expect. He's a single man and thinking that the KK BB 32" is what he wants when he throws a party every other month! I had to tell him that to spend that kind of money for a large cook every 6-8 weeks was nonsense. I've tried to steer him to the 23'Ultimate or the 19" Hi-Cap. I've also told him that he may just want to wait for the 21" that's supposed to be out in the next few months. I took a few pics and sent them too him. Many of those shots have been posted here and I don't want to repost them. There are, however, a few new ones that hopefully can give you an idea of the difference in size between the 19" Hi-Cap, Beauty! and the 32" BB, TheBeast. Here is my hand on the Top Hat vent of TheBeast and right nest to it the same shot on Beauty! I find the difference striking. Many people have asked how I clean out the ash from the KKs. Here is a shot of the dust pan and brush I use on TheBeast leaning on the Top Hat vent of TheBeast. Not all that impressive, I know. But to give you some perspective, here is that same dust pan and brush in the belly of TheBeast and loaded in Beauty! There is no way I'm using that dustpan and brush to clean out the ash from Beauty! I use a much smaller dust pan and brush for that. Finally, here is a picture of the difference in size in baking stones between Beauty! and TheBeast. There is a good 6" on either side of the baking stone meant for Beauty! Every time I look at those two cookers, I'm struck by how small Beauty! looks in comparison to TheBeast. But then I have to remember that the KJ Classic, Large BGE, etc. the basic models of just about every line of kamados is 18". Beauty is 19" and she is small in the KK lineup! Heck, ckreef's 16.5" Table Top is only an inch and a half smaller than the basic entry kamado for most manufacturers. And that little Table Top ckreef has weighs just about as much as the larger 18" kamados, if not more!
  19. Well, todays was supposed to be the day that I spun some meat. However, technical difficulties prevented spinning meat until further notice. Rather than sulk, I decided to make this evening's consolation prize worth truly enjoying. My motto has always been when life gives you lemons, grab a bottle of vodka and make some LeninAde! Tonight's menu consists of NY Strips, Baby Dutch Golden Potatoes, and Fresh Asparagus! SWMBOI and I had bacon and scrambled eggs with sautéed peppers and onion done on the griddle this morning in the belly of TheBeast. So we had bacon grease left over; yes, we collect bacon grease and use it for cooking! Pork fat rules! Thank you Emeril! So I grab the griddle and I use the bacon fat to coat the potatoes. I love rubbing up potatoes with bacon grease. It's one of the small things that takes me back to my youth learn how to cook in my Mother's kitchen. Here are the small baby golds rubbed up, salted, peppered, dusted with granulated garlic, rosemary and thyme, and sprinkled with some parmesan cheese. They are ready for the belly of TheBeast. Next comes the asparagus. It too gets rubbed with s slight coating of bacon grease, salt and pepper. It's in a tray and ready to sit next to the potatoes. TheBeast hit about 375F and it's time for the potatoes to hit the heat. I've got half the heat deflector in the belly of TheBeast; that just right for roasting potatoes and cooking some asparagus. And dadgummit, I don't have a single pic of the potatoes roasting in TheBeast! The potatoes take about an hour at 375F packed as they are. Here are the NY Strips seasoned with S&P, granulated garlic, and some chipotle pepper. Here is the asparagus on the indirect side and the NY Strips on the direct side. Temp on the direct side for this quick sear was 550F. Here is the end result of the cook before we jumped in with knife and fork. My dear friend, Pete the Salt Pig looks on approvingly as not pigs were involved in dinner tonight! The steaks were seared to a wonderfully delicious medium rare. And here is the end result about 30 minutes later! While I'm disappointed I didn't get to spin some meat today for this evening's dinner, this was a really nice consolation prize that was quick, easy, and very tasty. I'll spin that meat soon, but as long as can entertain SWMBOI with a meal this good, I'm doing okay! Thanks for looking in!
