Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leg Braces for Traeger 07E

This is an early mod I made to my Traeger. I have to move my grill out from the house when I want to use it. With the extra weight of 5 firebricks was getting worried about the legs coming loose. So I decided to add leg braces like many have. I spent the last two afternoons getting them cut & installed. I used 1/8x3/4 angle iron & plexiglass for the shelf. Probably not the best material but our local Lowes store did not have sheet metal large enough & didn't want to run all over looking for it. Besides it won't rust! As much as I like Lowes that's the problem, our two Hardwares we used to have closed up, they would have had the sheetmetal. I used #8 self drilling sheet metal screws, maybe a size too small but I can always go bigger. I used clamps to line up the angle iron & used a pilot drill through the angle iron into the leg & then drilled the holes in the angle iron bigger for the screws. Photo next, I added a couple items to the shelf so you can see it's there.
One tip is I offset the screws on each leg L&R so they would not butt up in the center & interfere with each other.

Material needed:
4 pieces of angle iron
1 sheet shelf material
self drilling sheet metal screws
hack saw for cutting angle iron
drill & driver for screws
saw to cut shelf material
& if your like me about a 12 pack

Friday, July 29, 2011

Leftovers Thursday

Today I was in a lazy mode, 98 deg & 50% humidity. I have really been in a lazy mode all week since my wife is away. We will have been married 45 yrs. in Aug. & I think she has become like part of me & when she is gone part of me is missing. I had some corn cut off the cob that needed used up and the Cajun brats from the day before. I knew there were ripe tomatoes & squash in the garden. When I went to pick tomatoes the Raccoons had been in them & ate part of three of the ripest & biggest ones. A neighbor said there was a mother & 2 young ones around the neighborhood & they have been getting into peoples garbage on pick up day. Anyway I could only come up with 3 tomatoes & picked 2 nice size yellow squash. I planned to grill the squash & tomatoes then cut up, add the corn & make a salad with white balsamic vinegar & the runny Philly savory garlic cooking sauce would be good on top along with a Cajun brat. I use the white balsamic vinegar a lot on veggies that I want to keep their nice color.
I made my salad early so it could marinate awhile before supper. I had thought about using the smoker for the veggies but my Weber Q100 would be quicker & I could get some nice grill marks for that fire roasted taste. I sliced the squash & tomatoes, sprayed w/olive oil & some salt & fresh cracked pepper. I fired up my Weber & put the yellow squash on over the burner, did for 4 min. then flipped & moved to the front & added the tomatoes, did them for 3 min on a side. I pulled & took in the house, let them cool about 5 min. I slice the yellow squash & cut up the tomatoes, added to a stainless steel bowl, added my leftover corn, a few good splashes of white balsamic, salt & cracked pepper. I also added a few shakes of Penzey's Cajun seasoning, it's pretty mild. I covered & placed in the fridge until supper time. Afterthought was some chopped Vidalia onions would have tasted good in the salad too.
Supper time I toasted my hot dog bun, nuked the Cajun brat & some onions I had leftover, in the toasted bun w/mustard & onions on top. On the salad I topped w/a couple of Tbs. of the Philly cooking sauce & some fresh chopped chives for garnish. Tasted good & thought the Philly sauce was great on the salad.
Tomorrow I will have leftover leftovers, no time to cook, it’s clean up day. Have to get the house in shape for the wife!

Grilled Squash, Tomato, & corn Printable Recipe

Squash & Tomatoes

On the Weber

My Plate

Smokin Don

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cajun Brats, Stuffed Pablano, & corn

