Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Traeger & cook area

Below you see my cooking equipment, my Traeger 07E, to the left is a gas cooker w/cast iron skillet & to the right is a fish friar on the cabinet.
Since this photo I have added a Weber Q100 gas grill. Below that you see a photo of me & my faithful companion. Click on any photo to view larger size it opens in a slide viewer with all the photos in the post.

My Smokin Deck,I can cook rain or shine.

Set up for winter weather

Friday, January 1, 2016

Let's Talk BBQ, One Great Forum

Let’s Talk BBQ; no matter what you cook on this is one great forum for discussing BBQ and learning about BBQ. Whether you use a grill, smoker, or other type of cooker, using gas, wood, charcoal, or electric for fuel there is a place for you there.

Their rules are pretty simple; just treat others the way you want to be treated. Leave your ego at home and have fun learning and discussing cooking and food in a family way.

Most members are from the USA but they are slowly getting some international members. I know of two from Australia and one each from Germany and S. Africa. There may be some from England. I like this since we can learn about other recipes and ways to do BBQ than in our own country.

The forum is laid out well; there are different sections for each style cooker, a recipe section, a general section, a place for sausage making and a place for other hobbies. There are a lot of knowledgeable members there now.

I do most all my BBQ on my Traeger wood pellet smoker; but can adapt most recipes from other types of cookers. I use it year around and do most all of the cooking for my wife and I.

So; if you want to talk BBQ get over there sign up and join in the fun of cooking and eating some good BBQ.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Installed a new v.3 Savannah Stoker Controller on my Traeger

I have been wanting to get one of these controllers for over a year now. Billy Merrill sells them and is a member and sponsor of Lets Talk BBQ forum.

I would highly recommend this controller for a Traeger, it is plug and play. It will work with other pellet smokers too, for any questions you can e-mail Billy at Billy also has a facebook page if you want to check that out click here.

Feb 07 2015
I changed the date above the post so it stays in the front for a while. 

We had a nice day Saturday, 43 deg. F. The ice was all melted on my patio so I could get to my smoke deck and install my new Savannah Stoker v.3 controller on my Traeger 07E pellet smoker. The SS controller is a PID device to control pellet smokers. It is a type of controller that most all manufactures are going to now. It comes with the correct plugs for the Traeger so is a simple job to change out. It is just a matter of removing the old one unplugging it and installing the new one.

It comes with a new RTD, real temperature device, you need to install and that is a matter of removing the old one, one screw holding it. That is only about a 10 minute job. I got the old controller removed and the new RTD installed. I had just a little trouble getting the new controller installed; the one plug was too short to access through the opening.  I had to reach under the pellet bin and hold the plug with one hand and reach through the opening to plug the new one in. If the 4 plugs are long enough to access through the hole it is a snap to install.

I had cleaned out my smoker and when I got the new controller installed I was ready to try it out. I had a ½ pound of smoked sausage and a pound of jowl bacon from my butchers I want to do for some bean soup Sunday. I fired it up and let get to the set temp of 225 deg. F. I had my Maverick probe placed at grill level in the middle front of the grate to double check the temps.

I did the sausage for one hour at 225 deg. then removed. I let the bacon go another hour at 325 deg. F. It worked like a charm and most of the time was within 5 deg. of the set temperature. The lowest I saw at 225 deg. was 10 under and 11 over the set temperature over an hour. I was getting some nice smoke too. When I went to set temperature of 325 deg. it was there in 15 minutes. I was getting about the same fluctuation of +- 10 deg. whenever it went over or under it didn’t stay there long and quickly corrected.

I was amazed at how close the RTD and my Maverick probe, at grill level were. With my old Traeger 180 I always ran about 25 deg. hotter at grill level. With my Ortech I was 25 to 50 deg. hotter. After I went to 325 deg. with my SS controller I did see the grill level at 15 deg. hotter.

I don’t have a nice chart to show you like Savannah Smoker did but I recorded the different temps by taking photos and the times are in the photos metadata.

RTD = real temperature                                ST= set temperature          MPT= Maverick temp grill level

               RTD        ST         MPT
6:00        224         225         223
6:15        226         225         225
6:30        225         225         226
6:45        236         225         235
7:00        215         225         217
Wen to 325 deg.
7:15        328         325         338
7:50        328         325         343

After my first cook I am more than happy with the way this controller is running. Most of the time it is running about dead on set temp. I can live with the small +- swings I got and I think you need some ups and downs to get better smoke. I left the fan set on speed 3 for this cook. I plan on some ribs for my next cook and will try fan speed 2 for the 3 hours of smoke setting at 180 deg.

New controller

Removing the old

New RTD installed

Installing the new

Ready to cook

6:00 PM meat added


7:00 removed sausage



8:00 bacon done and shut down
took about 25 minutes to cool and shut down

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Crockpot Beef Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes

Feb 18 2015

It feels like we are in a deep freeze here in NW Ohio! It is 3 deg. right now and a high of 5 deg. tomorrow! I just looked at the temps across the US and its cold everywhere! The only place that looked half warm was CA a high of 59 deg.

One of our favorite winter meals; a beef pot roast sure tasted good tonight. I knew when I picked out this beef chuck roast at Sam’s it would be tender. I got up early and got it in the Crockpot at 7:30. I seasoned with a little salt and pepper and seared; then on some sliced onions, deglazed the skillet and added that to the pot. I then added a half a lager beer and beef broth to come up half way on the meat.  I put it on high to get heated for a half hour then set it to low and I went back to bed a while.