  20. Howdy Gurus! Well, the Ladies, soon to be granddaughters come over last night and wanted me to cook some Mac-N-Cheese to go with the feta and spinach stuffed chicken breasts I told them I was cooking. I said let's go the the store and get the fixin's for the MNC. So we dash to the store, I'm buying cheese like a madman, and we head to checkout. They ask me about the MNC. I don't get it. Then it dawns on me that they have never had scratch MNC and that the only thing they know if from a blue box! LOL!! So I say "Trust Me" and I get The Look! Evidently it runs in the family ... I get the same look from their grandmother, SWMBOI! Here is a pic of the ingredients right before the cook ... mies en plas. Again, The Look. What, Am I speaking a foreign language here? So I have to teach them how to make a roux, the basis for just about every sauce (bosceaux - its the basis for gumbo, ettouffe, etc.) and all they can say is "This better be good!" They are skeptical especially when I added rosemary, thyme, cayenne, Dijon mustard, and nutmeg to the roux! Here is a pic of the MNC just on the grill. "ON THE GRILL?" they asked even more skeptically! Yes my dears, on the grill. And another. As I mentioned, we had chicken breast stuffed with sautéed spinach and garlic, and feta cheese. The Ladies have never heard of feta! I slit the breasts, put in the stuffing mixture, sealed with toothpicks, did a quick egg wash and then rolled in breadcrumbs seasoned with a package of spicy Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Simple, easy, and delicious! Here's a pic of the breasts on the grill next to the MNC. Cooked at 375F until the breasts were at 155F internal. And here is the finished product. Sorry, no money shot, but every morsel of chicken was gone, plates licked, and the leftover MNC packed off to their home for lunch today! The girls loved the MNC, but to my mind next time I will use much more sharp cheddar and no mozzarella and no jack cheese. They are just too mild and added nothing to the flavor profile for me. The Ladies raved about the MNC, but I've done much better. Also, I had forgotten how much baby spinach reduces. I only use a 6 ounce bag and that was much too little an amount. Use a full pound of spinach. I used fresh baby spinach this time and frankly, it was a waste of money. Use a box of frozen spinach ... it works out just as well and costs much less! So all in all, an okay cook. The Ladies LOVE really MNC and discovered that feta cheese is really tasty! Tally one up in the Win Column for CC and Score on for The Team! Thanks for looking in. Y'all have a great weekend with the Family and your friends!
  21. Howdy Gurus! Well, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of my 21st birthday! I've beaten the odds again. I collected BIG bucks on the over/under at 40 and again when I hit 60. Given that I'm playing with House money at this point, I decided to treat myself for surviving my best efforts to plant myself. I went out and bought an iGrill 2 Bluetooth Connected Thermometer! So here is the unboxing and a mini review. Here is the box that showed up from Amazon: When you cut through the tape sealing the box and get the lid off, here is what greats your eye: And here is with the instructions removed: SURPRISE of all surprises! Batteries INCLUDED! You could have knocked my over with a feather. And here are the batteries installed in the unit: Here is a picture of the brains of the iGrill 2 next to its magnetic base: As you can see it is searching for a Bluetooth connection. As I mentioned above, the base of the iGrill 2 is magnetic. Here is a picture of it slapped on my refrigerator: I guess I'm out of luck with the magnetic feature here as KKs are all refractory and stainless steel, but the base is substantial and will sit just quite nicely on Beauty! and TheBeast's teak side tables. Two angled probes were included with the base unit. The probes are 4 foot long and coated with a braided wire covering. They seem to be of very good quality and when I tested then against the boiling point of water adjusted for altitude here in OKC (about -1F per 500 feet altitude), they were spot on (about 210F)! Here is a post that tells you specifically how to determine the accuracy of your probes. Here is a picture of the probes, their cases which are durably made, and act as a reel for when you stow the iGrill 2. And finally, here is a picture of the base unit with the two probes. Notice that the base unit has the capability of reading 4 temperatures simultaneously. There are 4 jacks for the temp probes. When I use this thermometer, I'll be using one probe for the main grate and 3 probes for tracking the temps in/on various cooks. This unit shipped with two probes and additional probes are available form the manufacturer at $25 each. I could not find them listed on Amazon. Here are the Dick and jane simple instructions that came with the iGrill 2. Even I can read and follow these directions! Gurus, some have downgraded their viewpoint of this thermometer because it is a Bluetooth technology based instrument. Bluetooth is, by its very nature, limited in its range. I didn't find this to be a problem in my test of it's operational parameters. My recliner is well within the limited range of Bluetooth (approximately 150 ft as quoted by the mfgr.). Bluetooth performance is substantially degraded by solid structures. I didn't have any problems over the distances I sampled (about 75 feet max.). So in way of synopsizing, I found this thermometer to be well package, solidly built, the probes are very accurate as proved by the boiling point of water, and the Bluetooth range was not a problem. The App that I downloaded from the App Store is well designed and offers more than just means of graphically capturing thermocouple data. Because of the Bluetooth technology, this device may not be for everyone. If you think it is for you, buy it through Amazon, test the Bluetooth effectiveness for yourself. It it proves out not to be what works best for you, return it immediately to Amazon. Make certain to review Amazon's Return Policies before hitting the purchase button. I'll post a more comprehensive review after my first cook with this thermometer.