Yesterday was another hot humid day, we get a lot of humidity but no rain. Just me & the dog here, my wife is at our daughters in Lake Charles, IL. I got around in the am & took some of my leftovers, & a yellow squash and two tomatoes from my garden to my Mom 45 miles away. On the way home I stopped into Kroger’s & bought some potato hot dog buns and a pablano pepper to stuff. I also got some Philly cooking cheese. I decided to get some brats from Kah’s my butcher to fix for supper. I chose his Cajun brats, I like a little heat once in awhile & my wife doesn’t so might as well have some while she’s gone. Kah’s has some brats hotter than the Cajun, Firehouse Brats but they are almost too hot for me.
After lunch I cleaned the smoker for my cook. Then I sat there sippin on clod beer until time to get my food prepped. About 4 I went in & stuffed my pablano. I cut it in half to do boat style. The Philly cooking cheese really was not ideal for stuffing, too runny & more suited for pasta sauces. There are some recipes on the Kraft food site. I had the savory garlic & really had a good garlic flavor so I used 2 Tbs. of it, added some shredded Italian blend, some shredded sharp cheddar, & some fine chopped orange pepper. On top of the cheese I added some chopped, leftover pulled pork. I would add some shaved parmesan near the end. I had some corn I had cut off the cob that would go good with the brats & pepper.
A little after 5 I fired up the Traeger & heated to 225 deg & would do my cook for 1 ½ to 2 hrs. I sliced some Vidalia onion & green pepper for on the top of my brat. I used the onion to prop up my pepper halves. I didn’t roast & peel my pablanos, I really don’t mind the peels. After 1 ½ hrs the brats were up to temp so added some shaved parmesan to the peppers & went to 300 deg for another 15 min. Had the brat with mustard, peppers & onions. Nuked the corn w/butter, & drizzled some BBQ sauce over the peppers. Tasted mighty fine along w/a cold beer. I better go get my dish washer unloaded & my dirty dishes from last night in. Tomorrow I need to do my laundry & spruce up the place. For when I go get my wife Saturday!
In the photo of the peppers I show one before I added the pork.

Some fixins

Stuffed Pablanos

On the smoker

My plate

Smokin Don

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lunch for my Cousin

Well I got my 3 events, 3 days in a row over. Sat. we had a family reunion & enjoyed some good food and family friends. I took my usual, some broasted chicken from our local drive thru. Maybe the next one in two years I will take something from the smoker. It didn’t last long because of the heat. My cousin Kathy was there with her friend who is also a cousin. Sunday they were to come to my house for lunch & Kathy & I could exchange new genealogical info. Friday I had baked a peaches & cream cheese pie for our desert, w/ice cream. My dinner would be pulled pork, I had made ahead & vacuum sealed & froze. I heated it in a Crockpot, made some Cole slaw, my Tex-mex corn pudding from fresh corn cut off the cob, and some fresh tomatoes sliced up. The slaw was my wife’s recipe which is shredded cabbage, Marzetti’s slaw dressing, salt, & sugar to taste. I should have let her make it; mine was not quite as good as hers usually is. I served some BBQ sauce on the side, COWB’s (Cheap Ole White Buns), and some Arnold’s whole wheat flat bread. The corn pudding was extra good with fresh corn, about 4 cups.
All enjoyed the meal & we had fun visiting. Being older now I don’t get to cook as much for friends & family and I miss that. What a great way to say I love & enjoy you.
Today I took my wife to Columbus, Ohio to fly to Chicago, & visit with our daughter for a week. I miss her already & hate to think of doing my own dishes!!!!!