I got up at 9:00 and cleaned about 6 carrots and two parsnips and added them to the Crockpot. After lunch I made up a pint of Creole mustard. I will post the recipe for it tomorrow.

At 4:00 I removed the roast and got rid of the fat and skimmed some of the fat from the pot; then added the meat back in.

At 5:00 I baked a take home baguette and made some mashed potatoes. At 5:30 I mixed a packet of Pioneer brown gravy mix with a half cup of water and added that to the Crockpot to make some good gravy.

We ate at 6:00 and with some bread and butter it all hit the spot! That was some of the most tender beef I have had in a while. The gravy had great flavor too.

My supper

The beef


In the pot

After nine hours

Fat removed and beef added back

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pulled Pork Enchilladas

Feb 17 2015

After seeing several Lets Talk BBQ forum members make some great looking tacos the last few days I was hungry for some Mexican style food. I had some pulled pork thawed out that I had done in a peach sauce. I used some for my stuffed cornbread. What was left would work for tonight’s supper.

I bought some flour tortillas, Old El Paso enchilada sauce and some Rico’s Con Queso white cheddar. I heated up the pork and added a little of the enchilada sauce. I sautéed a sliced onion and some sliced red and green peppers.

I covered the bottom of a casserole dish with some enchilada sauce. I made up the enchiladas with some of the pork some of the onions and peppers and some shredded cheese. I made four and they went in the casserole dish; I poured some enchilada sauce over both ends and some of the white cheddar in the middle. I sprinkled some Cajun seasoning over all. It went into a 360 deg. preheated oven for 25 minutes. I then turned the broiler on to brown the cheese some. While I was watching the cheese the tortillas was getting almost burnt on the ends. When I saw that I got it out quick. It didn’t get bad enough to affect the taste though!

My wife had a side salad with hers; I had an avocado with a little lime juice, Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and sour cream. Some sliced lettuce and fresh salsa. It was not as pretty as some of the other dishes I saw cooked in LTBBQ but tasted pretty good!

My supper

Heating the pork

Onions and peppers sauteing

Making an enchillada

Ready for the oven

Ready to serve

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pork Stuffed Cornbread and Mac N Cheese

Feb 15 2015

I have fixed cornbread many ways; adding bacon, cheese, peppers and onions to the batter in any combination. I got the idea for stuffing it with pulled pork from Regina Charboneau’s Mississippi Current cookbook. She used a square muffin pan and filled halfway with her cornbread mix, added a Tbs. of pulled pork and some chopped mustard greens then more batter and baked. It looked delicious.

I had found a muffin pan that had 8 oblong mini loaves to use.  I cheated some and used my favorite cornbread mix; Miracle Maize Sweet. I had some pulled pork I had done with peaches thawed out. I chopped it up some and added a little BBQ sauce. I didn’t add any greens to mine. I baked them at 350 deg. for 30 minutes.

For our sides I had peas and some baked Mac and cheese that was supposed to be a recipe from Sam and Daves BBQ in Marietta, GA. It had three cheeses and I used half and half instead of cream; and topped it with some Savor’s Savor All. I just made a half recipe that served four.

Our daughter in law and grandson came to eat with us. I made 4 of the cornbread loaves plain for her. We all thought it was all good. I thought the Mac and cheese could have had some more half and half added to be creamier. The cornbread and Mac and cheese were easy to fix together; they both baked at 350 deg. and was done in 30 minutes.

Click here for Mac N Cheese recipe

Some ingredients

Mac N Cheese ready to bake

Making up the cornbread

Cornbreads done

Mac N Cheese done

My supper

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beef Tenderloins, Baked Potatoes and Corn

Feb 10 2015

A couple of weeks ago the wife was supposed to by tenderloins at Sams Club and came home with eye of round steaks. She finally made it back there and bought the right ones. They usually come in a two pound package and 3 or 4 steaks. The pack she bought was two large ones and two small ones. I wish they would pack them the same size. These are full of flavor, tender and better than any you can get in a restaurant. They were $13.88 a pound.

I had baked potatoes and corn on the cob with the steaks. Corn on the cob is not in season here but I bought some in the store that looked pretty good. I steamed them in my rice cooker and they were pretty decent; not as good as fresh picked but good.

I seasoned the steaks with a little grey sea salt and they went on a rack, covered with plastic wrap and in the fridge for 2 hours before cooking. I heated a skillet on med. high and seared the steaks in a little olive oil 4 minutes and then turned for another 3 minutes then skillet and all went in the 350 deg. oven with the baked potatoes for 5 minutes. I let them set for 5 minutes before cutting into.

I had used this method and times before but should have known I usually was doing steaks 1 to 1 and ¼ inches thick. These were 1 ¾ inches thick. They were too rare for both the wife and I so a quick nuke in the microwave took care of that. If you can get your times down, a sear in a skillet and then in a 350 deg. oven is the best way I have found to cook steaks indoors.

It all was delicious! Even after nuking mine was a little rarer than I usually like but was tasty!

My Supper


Salted and in the fridge for two hours


My plate and corn

Before nuking, a little rare

Last two bites! Good!