  22. Gurus! People who see a KK are oft times taken aback by the shear size of even the smaller units. I know that when my next door neighbor heard I was getting a smaller 19" KK, he said he couldn't wait to see it. He's beyond impressed with TheBeast and he has cooked on him a couple of times. He just shakes his head. So when my neighbor saw Beauty!, my new 19" Hi-Cap KK, he said "I thought you said it was small!" I told him compared to TheBeast Beauty was svelte and petite! He just laughed! My neighbor wanted to help me get Beauty! in her cradle. Like g.michael here on the Kamado Guru site, he quickly figured out it wasn't a 2 man job. He then offered his pickup to go get an Engine Hoist from a friend of his who owned a garage! An Engine Hoist! My neighbor said you just don't get a feel for these grills even by looking at them. His son was over this past weekend. The son is a really big BGE fan. His sone took one look at Beauty! and said it was bigger than his Large BGE. Then he looked at TheBeast and said it's the biggest F'ing cooker he had ever seen. That night I ran across Wilbur's famous hot dog picture, you know the one, with 4 hotdogs on the grill. That triggered an idea! I had some hot dogsI I could create a Hot Dawg Scale to give you an idea of how these grills compare in size. Hotdogs are pretty standard in size, so it's perfect for comparison. Wilbur's picture has 4 dogs in it. What I'm about to show only has one because the cats here got the other 3. Don't even go there! Here are the 32, 23, and 19 in sequence: Here they are all 3 sidebar side by side: I hope that gives you an idea of the size differentials using my standard measurement tool, the HOT DAWG SCALE!
  23. I just got off the phone with a dear BBQ friend down in Houston. He is an ER Doc at one of the largest ER Departments in Houston. He reminded me why I use my Nylon Bristle Cold Grill cleaning brush and NOT a wire brush of any fashion. About 15 years ago, we had a mutual friend who used a wire brush to clean his grates after every cook. He used the same brush for a couple of years. He started having stomach pains and presented himself to the ER 3 days after the stomach pains began. He was doubled up in pain. X-rays showed he had ingested a wire from his cleaning brush. Emergency surgery was performed, the offending wire removed, and he stayed in the hospital a couple of days on an IV antibiotic drip to kill the infection raging in his gut where the wire had perforated his intestine. When he got home, he emptied his firebox and ran a magnet through the lump. He found almost 20 more wires that had not remained on the grill. The take aways: NEVER use wire bristled brushes join your grate for any reason whatsoever. Since that time, I never use a wire brush of any sort to clean my grills. The last couple of years I use the following product by Char Griller and 3M and I do it on a COLD grill. Here is the product I use today. I found this at Lowe's, but I'm sure other stores of that ilk carry them. For $13 it's dirt cheap! Here are the 3M pads I use after the Nylon Brush. They cost about $6 for 3 at Lowe's. The Nylon Bristle Brush has pads that are easily replaced as follows. Here is a picture of both the new and old scrapers. Here you can see the little depressible tab just opposite the white dot in the bristles. This next photo shows the screwdriver I use to depress the tab to change things out. Now we see how the Nylon Bristle pad just pops out. Here is the empty scraper with the spent Nylon Bristle Cartridge on the left and a new cartridge in the carton before I snap it into the scraper. And finally here is the completed job. I have two of these Char Griller scrapers; one for Beauty! and one for TheBeast. I'd never use anything else. I clean Beauty! and TheBeast after every cook with a high temp burn to about 600-650F for 5 minutes. That gets everything to a point where I can put the Scraper to use the next day when everything is cool. Now I know most people use meat brushes, but that just playing with fire, no pun intended. These Char Griller scraper do a better job than anything I've ever found and they're safe!