My plate, our food

Smokin Don

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Key West Cajun Shrimp

Yesterday they were predicting 94 for here, cooler than 104 the day before. I had a lb. of frozen Key West Pink Shrimp, raw, wild caught, so decided to do them on the smoker. They were shell on & my theory is if I am feeding someone good shrimp they can shell their own! Love those Key West shrimp! I decided to season with some Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, garlic chives from my garden, dried garlic flakes, olive oil, lime juice, salt & pepper and marinate for a couple of hrs. I decided I would do them on my perforated pizza pan, it would be easy to stir them half way through. I would have some Zatarains Yellow rice & a yellow squash with some garlic butter to accompany. The yellow squash from my garden was a little larger than I like so I scraped some of the seeds from the middle when I prepared it.
The weather prediction was wrong as usual, at noon it was already 100 deg. I had set my digital thermometer on a table, in the shade & out of any wind. About 3:00 I seasoned up my shrimp & got them in the fridge to marinate. Got a pan ready to cook the rice & would do them in chicken broth for some added flavor. Got me a cold one & went out to enjoy the sun! It had edged up to 104, oh well I was getting used to the heat after several days of this over 100. The digital hit 106 deg, the hottest I ever saw it here in Ohio! Somewhere around 4:00 I was about to get the smoker ready to cook but looked to the northwest & it was getting dark. Looked like the 20% chance of rain just might ruin my using the smoker. I checked the radar on my PC & looked like it might just go north of us, cook was still on. As I sat there sipping on my cold one it was getting darker & the wind picked up, got bad enough I took down 5 hanging baskets, I had a lot of water invested keeping them looking nice. We were getting some 40+ knot gusts & it started to sprinkle. Me & my dog Mag went inside, checked the radar, there was a band of yellow stuff, heavy rain, that could not miss us. I would have to cook inside but a plus was we would get some much needed rain! I got my rice cooking, sliced the squash, some salt & pepper and garlic flakes, I would do them in a skillet w/garlic butter. When the rice was far enough along I got the squash on & heated up a skillet for the shrimp. When the skillet was hot added about 3 tsp of the garlic butter then the shrimp, They were soon done so plated up for the wife & I. I added some shaved parmesan to the squash at the end. A very good meal even though I had to do it inside.
When it was all over, we got no rain, don’t know where that yellow stuff went! The few sprinkles we got evaporated as soon as it hit the ground.
Tomorrow we have a family reunion to go to about 50 miles away for lunch. Then Sunday a cousin & her friend are coming for lunch. They will be here for the reunion & came from Texas. Then Mon. I have to take my wife to the airport to fly to Chicago for a weeks visit with our daughter over her birthday the 27th. That is 3 events 3 days in a row! One event a week is about par for this Ole man & next week I will have to pick up the slack & do my wife’s work too. I’m gonna be wore out!!!

Printable Shrimp Recipe


Shrimp & rice

Rice & squash

Garlic chives

Pretty pink shrimp

Seasoned up

On the stove

My plate

Smokin Don

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Too Hot to Smoke

The past few days it has been too hot to cook out here in Ohio, at least for me. 2 in the afternoon and it's 104 deg & 45% humidity. We had pizza last night from our favorite pizza place and it was extra good. Next week I plan to start building a deck with a roof so I can cook or sit out in the rain. It will probably take me awhile & won't be posting as many cooks, but we have to eat so will post when I can.
Some of the cooking sites or blogs have great photos. I could do the same since photography is also my hobby. I could use a light tent that I built & works fine, but I don't really have a good place to leave it sit out & besides my wife, who is somewhat of a neat freak, would not like it. Besides after a cook I am hungry & do not like cold food so I just do the best I can. I used to think presentation was a little silly but if it is presented right it tastes better. Here again I am usually just cooking for my wife & I so I do the best I can to quickly present a good looking plate. I probably will not be making many posts on places to eat, over the years we have ate in some pretty good places. The best lobster was in Cape Cod where we went for a week when the children were small, we all got tired of the great lobster & clam chowder so for a break we went to an Italian place one evening. Ruths Chris is the best steak we ever had & also loved the fried green tomato appetizer there. Emeril Lagasse has been one of my favorite chefs & influence so in Las Vegas we went to his Oyster Bar to eat. I had Cajun BBQued Shrimp, it was great but I thought one of his recipes I did, Crab stuffed jumbo shrimp with Meunire Sauce was better! While on a bus trip to Branson, Missouri we stopped at Lambert's Cafe, Only home of the throwed roll! They served family style & all you could eat. If you wanted a dinner roll you put up your hand & someone would throw you one. My wife had to be the first to try it, she missed & the roll hit a man sitting behind us in the head! We sometimes go to Red Lobster, Olive Garden, or Texas Roadhouse. Our favorite place here in Wapakoneta is Woody's Diner, just 3 blocks from us. They have great broasted chicken, the best 1/2 lb. Angus burgers around, and we love their fair fries with malt vinegar & salt. The building was once the Greyhound Bus Stop here & that is where I met my wife in 1965, on the Greyhound bus out front. But now in my older age I prefer to stay at home & try to create good food! Smokin Don

