Hey guys, I just got done with my first big low and slow cook yesterday. Pork butt cooked perfectly for 10+ hours only to find (literally) hundreds of wire brush bristles sitting in my drip pan when I went to clean everything out. Obviously, this can be a health concern and I even found 2 stuck to the bottom of the grate when I started double checking so the whole batch had to go straight into the trash...completely gut wrenching (but hopefully not literally, we did eat 2 sandwiches before we saw this).
What are you guys using to clean your grates? These bristle brushes have me freaked out now but there is a lot of skepticism around the effectiveness of some of the alternatives. At this point, I just need to know what works well on the KJ so everyone stays safe and no more hard work has to go in the garbage.
Thanks in advance!
By Colin Barbeau
Good day guys,
This is my first post, I was waiting to have something new to post before officially joining. Been looking at the forum for the last year: great stuff! I was very frustrated with the plastic shelves that came with the KJ (can melt) and I am not a fan of building a cart for my kamado: it takes place on the deck, it blocks the view and gathers snow (IMO). I like shelves, they fold back when you're done and you don't see them anymore. I wanted shelves that are easy to clean, that are foldable, that support heat and that are wider than the standard ones, so I could fit a rib rack or a fully loaded divide and conquer without balance issues. I tried to keep the cost as low as possible while maintaining a design that was sturdy and would last a lifetime. 80 bucks later (Canadian bucks!), I had two aluminum shelves, 50% wider than the original ones and they are also lighter. You can't imagine the joy I got the first time I placed a hot ceramic heat diffuser on the shelves. Wow, this is a cheap luxury and I dig it! Anyhow, if you guys want to build them, it is relatively easy: - Two 15.5 x 15.5 x 1/8 thk aluminum plates - Four 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/16 thk square aluminum tubes, 15 1/4 long (slightly shorter than the plates, just to be sure they don't protrude) - 16 rivets, 3/16 diameters The tubes are mounted on the original KJ black steel brackets (remove the plastic bars), drill the tubes through the existing screw holes on the brackets and rivet in place. Position the plate, drill and rivet in the tubes. Hope this will help someone, we deserve better than meltable shelves Cheers and all the best during these challenging times. -Colin
Hi. I am new too the board. I love my Char-Griller Akorn and have had it almost 3 years. Unfortunately, it recently got way too hot and now is in need of an overhaul I have the crimson red version, but now has a black ring around it where paint burned off (where cover meets bottom half as well as around vent structure up top due to the heat) when it went well past the 700 degrees on the thermometer. I have a few questions I am asking for help with below. Some more background....I've never properly seasoned the grate so that is my first step using Pam and heating to 400 degrees for an hour. Also, I have pinched the gasket after my disaster cook and that seems to have bounced back fine.
1. Inside of top of grill is kind of a brown/rust color after this incident. I lightly brushed and wiped with a wet cloth the next day, but after my next cook it still doesn't look right. Prior to this I would experience the black flakiness that others have mentioned and would brush periodically. But how do I clean this current situation?
2. I would like to try and match the original color as best as possible, but am having trouble. I have linked color I have below. I'm going to use a flat high-heat paint for the black legs and bottom stand, but I think I need a gloss for red to be consistent with how a new Char-griller Akorn--correct? Finding a dark red, high heat paint in gloss is proving to be difficult.
3. Any other tips/advice welcome?!?!?
I am so bummed this happened and am kicking myself, but hoping you all can help.
Cleaning and Sanitizing for Food Safety
I am a believer in proper cleaning and sanitizing before, during and after food prep especially in my sausage making and charcuterie. Including frequent hand washing (seems more like constant hand washing making sausage), use of gloves, and proper sanitizing steps.
While this food safety topic sounds simple, it deserves more than a cursory level of attention. It never pays to take food safety lightly and this is one area that is easy to neglect, overlook or become complacent about or think that soap and hot water is all that is needed – it’s not for many of our cooking activities - so the sanitizing part becomes important.
I thought I would share some of the products I use for sanitizing in this regard - with a focus on commercial purpose made products.
