It’s that time of year again-time to hop on out to your backyard for an EGG hunt. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to search as far as your patio! Planning on cooking Easter Sunday? Check out our Easter Menu. If you’re looking for a sweet treat to enjoy with the whole family, try at least one of our sweet treats, if not both: Grilled Peeps & Carrot Cupcakes. Lastly, if you’re having company, our Pinterest page has lots of ideas for entertaining. We hope you have an EGGstra tasty holiday!
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Woods that are good for smoking, when "pyrolized," produce fumes that have spicelike flavors. Surprisingly to me, vanilla flavor is one of them. Woods pyrolize when there is enough heat to break down the chemical structure of the wood, but not enough oxygen to allow burning.
The problem is then 2 fold.
When making charcoal, there is often a lot of stuff that is left in the lump that is not carbon. From what I've read, lump charcoal in the US averages around 80% by weight of carbon. VOCs, moisture, bits of uncarbonized wood comprise the rest. None of those produce good flavor, and will probably produce bitter acidic flavors which are possibly carcinogenic. Until enough heat is generated to burn or drive those chemicals off, there's "bad smoke." Usually, this is visible as a dense smoke comprised of condensing water, the chemical bits dissolved in it, and some carbon particles.
So. Let the Egg burn at whatever temperature until there has been enough heat to drive off the residuals from the charcoal making process.
The 2nd problem is that more wood on the coals will just recreate the 1st problem if there is too much air flow. Traditional 'Q gets around this by establishing a good bed of burning coals, and adding just enough wood to keep the fire going, and not exposing the food directly to the fire. Or at least making enough room between the coals and the food.
The Egg and other cookers handles the second problem very well by the restricted airflow. Once the lump is burning cleanly, the kindled charcoal grabs the oxygen before the wood can burn. So the heat pyrolizes the wood, and one gets "good smoke" that is rich in pleasant flavors. There will still be some moisture which can lead to creosote formation, but hopefully little enough that it only forms around the top Egg vent. In the Egg, drier wood is better than wet.
While it is possible to make turkey tender enough to pull, I suspect that you knife is just dull.
If the blade has tiny serrations, it probably is not worth sharpening. Its very time consuming to do, and the micro serrations are likely to be there because the steel is not hard enough to hold a good straight edge.
If it has a regular edge, buy a cheap handheld sharpener, and give it a go. You might be surprised with the improvement. Or not. Some inexpensive knives have such poor steel that they simply will not hold an edge for more than a few cuts.
One of the best lines of inexpensive kitchen knives is Victorinox Forschner. The commercial kitchen knives by Dexter-Russell are very serviceable, and about impossible to destroy. You should be able to find a good chef's knife from them in the $30 - $40 range. And also buy a handheld sharpener as mentioned above. They are good enough to keep everyday knives in good shape.
Or, , buy a couple hundred dollars of sharpening equipment, spend a few months learning to use it, and then buy a nice $500 Japanese gyuto.
Can mention a bit about Portland. Visited my son and DIL and grandson there for about a wek.
Portland is a major foodie town, almost mas much as it is beervana. Was there for 7 days, and had some of the best food ever each day.
My DIL is a pretty strict vegetarian, so we didn't get any 'Q. My son said a place called Russel's was OK (He's had my Egg'd stuff.)
As above, Lardo is great for sandwiches. Like most PDX places, they have about a dozen craft beers on tap. Lot's of good Asian food in the area. We had Thai from a place called Pok Pok. Remarkable. Both places were quite inexpensive for the quality they offered. This was true of most places we ate. Much better than average food, and good prices, $10 - $15/person, for enough to be stuffed.
Most of the top places need reservations, like any where. We were able to get into a place called Andina, which is "NovoPeruvian." Really good, and not outrageously expensive.
Frankly, my son was a little surprised at the amount of beer I was drinking. Well, geez, when the nearby supermarket has about 200 craft brews on hand, and maybe a 100 imported, hard not to.
Visited Belmont Station. About 20 taps, and around 1400 brews in the package store. Also stopped at Hair of the Dog brewery. The Fred brew is great. Massively complex, but don't expect to drive much after 1 or 2.
Ever since I learned to keep my blades sharp, I've learned how sloppy my technique is. As I zoom off to the bathroom for bandages, my wife says "What, again?" For awhile, it was ridiculous. I was taking blood thinners, and the slightest scratch would bleed for an hour.
Oh, and another pastime I have is woodcarving. My wife demanded that I get a carving glove. If you think the cut you get when pushing against a veg is nasty, try a slip when pushing against oak. :((
Lived in a house where a gal got an Irish Setter from a shelter. Poor dog, was literally crawling w. fleas. By the time we got him cleaned up, the 13 cats that hung out around the house were carrying the fleas. Life was hell for a week or so.
Finally found out that fleas hate mint. Bought a couple of ounces of mint oil, and a bunch of spray bottles. Every one went to their bedroom, and began spraying the solution. It was really silly and weird as everyone converged on the front door, spraying the floor as they advanced. There were so many fleas fleeing that there was small cloud of them hopping ahead of the spray.
It worked! But you don't want to know what happens when a cat gets sprayed w. mint water. If looks could kill, we would all have been dead.