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheesey Squash Casserole

I had picked 4 nice yellow squash from my garden & wanted to do a gratin or casserole with them. I found the recipe on foodnetwork that looked good. It was from the Paula Deen collection by her Uncle Bubba. I think for some good downhome & southern cooking Paula is one of the best & I use a lot of her recipes. I went to the Suter’s farm market & got a zucchini to add to the squash & a couple of big red tomatoes to slice up. We would also have some pulled pork sandwiches. We have been having a lot of sandwiches but hot summer weather is sandwich time.

In the casserole are, squash, Vidalia onion, shredded sharp cheddar, parmesan, sour cream, salt, pepper, & cracker crumbs. I used some of Paula’s Crazy Salt too. If you note in the photo I opened the wrong side of the Crazy salt to add to the tomatoes, had to scrape some off as I ate it. My wife & I thought the casserole was delicious. It would make a great side for any cook. The photo of the casserole dish was after setting in the fridge overnight & showed for an idea of the size dish I used & I didn’t use quite a whole sleeve of crackers, you might need to if you use a wider casserole dish. This is a must try recipe!

Click here for link to recipe

Squash Casserole

My plate

Smokin Don

Monday, July 18, 2011

Garlic Tomato Chicken Breasts

I bought these garlic, sundried tomato, marinated chicken breasts from my local butcher. He does up several flavors of chicken breasts, boneless & skinless, that are pretty darn good. I usually like to do my own but sometimes it is nice for a quick no fuss, no mess meal. I would have them with just enough new red potatoes left from another cook and some fresh tomatoes sliced. I used Paula Deen’s Crazy Salt & olive oil on the potatoes. I also had Paula’s salt on my tomatoes. I am getting to be a big fan of that salt! She must have started that business early, sure a young looking picture of her on the salt!

I got the smoker fired up & heated to 225 deg. Put my potatoes on at 5:30 & the chicken breasts right after. I started them out on my pizza pan, my idea here was they would retain more of the marinade while cooking. I checked them after 20 min turned them & upped the smoker to 300 deg. After another 10 min. I took them off the pizza pan & directly on the grate for the last 15 to 20 min of cooking. At about 6:18 I checked temps with a probe & was at 160 deg so pulled them. This was a quick cook & pretty good. The chicken was tasty & moist.

Kah's chicken breasts

Just about done

My plate

Smokin Don

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cheeseburgers & Corn on the Cob

Mid July & a day I wait for every summer, when the sweet corn is ready! About mid week I noted that Suter’s little red barn had a sign out that said, “Sweet Corn & Tomatoes Sat.” Suters is a local area produce farm that has the best sweet corn there is. Mostly bi-color but they have some white, I think comes on later. I was there shortly after 10 am & they were already busy & still unloading the pick up truck loaded with sacks of corn. I bought a half doz. enough for the wife & I and 4 of their large tomatoes.

After lunch I cleaned out the smoker and changed the foil on the drip pan. That was a must since the last cook, I walked out to check on the smoker that was cooling down with the lid open. Here was a sparrow sitting in the middle of the open lid! I said chirpy if you go on my smoker I will shoot you. With that he did a 180, left a deposit & flew away! I checked & luckily it missed the grate & landed on the foil of the drip pan.