This is a good article that outlines the key aspects of cleaning and sanitizing for food safety. http://www.foodsafetysite.com/resources/pdfs/EnglishServSafe/ENGSection11Cleaning.pdf And another one here with more science aspects: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FS/FS07700.pdf
And finally if you want to really be immersed in the overall topic of food safety, there is a 6 part You Tube series that is a course. Look for the Series titled "State-of-the-art Food Safety Training" at http://www.efoodhandlers.com/
Now, moving on to some sanitizer info...
This is the old and effective standby. Always handy to have around. Good info here on using bleach as a sanitizer for food safety: http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/26437.pdf
Edit: As always, heed the admonition to not mix bleach with other products lest chlorine gas be released in a reaction. This directly applies to bleach and the purpose made commercial sanitizers (such as Star San) where it is specifically called out as a "Do Not Mix with Chlorinated Cleaning Products". From a science perspective, mixing a hypochlorite bleach with an acid (which is in the make-up of many sanitizers) can liberate the chlorine gas.
Of course, while bleach is good there are reasons to look at other sanitizing products. Here is an approach we employ in the Smokehowze household:
Some Commercial Purpose Made Sanitizer Products
I (and the family now) use the Star San sanitizer concentrate (https://www.amazon.com/Star-San/dp/B01N592OM6) mixed in a foaming spray bottle (0.74 ml in 16 oz water - 1/8 tsp is 0.61 ml - so 1/8 tsp and a few drops more or use a 1 ml syringe or dropper). Pay attention to the shelf life aspects after mixing up a batch if you use the typical tap water – 1 to 2 weeks depending on your water. With distilled water it supposedly keeps its sanitizing potency after mixing for a long long time (months). It’s great to rinse dishes, utensils, prep tools or bottles and jars that need sanitizing – as well as to spray on equipment. Beer making folks like this sanitizer. More info here: http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-content/uploads/StarSanTech-HB2.pdf
We have also tried and now keep on hand a bottle of the Betco Sanibet RTU (ready to use commercial spray sanitizer) http://www.betco.com/search?indexCatalogue=searchindex&searchQuery=sanibet+rtu&wordsMode=0 ) which I have bought at Restaurant Depot by the bottle (~ $2.40 as I recall) - also available on Amazon and Office Depot in case lots. It is also odorless. No mixing required. Comes in a spray bottle. Good product and seems to have a longer shelf life.
There are others that are available besides these – but I have not used them.
Consumer Focused Convenience Disinfecting Wipes
Then there are the pull-up disinfecting (not baby) wipes. Like these Clorox pull-up wipes ( these https://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-disinfecting-wipes/?gclid=COOc4oCVk9ECFVgvgQodUgADeQ) or equivalent (Lysol and store brands, for example) which are available at Sam’s and Costco and elsewhere in multi packs – often on sale. Look carefully at the labels on “store brands” to ensure the right level of ingredients. Good to have these around as part of the tool kit. Convenient for sure. But one needs to be cognizant of the various fragrances they all seems to add to their wipes products.
When not using bleach in its many ways (including in food safety), I now prefer and have gravitated to, using the commercial santizers and the disinfecting wipes in differing situations. The commercial sanitizers and the wipes are in the cabinet under the sink in the kitchen for easy use. Most of the time we just keep the spray bottle out on the counter.
The Star San and Betco Sanibet are odorless and as far as I can tell in my purchasing searches all the consumer pull-up wipe brands have some fragrance in them. Why can’t they sell a wipe version with no fragrance?…argghhh! Dumb!
My preference is Star San for making up a rinsing mix when I need more than just a small amount like for jars and bottles and such. I use the Star San mix in a spray bottle or the Sanibet RTU for use on the direct cooking surfaces such as cutting boards and on my meat grinder, slicer machine, prep tools, etc or even my hands or nitrile gloves and counter tops and such where I prefer not to have any potential lingering fragrance impact like in the wipes. I reserve the wipes for quick counter top, sink or general sanitizing during and after raw food prep.
I urge you (and your family) to consider both cleaning and sanitizing in your cooking activities. It seems in today’s food world there are a lot of new variables one did not need to be as concerned about (or to the same degree) in the past as there is today.
Cook safe, my friends!