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

Monday, April 27, 2015

CP IPA Shredded Beef Sandwiches

Apr 26 2015

It was a nice sunny 57 deg. today; nice enough to cook out but I had some chores and just wanted to relax. Supper would be a beef arm roast in the Crockpot all day, some oven fast food fries and corn on the cob.

I am not sure how long ago I started using beer whenever braising meat but I just about always do now. I like to use dark beer but lager is good too if I don’t have dark on hand. I had some Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA to use. I never tried IPA, India Pale Ale, before but I like this one that has a citrus undertone. I thought it would go good with the beef.

I seasoned the beef with some fresh ground pepper and coated with flour; then seared in a hot skillet with a little olive oil 3 minutes on each side. It went on top of some sliced onions in the Crockpot. I sprinkled some dried garlic flakes on top. I mixed a packet of Lipton’s beefy onion soup mix with some of the beer and poured over the roast. The rest of the beer went in the pot and was enough liquid to come up half way on the meat. The onion soup has enough salt that you don’t need any extra. I topped it with two stalks of celery, and put the lid on. I set it on high for a half hour to get it heated up then down on low for the rest of the day.

It was on for 7 ½ hours when I took the meat out to cool a little, remove any fat, shred and back in the pot. I removed the onion slices and cut up and back in the pot. It was in another 1 ½ hours, 9 hours total when I served it.

Two easy sides were some Or Ida fast food fries in the oven and steamed corn on the cob. Fresh corn is only in season here about 3 months in the summer. I would love it all year around. I don’t like the frozen stuff and any fresh shipped in is usually too tough. For a couple of years I have steamed my fresh corn for the best taste so I tried some of the fresh shipped and it comes out pretty darn good; not as good as fresh but eatable.

My wife and I had the beef on some whole grain Ciabatta buns with mustard and Claussen dill pickles. I seasoned the fries with some Penzey’s 4S salt and I had Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and parmesan cheese on my corn. That was an easy supper that tasted good.


Searing the beef

On sliced onions and garlic added

Beer, soup mix and celery added

After 7 1/2 hours

Beef and onions to add back in

Beef shredded to add back in

The corn

Seasoned corn

My sandwich and fries

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CP Chicken Ramen Noodle Bowl

Apr 21 2013

It was a cool windy day; winds 20 to 40 mph all afternoon so it was an inside cook for our supper.

A lot of the food blogs and sites have been posting a lot of ramen noodle bowl recipes.  It was making me hungry for some. I could not find true Japanese ramen noodles here so I ordered some from the internet. The LTBBQ member Willy posted his version of a beef noodle bowl. Looked delicious but was more trouble than I wanted so I found a faster easier way to make some chicken ramen. I wanted to use chicken since I knew our veggie daughter in law would eat some.

I was sure I could get a good broth using store bought broth an adding seasoning. I used half chicken stock and half vegetable broth. It took just 4 hours from start to finish preparing and turned out pretty darned good.

I made a couple of parmesan wafers to go along with the soup. A shredded cheese in fine threads works the best. Use a couple Tbs. for each one, sprinkle in a little flour. Heat a skillet on medium high with a little cooking spray add the cheese and spread out thin. When the edges start to brown flip over and do the other side. It only takes about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

The wife and I both liked it and she said the broth was good. We both would have liked a couple more of the parmesan wafers. Out daughter in law and grandson stopped in after his soccer practice and ate a bowl; she said the broth was good too.

Click here for printable recipe


Browning the chicken

Chicken and veggies, seasoning added to the broth

Meat removed from the bones

Sauteing the mushrooms

Parmesan wafers

Ready to serve

My bowl

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pile of Brazilian Caipirinha Ribs

Apr 17 2015

Ever since Cliff and then Tommy, fellow members of LTBBQ, posted their pile of ribs I knew I had to try it. Cliff said he got the idea from the BBQ Pit Boys video on YouTube. Their idea was to be able to do a bunch of ribs in a smaller space by cutting the ribs and smoking them in a big pile.