We have been having sandwiches a lot but a hamburger is the best thing that goes with corn on the cob. I liked the Weber gourmet burgers I made recently so decided to use their seasoning again but on the outside instead of mixing in with the meat & would have my favorite cheese, Swiss, melted on top. I decided to do a Caprese salad, recipe from “For the Love of Cooking” blog. I did not roast my tomatoes though, just had them fresh.
Early I reduced some balsamic vinegar for the dressing & would use fresh basil leaves from my garden. About 3 in the afternoon I cleaned my corn, which is to remove 2 or 3 outer husks, trim off both ends & into salted water to soak for a couple of hours. Some people like to peel back the corn husks, remove the silk & add butter for grilling, but to me the silk comes off nice & clean after it is cooked, & you can add the butter & seasoning as much as you want! After I had the corn soaking I made up 4 hamburger patties from 2 lbs. of ground chuck, seasoned with Weber’s Gourmet Hamburger seasoning, covered in saran wrap & in the fridge. I was now ready to start cooking at 5 pm.

I had decided to do the corn at 225 deg for a half hr. & then put the burgers on at 300 deg for a half hr. I had the smoker preheated to 225 deg. & got the corn on at 5 pm. At 5:30 I added the burgers, flipped them after 20 min. then at 6:00 I added the Swiss cheese & topped two with the buns. Another couple of min. the cheese was melted & buns toasted a little. That first sweet corn sure tasted good, The cheeseburgers & salad was great too.

When I have corn on the cob I always remember my Dad, he would sit there with a sharp knife & cut down the center of each row of kernels before adding butter & salt. This way most of the hulls stay on the cob. He said he learned that from an old man who had no teeth & after cutting he could still eat corn on the cob.

Corn in soaking

Caprese Salad

Ready for the cheese

Cheeseburger & Corn

Smokin Don

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pulled Pork Butt

Yesterday it was an all day cook. I had a 7 lb. pork butt & smoked for pulled pork. I have a cousin coming from Texas for a family reunion she does every 2 yrs. She is coming over next week-end for lunch & wanted some pulled pork for her. The day before I put some Smoked Spanish Paprika, & Galena Street rub, from Penzey’s, on the pork & in a plastic bag to marinade overnight. I didn’t use my usual red wine vinegar to wet down this time, just the seasonings. I got up at 5 am took the pork from the fridge to set out. Fired up the Traeger & set on 180 deg. At 6 am I got the pork on & watched the smoker settle in at 180 to 190 deg. I went back to bed until 9:00 & the smoker was running at 200 deg so & upped the P# one & it settled back to 180 to 190 deg. After 5 hrs I inserted the temp probe & was up to about 130 deg IT. I let it set on the 180 deg. for 7 hours, one hr. per lb. then went to 225 deg. Usually I go to 225 after about 3 to 4 hrs. but wanted to try this one time. I upped the smoker 25 deg every half hr. & wound up at 300 deg the last half hr. When it reached 170 deg IT I double wrapped in foil & added ¼ cup liquid, half water & apple juice & 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce. Just before 4:00 pm it was at 202 deg IT so pulled & placed in a preheated 180 deg oven, turned the oven off & let rest for about an hr. Total cook time was about 10 hrs. After wrapping in foil it can be pulled & finished in an inside oven if wanted. You can save on pellets since it doesn’t take on any more smoke anyway. I was too lazy to take inside until done! After resting I opened the foil & let cool awhile before pulling. It was really moist, had at least 1 cup of liquid, I drained the fat from & added back to the pork. The bone pulled clean & it pulled easily. The bark was extra good, the wife & I could hardly stay out of it.

At noon I had come in & made up some of my friends, Billy Merril’s, $10,000 slaw. If you belong to forum you can get the recipe there. It is his version of a recipe from a famous BBQ place where he lives in North Carolina. The owner said someone came in & offered him $10,000 for the recipe & he turned them down. Anyway it is delicious & goes good as a side or on the pulled pork. I cut halves from the cabbage head leaving the core & a slice about 1 inch thick. I rubbed it with a little Better than beef bullion, double wrapped in foil & poked a hole with a toothpick & on the smoker the last 2 hrs. I did up some frozen sweet potato fries in the oven, Alexia brand. They are as good as I can make myself. I served the pulled pork on a COWB, cheap ole white bun, placed a little Bone Suckin Sauce on the bun then the pork & topped with slaw. The sweet potato fries & cabbage went well with it.

