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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day week-end pulled Beef and Chicken

May 23 2015

Memorial Day is the holiday in the US we honor all those who died in the service of their country. A lot of people also honor loved ones who have passed. When I grew up in the 50’s we had to go to the cemetery, till up the graves and plant flowers before the week-end. Then every week all summer we had to go water the plants. It is also the first holiday of the summer and now it is time for all those who are into camping to get their gear all ready for the camp ground. For me it is time to do some good BBQ and outdoor cooking.

I have most of my cooking done for the week-end. Our daughter from the Chicago area is supposed to be here today. The son and wife and grandson went to her parents for today. Yesterday I smoked a chicken and a two pound beef arm roast and pulled the meat of both. I am just going to let everyone help themselves and make whatever they want. I have buns for sandwiches, corn and flour tortillas and fixings for tacos or wraps.

I brined the chicken overnight, about 9 hours the rinsed and dried and in the fridge for about 4 hours to air dry. I got the beef roast seasoned with a little Worcestershire sauce, Tee’s Savor top secret seasoning and some dried garlic flakes.

I had my Traeger heated to 225 deg. and put the roast on the grill. It took an hour and half to get to 140 deg. IT. It then went in a roaster pan, added some onions, one can of beer, (all but two swallows), and beef broth to come up half way on the roast. I covered it with foil and back on the grill at 250 deg. It took about 3 hours and forty minutes to get it to 203 deg. IT when I took it inside to cool some. I removed what fat there was and pulled it and strained off the fat from the broth. I added some back to the meat and saved the rest. A chuck roast would have been better; the arm roast was a little tough pulling but should make good sandwiches.

After I had the beef done I prepped the chicken; a pat of butter under each breast skin. I rubbed it with a little mayonnaise, about a teaspoon for the bottom and one for the top. I seasoned it generously with Penzey’s Galena St. rub. It went on the grill for 40 minutes at 225 deg. I then inserted a temp probe and went to 325 deg. and went to 350 deg. the last 20 minutes. I took it to 180 deg. breast IT and took a total of just over two hours. Some may think 180 deg. is a little high but if you have brined the bird it will be moist and pull apart easily for shredding.

The temps I gave were grill level and my Savannah V3 controller did a nice job of holding pretty steady. I did something a little different this time. I usually nuke the skin for a treat or discard when pulling a chicken. This time I nuked it for a minute, turned and another minute to get it crisp and then chopped and added to the chicken meat.

Beef arm roast

At 140 deg. IT ready to foil and braise

Beer, beef broth and onions added before foiling

Cooled and ready to pull

Ready for the week-end

The chicken

Bottom seasoned

Top seasoned

On the smoker, about done


Skin nuked and chopped to add

Ready for some sandwiches or tacos

Friday, May 22, 2015

Finger Steaks, Asparagus and Corn on the Cob

May 21 2015

It was a cool 60 deg. and cloudy about all day; the sun came out about 4:00. I ran the hand mower around to tri today and will finish with the rider tomorrow so I will have it nice for the week-end and relax. It is supposed to be warmer Sat. and Sun. I don’t have any big meals planned for Memorial Day; our daughter will be here and the son and family will be in and out. Our daughter lives in the Chicago area and we haven’t seen her for a while so will be nice to have her here.

We will go out to eat some and Sunday plan on getting some good broasted chicken from Sandman’s carry out. I am going to smoke a beef arm roast and a chicken tomorrow and pull the meat for sandwiches, tacos or wraps; like help yourself and get your own!

Tonight’s supper was easy with not much prepping; finger steaks and asparagus on the Traeger and some corn on the cob steamed in my rice cooker. I cut the sirloin steak in finger size pieces; a light spry of olive oil, a little Worcestershire sauce and some of Tees Savor Top Secret seasoning. It set for about 25 minutes before going on the grill. I was going to use my Weber Spirit but the Grillen Grates were already in the Traeger so thought I would use it. I was too lazy to remove both covers and move the grates!

I also washed and cut the asparagus and made two bundles with silicone rubber bands and drizzled on olive oil and white balsamic vinegar; seasoned with Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle. They sat for a while too.

I had the corn in the steamer and the Traeger heated to 325 deg. which was about 350 deg. grill level. The steak and asparagus went on the Grillen grates about 6 to 7 minutes then turned for another 6 minutes.

