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We hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July weekend and is excited for more warm weather grilling! This week, we’ll be making these two burgers: Stuffed Portobello Mushroom and Caribbean Chicken, and also eating lots of these Ice Cream Sandwiches in honor of National Ice Cream Month! It's time to think about getting out to one of the many #EGGfests around the country - see a list here

horseflesh ·

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  • Difference between cooking on a BIG GREEN EGG and a gas grill- some thoughts

    This time of year, the hardware stores roll out the gassers. I feel like I should be outside with a sign like a crazy person, warning people away. 

    BEWARE THE BLUE FLAMES OF HELL! 
    AVERT YOUR GAZE FROM THE STAINLESS HARLOT!
    REPENT AND BE SAVED
    YOUR CERAMIC SALVATION AWAITS!
  • Vacuum sealers


    ElCapitan said:
    I'm a nob here, why are you guys going all in on food sealers?  What's the benefit?  Do you cook so much that you save a ton later?  Does sealing it make it last longer?  I give most of my leftovers to my dogs but maybe I should put them on a diet.
    The way we shop and cook, it has been hugely useful but it certainly isn't for everyone. 

    I found I waste a lot less food when I can vac seal leftovers. There are only 2 of us and if I cook a Costco-sized piece of something, there will be more leftovers than main course. Giving all that to the dogs would make for some fat, spoiled dogs. :) BGE leftovers that have been sealed and gently reheated sous vide are about as good as they day they were made. 

    Vac sealing also great for extending the fridge life of things like hard cheese, bacon, and other raw meats. I put a giant Costco block of cheese in a gallon sealer bag, and re-seal the bag over and over... the cheese stays perfect for weeks that way. 

    I have over a dozen pieces of cold-smoked cheese in the fridge right now... I am learning how to do that, and sealed a bunch of experiments to let them age. (Cold-smoked cheese needs to age for at least a week and ideally several, they say.)

    If I make a big batch of BGE smoked salmon, most of which I end up giving away, I vac seal each piece. They will keep for a couple of months that way, maybe longer. 

    Sometimes, we buy something in bulk, like a box of frozen cheese sticks from the restaurant supply store. They come packaged in a flimsy bag, and we don't use them fast enough to keep them from getting freezer burn. I will repack them in bags of a dozen and they keep forever. 

    We homebrew beer, and I can store extra hops in the freezer without losing their punch if I seal them. 

    Now that I do SV cooking, I can get season and seal a pile of meats and put them in the freezer. Making dinner is then super easy. She puts the meat in the water bath while I am at work, and when I get home I sear it on the BGE. 

    Lastly there are some cook cooking tricks you can do, like making infused fruits and compressed watermelon. When I make French fries, I infuse extra potato starch into the fries by compressing them, then I vacuum-dry them before frying. 

    If you don't mess with leftovers, don't cook big quantities for later use, don't buy ingredients in large quantities or far ahead of time, and don't care about stupid cooking tricks, then a sealer won't be of much use to you. 
  • Vacuum sealers

    I always thought the rolls would be the cheaper option.

    While I do have a couple of rolls I've been using pre-made bags because I wanted to avoid the extra work of cutting the roll making an extra seal. I'm also sure rolls are more expensive. But now I am curious about how much more expensive...

    vacuumsealersunlimited sells a pack of 4 8" x 20 ft rolls for $23. (These are chamber-style bags, with no texture.) The cheapest shipping I can find on their site is $8, for a total cost of $33. 

    Let's compare the roll cost to the cost of 8x10 bags. Obviously you can be flexible with the size of bag you make from a roll, but we have to pick something to compare to... 

    There are 4 * 20 ft * 12 in/ft = 960 linear inches of bag in our $33 shipment, right?. At 10" per bag, those four rolls should provide 96 8x10 bags. 

    $33 / 96 bags comes to $0.34/bag. Sometimes they have a 10% off coupon on the site, which takes another 3 cents off, if it applies to this item. (The coupon code won't work for pre-sized chamber bags.)

    Now, they sell a box of 500 8x10 chamber bags for $31, but shipping brings it to $44.45. That comes out to $0.09/bag. 

    Smaller bags and bags bought in bigger quantities cost even less. Like I said, my 6x10 bags were about four cents each, shipped cost. 
  • Vacuum sealers

    (Last time I tried to reply to this thread, my post got held for moderator approval. I am trying again without quotes and without links...)

    I did a TON of research on vacuum sealers and I can sum it up this way--

    A chamber sealer is a lot more versatile than an edge sealer, and chamber sealers use smooth bags which are also much much cheaper than textured ones. 

    An oil-filled pump will pull a stronger vacuum than a dry piston pump, and it is tolerant of water vapor, too. 

    In my opinion, if a person is serious about getting a sealer and anticipates using it a lot and having it a long time, a chamber sealer with an oil-filled pump is worth the extra scratch. If you need something cheaper or smaller, I don't think there is a point to buying anything less burly than a Weston-class edge sealer. 

    The cheapest chamber vac bags I have found are at Vacuum Sealers Unlimited, and I looked everywhere. 6" x 10" 3 mil pint bags cost about 4 cents each (shipped) but you do have to buy 1000 of them. They are my most commonly used size by FAR. I use about 5 pints to every quart, and maybe 10-12 pints to every gallon bag.

    I use my chamber sealer much more than even my most optimistic estimates. It was pretty darn expensive but I am really glad I went for the Cadillac. 

    I hope this helps someone, feel free to post or PM if I can answer more questions. 

  • I finally tried cold smoking

    I bought a dryer exhaust vent, jammed it into the top of the BGE, and put the other end into a cardboard box. I made some effort to keep the box higher than the fire but that's about as much thought as I put into it. 

    The fire was 300F (per dome thermometer) and I had to refresh the apple wood chunks a few times. 

    Temperature in the box was 67F, about 5F higher than ambient. There were a couple of pounds of cheese on a grate in the box. I cut a sample and it's definitely strongly smoke flavored, but it isn't ruined with creosote, either. After a couple of weeks of resting, it should be pretty good--based on what I have read. 

    This thread gave me a lot of info:


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