I think I will stay with the lower temps an hr per lb. on my pork roasts from now on, really came out good. The smoked paprika enhanced the smoke flavor well. Some people do not foil at all but I have had better luck when I foil the roast after it hits 170 deg. IT.

Seasoned & on the smoker

After 5 hrs

Ready to pull

Bone pulled clean

About half pulled

My plate

Smokin Don

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chili Cheese Dogs

Yesterdays cook was fun, I was cooking for our neighbor’s grandson too, who is like family. He is 38 yrs. old & grew up with our children. He soon fell behind them after he started having epileptic seizures at an early age. He has had many trips to the Cleveland Clinic for treatments, & he is handicapped. He likes to come over with his Dr. Pepper & sit with me, he has trouble talking but we just enjoy each others company. He likes some of the food from the smoker so Sunday I told him Tues night we would have chili dogs. Last evening he sat with me while I fixed them & then we carried them to his grandparents, I had two for him & one each for his Mother & Grandmother too.

I had 8 old fashioned hot dogs from my butcher, Kah Meats. I got my sauce on about 3:30 & let it simmer on the stove, then went out to sit with Tony until it was time to cook. I got the smoker fired up & set to 250 deg. I took the sauce out at 5:30 & added the hot dogs. I planned to do them for ½ hour. After 10 min. I put a yellow squash on for the wife & I, & turned the smoker to 300 deg. At 6:00 all was ready, I made up the sandwiches for Tony & family & carried them over for him. That was an enjoyable cook & the chili dogs were pretty good. Shredded cheddar was added & I had mustard & chopped onion on mine. The sauce was pretty good so I will share the recipe, but I am still searching for that perfect sauce. A little like I have done with chili.

Printable Sauce Recipe

Ground Chuck

On the Smoker

My Plate

Smokin Don

Monday, July 11, 2011

Adding a Second Shelf

I got this idea from Savannah Smoker on pelletheads forum. It will be nice for added room on large cooks. Mar 18, 2011 Snows gone, took my longjohns off, birds are chirping & building nests, & a nice 60+ yesterday so decided to give my 07E a spring cleaning & add the extra shelf I had bought this winter. I was inspired by Savannahsmoker but was in a stew about how to hold the angle iron in place to drill the holes. I measured just below the stack & found 17" was good for the length. Used 1/8 X 1 1/2" angle iron, 2 allen button head 1/4" bolts, nuts & lock washers. I predrilled the angle iron 2" in from the end, centered w/7/16 bit. I notched the one to accommodate temp probe. I came up with a block of wood 4 1/4" long to support the back of angle iron above the existing shelf support, used a c clamp w/a folded piece of sandpaper to protect the paint. I drilled the front hole first w/ 1/4" drill thru the angle iron then inserted bolt while I drilled the back hole. This worked well to hold the angle even. It should only take some a couple hrs but this ole man took all afternoon to clean, cut & drill the angle, & mount, plus at least a six pack! Smokin Don
A second thought would be to use 1 3/4" or 2" angle iron. It would be easier to get the shelf to fit in past the end lips. I had to cut my shelf a little longer than the opening, so it would not slide off & takes a little finessing to get in & out. Photos below.

Note: As with any modifications on the site, do so at your own risk. Also if your Traeger is still under warranty; any modifications may void your warranty.