I just happened to have a recipe for some Brazilian Caipirinha ribs I wanted to try and adapt to the smoker. The recipe was by Denise Browning at His method of cooking was to cut some baby back ribs in single rib sections, marinate them in the fridge 8 to 12 hours, then brown them all up in oil and then add them to a stove top pan along with the reserved marinade and steam them.  His marinade of white rum, lime juice, garlic, brown sugar, parsley salt and pepper sounded great to me. He said typically the Brazilians did not add the honey at the end but he said he liked it to offset the acidity.

I thought this is perfect to try the pile method. I made up the marinade but didn’t have annatto powder; it is mainly for color but it does have a slight flavor. I pulled the membrane off and cut the 12 ribs. They went into a small roasting pan and poured the marinade over turning to coat well. They were covered and in the fridge for 12 hours turning half way through. Tasting the marinade I felt it did need the honey at the end of cooking. I had some local raw honey to use.

I placed the pile of ribs, and 3 slices of bacon on top in my Traeger that was preheated to 220 deg.F for 1 ½ hours, 230 for an hour, 240 for an hour and 250 for an hour. I turned them and brushed on some marinade every 45 minutes. With 40 minutes left I brushed with honey and turned; then once again with 20 minutes left.

My side was sliced up white yam, Dutch baby potatoes cut in half, sliced onions, red and green peppers topped with butter and in a foil pan. I had planned to do them in the oven covered for a half hour at 350 deg. and then uncover and move to the smoker for an hour. When I checked them the potatoes were not done enough so I just left them ride in the oven.

We had some Ciabatta buns for bread and butter. Sure was good, but with a cold I don’t think my taste was up to par. My wife said they were her second favorite ribs I ever made. To me the ribs had a nice crust all over with a little soft meat left. I thought a little heat may have helped the flavor for me.

Once again I was very happy with my Savannah Smoker V3 controller keeping the temps within 10 deg. of the set temp.

Click here for my recipe

Click here for original recipe

Ingredients for marinade

Pulling the membrane

Cut and in the marinade

12 hours in the marinade, ready to smoke

After one hour

After 2 1/2 hours

15 minutes before pulling

Savannah controller working good

Side ready for the oven

Sides are done

Ribs are done

My supper


Saturday, April 18, 2015

A batch of Kimchi

Apr 18 2015

This week I made a batch of Kimchi for the Ohio Buckeye Gathering June 5-6-7th in Loudonville Ohio. At the present 10 to 12 of the members of Lets Talk BBQ forum plan to meet for some good outdoor cooking and fun. I have not met any of these people but feel like they are old friends since we have chatted on the forum for the last 2 or 3 years. It will be great to finally meet my friends face to face.

I wanted to make some of my Kimchi to take along; it is a great condiment for BBQ; just as a side dish or on top of a brat, pulled pork or brisket sandwich. My version is probably a little Americanized or tamed down from what some people like. The original version called for fish sauce and ginger; I omitted the fish sauce. I didn’t care for the ginger so I don’t use it anymore. It still tastes close to what I used to get from a Korean neighbor years ago.

It is an easy and quick method for making Kimchi. You just clean and cut up the Napa cabbage the size you like; for a side dish 1 to 1 /2 inch pieces works well. If you would like it more for a sandwich topping ¾ inch pieces are better. After you get it chopped you just add coarse Kosher salt; mix well to evenly coat and let set for 30 minutes. Then rinse well; add the rest of the ingredients; I do this in a sealable Tupper ware bowl; and let it set for two days. It will stain the plastic so I have a bowl dedicated to making Kimchi.

I then put it in Mason quart jars; top with some filtered water to cover and in the fridge. It will continue to ferment slowly in the fridge and I think it is best to let set at least 4 weeks. It should keep 3 to 4 months. Once I get into it I can never let it set that long!

Click here for printable Kimchi recipe

Napa cabbage

Chopped and salted

Additional ingredients

Half added at a time

Mixed and ready to set for two days

Placing in jars

Done and will set in fridge for a few weeks