I had some Saucy Sow’s smoky horseradish sauce to dip my steak in and had butter, parmesan and some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle on my corn. The corn was good for shipped in from the grocery and the steak was tender and tasty. Tee’s Top Secret goes great with beef!

Sirloin steak


Asparagus bundles

Corn ready to steam

All done on the Traeger

My supper

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cider Marinated Chicken Thigh Stacks

May 19 2015

Our nice 80 to 85 deg. temps left and a few days of cool 65 deg. weather has come in. Crazy Ohio weather!

I had not made any of my muffin pan chicken stacks in a while and I wanted something to take to my 93 year old Mother tomorrow. I got some of the ideas from a Rachael Ray recipe for a skillet meal. I took her ingredients, apple cider, sage, thyme and nutmeg to make a marinade for the chicken thighs.

I got my chicken thighs in to marinade about 4 hours before making them up. I had some Heartland organic thigh filets to use. They were large thighs so took an hour and 45 minutes to get to an IT above 170 deg. I love doing these muffin pan stacks and it is an easy way to get some bacon wrapped stuffed chicken without all the hassle of getting them wrapped. You do them for a half hour to 45 minutes and they are set up enough to remove from the pan and go on the grate to finish up.

I had some easy sides; Zatarain’s Yellow rice done in my rice cooker and some stuffed mushrooms from one grocery in town that are pretty decent. I get my rice started about 50 minutes before I plan to serve and it is done and on warm hold when we are ready to eat. I put the mushrooms on my smoker for the last 15 to 20 minutes. I had a loaf of garlic loaf of take home and bake bread for bread and a little butter to make all taste good!

The chicken stacks were tender and moist with great flavor; a keeper recipe for me. Seasoning wise mine needed more salt and next time I may add a little more sage. Anytime I use sage I want it to be a background flavor; not the first thing you taste. I used about 3 shakes and will try 6 the next time. I was a little leery of the sage, thyme, nutmeg mix but for this I think it works if you get it right for your taste.

My wife gave me a thumbs up on the chicken!

Click here for printable recipe

Chicken ready for the fridge

Onion and apple slices

Making the stacks

40 Minutes in and ready to remove from the pan

Mushrooms added

About done

Stuffed mushrooms

Stacks ready to serve

My supper

Monday, May 18, 2015

Greek BBRibs and Potato Salad

May 17 2015

It was a long hard day for me; I don’t like to mow on Sunday but had to between the rains or I would be makin hay! I get hungry for some different ribs sometimes and these Greek style BBRibs are my favorite.
The juice and zest from a lemon, garlic and oregano give them some great flavor. I got them made up and wrapped in plastic wrap and in the fridge for 4 ½ hours. I did add a light coat of Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle this time. It is a garlic and herb salt.

I steamed two pounds of little red potatoes and made up the potato salad from a recipe I adapted from Ina Garten. It is simple and tasty, mayo, sour cream, celery and onions. I added a healthy shake or three of the sandwich sprinkle to it for a change. I omitted the Dijon mustard since I forgot it! After I made up the potato salad I cleaned out my smoker and a new sheet of foil on the drip pan.

I started mowing about 12:15 and got all done but the back yard. I fired up the Traeger at 1:30 set on 200 deg. I moved my Maverick probe to the left side close to the RTD probe to see how they were comparing and they were always within 4 deg. I will give the settings on my Savannah Stoker v3 controller and know I was running 25 to 30 deg. hotter in the middle at grill level.

I got the ribs on at 2:00 for an hour at 200 deg. then went to 225 for the rest of the cook. After an hour and 40 minutes I checked and the ribs looked a little dry so sprayed a light coat of olive oil on. At 4:00 I wrapped the ribs in foil for an hour then removed for the last hour. That was a total of 4 hours. The Savannah Stoker V3 held good temps and got nice smoke.

After I got the ribs on I finished mowing the back yard. The kids stopped in and our son ran the trim mower around the house and fence. I was glad of that since I was going to let the trimming go.

At 6:00 the ribs were done so took them inside to rest a bit and made up some garlic bread under the broiler and heated up some white bean mash for myself. The ribs tasted good for a change without BBQ seasoning or sauce and they were done about right for me. A good Greek salad or potato salad would be a good side for these ribs too.

Click here for printable rib recipe

My favorite zester

For the ribs

Seasoned and ready for the fridge

For the potato salad

All in to mix

Ready to chill

An hour and 40 minutes in

Wrapped at 2 hours.

After an hour in the foil

Done after 4 hours

My supper