Heat shield Mod

After about a year of using my Traeger I found the heat shield, or deflector, had warped some & did not set level. Looking at a lot of mods for a heatdeflector, some made heavier ones, some added a cast iron griddle. You can also buy a stainless steel one as well as other parts at pelletgrill but they are expensive. My stock heat deflector had warped some & I was thinking about adding a cast iron griddle. I could not find a griddle & then thought if Lowes has some heavy, ar least 1/4" steel large enough I will just add that. They had some 1/4X4X12" pieces so bought 3 & some bolts & locking nuts. I predrilled the plates & bolted them to the underside & the heat shield. I had thought maybe I could take the warp out before I bolted the plates in place but the warp would just spring opposite when I tried. When I bolted the first plate on the warp came right out & after all in place it sat level. One piece 1/4X12X12" would be better than my 3 pieces but that is all I could find handy. I just sprayed with pam & burnt in on Hi. Photos below.

Note: As with any modifications on the site, do so at your own risk. Also if your Traeger is still under warranty; any modifications may void your warranty.

Traeger Modification

Early I learned from forums most Traeger owners add fire bricks in the bottom. You can buy them at any brick supplier. It is best & safer to use fire bricks than any other type. These act like a heat sink and help maintain temps. This also equals less pellet burn. My Traeger 07E will hold 5 fire bricks as pictured below & I think they really help.

Note: As with any modifications on the site, do so at your own risk. Also if your Traeger is still under warranty; any modifications may void your warranty.

INFO: Traeger Operation

If you own a Traeger Smoker you need to know how it operates. The oldest controller they used just had a Low, Med, & High setting. Then they came out with a 225 controller w/digital readout, it had a Smoke setting then a 225 deg & up in 25 deg. increments to High. It also had P settings to control the smoke mode, or run idle time. Ambient temps affect the smoker so they had the P settings to offset this. There were settings P1 thru P12, on P1 the pellet feed auger ran for 15 seconds then off for 45 seconds. Then higher P settings incremented the off time + 10 seconds, the feed time always is at 15 seconds on. Then if you go to a higher setting the pellet feed auger runs continuous until that temp. is reached, then it would fall back to the smoke, idle run time until it fell 3 deg below the set temp then continuous until set temp was reached again etc. I think with the 225 controller you could only access the P settings from the back of the controller to change them. People had a lot of trouble with high temp swings & they found when it fell back to the idle run time it started with the 15 seconds on time. So they designed a new controller to start with the programmed off time, after it reached set temp. & they added a 180 deg setting & also made access to the P settings thru a small hole on the front of the controller. I use a small allen wrench to change them.

P setting examples:
P1 auger on 15 seconds auger off 45 seconds
P2 auger on 15 seconds auger off 55 seconds
P3 auger on 15 seconds auger off 65 seconds
Each increment of the P# up or down should change the temp about + - 10 deg

A lot of owners prefer to control cooking temps below 300 deg. by leaving it in smoke mode & just using the P settings. I prefer to get mine to holding temps in the smoke mode just below the set temp I want to cook at, this way I don’t get many wild temp swings. For example if I want to cook at 225 deg I get it running about 200 deg in the smoke mode then go to 225 deg. If you use the 180 deg setting you want to make sure it is running below 180 deg in the smoke mode. I only use the 180 deg setting for long smoke cooks like a pork butt or brisket where I don’t want to have to monitor the smoker much. If you try to do it on smoke mode you stand the chance of going below 160 deg & have a flame out if ambient temps change. I know for the novice this may sound complicated but after you use your Traeger awhile it is pretty simple. Some of the newer smokers control the temps better than the Traeger without ambient temps affecting them but you will not buy them for $700, more like double that or more.
Always shutdown your smoker w/the lid open. If you don’t you stand a chance of burn back thru the auger tube, from the fire seeking oxygen to burn up what pellets are left. If the last part of your cook was over 300 deg it’s a good idea to turn down to smoke mode for awhile before shutting down. I usually wait until it’s below 250 deg.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ham Loaf

Saturday my Cook would be a Ham loaf from Kah Meats, some little red potatoes, & yellow squash from my garden. My yellow squash is doing good so will probably be in my cooks for awhile. I just checked the Suter’s produce site & says sweet corn will be ready in 7 to 10 days. They are a local produce farm that grows corn, melons, tomatoes, & Etc for the local market around Lima, Ohio. They set up red barns, 14 of them, in 9 different cities. Their sweet corn is picked daily so it is always fresh, they bring in a pickup load daily & open at 10 am, if you’re not there before noon you may be out of luck! They have been in business for 3 generations. I like to get several doz. before the end of the season, & freeze up for the winter months.