  24. Gurus! Today, the saga ends, Beauty! was delivered at 2:30 p.m. weighing in at a svelte 548 pounds including all the extras! I about froze outside while Tom got her off the truck and safely into my garage. Here are a couple pics to whet your whistle for what's to come. This first picture of Beauty and her delivery driver, Tom. Tom delivered TheBeast to my home last August and remember him quite well. He said that Beauty! is a small little thing compared to her bigger brother! Beauty! herself weighs in at 338 lbs compared to TheBeast at 954 lbs! Quite a difference. Tom is a really great guy and told me he'd put Beauty anyplace I wanted. Here is Beauty! riding the lift gate down to the street. Here is another pic of Beauty! giving you an idea of all the accessories that came with her. As is the case with everything KK, it is so well wrapped as to preclude any damage in transit! That's all I have for right now. As I post this it is now 24F and with the wind chill it feels like 14F. I'm going to have to bring all the boxes into the house and open them in here. IT's just too dadgummed cold to do anything in the garage and NO! I don't have a garage heater. My hands are frozen and my fingers just now beginning to thaw out! More to come!
  25. Gurus, I was cruising through the KK Website when I happened across the following article on why kamados in general and KKs specifically are, in my estimation, better cookers than gassers, stick burners, or kettles. Many people ask why kamados are superior. The following answers that question quite well, I think. Thanks to Dennis Linkletter for putting the answer to that questions much better than I ever could. While Dennis speaks directly to why we KK owners think/know why the KK experience is so unique, the theory hold for all kamado cookers. Ceramic SmokersI’m always asked what the buzz all about, why so many people drink are over the top excessively enthusiastic for ceramic grills, if they really produce better food than metal grills and why. Yes and no.. armed with enough skills people can produce amazing food on just about any grill. (but they don’t get much sleep) On the other hand, people who have never cooked can produce amazing Q on their first cook with a KK. It’s all about the airflow, metal grills actually radiate heat and loose heat like I sieve loses water. Huge volumes of charcoal must be burned to maintain your cooking temperature because a large percentage that he literally radiated from the body. Burning large volumes of charcoal requires large volumes of air to pass through the grill. This hot dry air of course causes more evaporation and shrinkage. Traditional ceramic grills use the mass of their dense glazed bodies to reduce heat loss. The result is they use less charcoal, have less airflow, therefore the meat retains more moisture. While much more efficient than the metal grill these ceramic grills actually have no insulation it’s only their additional mass that gives them the superior performance over metal grills. While there’s a great difference between and airflow in a metal grill and a glazed ceramic Kamado, the the difference between these traditional ceramic grills and Komodo Kamado is even more dramatic. In addition to the thick dense hot face, there are also multiple types of actual installation to keep the heat in and cold out. The performance is unheard of before this new class of grill was built. For example one basket / 16 lbs of charcoal burned at 235ºf ran for 85 hours. Not only is there less evaporation but the vapor released when the char burns has more time to condense on the meat and this is how the complex flavor profile of the charcoal is passed to the meat. The insulation provides previously unheard of stability for set and forget low and slow cooking.. no more staying up all night tending your fire and chasing temperature. You can easily set your airflow which sets your cooking temp, go to sleep, wake up to find it chugging away at the exact same temp you left it.. Common sense shows that a 140lb grill just can’t hold heat like a 588 lb or 940 lb Komodo Kamado.
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