My Mother likes Kah’s Ham loaf & the last time I took her one thought that should be good on the smoker. I was worried about drying it out if I tried too low of heat, I have had that problem with meat loaves. After cooking at 225 to 250 deg for 1 hr. 25 min. it was very moist so next time will do one on smoke setting for awhile, the ham would taste better with a little smoke flavor. I made up a glaze of ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, & 1 tsp. butter. My red potatoes were #1, all 1” or less, cleaned, trimmed some & cut several in half for all to be uniform size. I mixed some Panko bread crumbs & parmesan cheese for on the squash.

I started up the smoker & set to 225 deg. Set the ham loaf out about 20 min, reformed into loaf & added some Panko bread crumbs, olive oil on my enameled pizza pan & placed ham loaf on it. Placed potatoes in a bowl, drizzled w/olive oil & Paula Deen’s Crazy Salt, they would be placed in a grilling basket my wife bought me from Pampered Chef. The pizza pan & basket are two of my favorites for on the grill. The pizza pan allows for easy turning or moving meats, used mostly for meat loaf & fatties. The basket will hold anything small. I should know better on the potatoes, even as small as they were they were not quite done. I find if you are cooking lower than 300 deg, potatoes need to be precooked some. I got the potatoes on at 4:45 & the ham loaf at 4:55, at 225 deg. I went inside & mixed up the glaze, I did it for 20 sec. in the microwave before adding o the ham when it got to 140 deg IT. I cut the squash in half, drizzled on some olive oil, & Paula Deen’s Crazy Salt. At 5:40 I tuned the smoker to 250 deg & was time to add the glaze on the ham loaf. When the loaf got to 150 deg IT, I added the squash cut side down on the grill for about 10 min. Then I flipped them over & added some of the Panko bread crumb mix. It was about 6:15 when the ham loaf got to 165 deg. IT. It sure made a good meal & the ham loaf will be good in sandwiches tonight for an easy meal!

Kah's Ham Loaf

Squash & Potatoes

Ready to Smoke

On the smoker


My plate

Smokin Don

Saturday, July 9, 2011

California Pizza Kitchen

Still in the search of a Papa Murphy’s pizza my wife came home with 4 small California Pizza Kitchen , all different. I still prefer making my own, or from the Beer & Wine Depot, but wanted to find a good one that would be quick & no prep. For our Friday night supper I chose a Margarita & a Sicilian style. I added some extra shredded mozzarella to the Sicilian one, thought it was a little skimpy. I like doing the small ones on the Traeger, easy to handle. I cannot have pizza without beer! I had a good pale ale from the Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland, Ohio. Copied from their site: “In the 1870s, Cleveland had 30 breweries. By the early 1980s, the last one had shuttered its doors. So when brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway opened Great Lakes Brewing Company on September 6, 1988, it not only signaled a new era in Cleveland brewing, it was also the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio.” I had their Burning River, a pale ale, named after the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland that caught fire, at least 11 times over the years until the one in 1969 brought national attention that led to a clean up. It ranks among the best pale ales I have had.

I fired up the Traeger & turned to high, after 20 min it was up to 410 deg so added the pizzas, after 7 min & rotated them since the right side runs hotter. Another 8 min. & they were just right so pulled, cut, & served along with some chips. My wife & I had half of each one. I liked the Sicilian better than the Margarita but like the DiGiorno pizzas I thought they did not have enough sauce. So I guess my search will go on for the perfect store bought pizza to have on my Traeger.
Tonight I will be having a ham loaf, baby red potatoes, & yellow squash from my garden.


Cheese added to Sicilian on the left

Done pizzas

My plate & Beer

Smokin Don