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Rain Delay!

3 Jun

We’ve been out on the deck working since about 9:00 without too much to slow us down. It was getting a little hot in the sun, so we went in to get a drink. It started getting cloudy, so we went back out happy to get some relief from the sun. A nice breeze also kicked up, which felt great but it sparked a question in Corinne’s head… “Is it going to rain?” A quick check of the weather app indicated that there might be some passing storms. We kept plugging on though, while the sky got gloomier and the wind kept building. Eventually it got very windy and we felt a few drops. I continued pre-drilling while Corinne packed up the router station. Then it really started coming down! I ran to put the tarp on the wood pile, while Corinne put the rest of the tools, and herself, under cover.

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Luckily we had wings going on the barbecue and they are almost done, so we’ll have some lunch and wait for the rain to let up and hopefully get back to work soon!

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Saturday on the Farm

2 Jun

We’ve been at it since this morning, chipping away and making some progress. It’s been two weeks since we last worked on the deck because of our Memorial Day trip, so it’s good to be out working on it again. It looked like we might have been rained out, so it’s a relief that it’s a sunny day, albeit hot.

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We took a break for lunch at around 2:00 since it’s the hottest time of day, and we were getting pretty hungry. I also took the opportunity to prep some ribs and put them on the grill for some good, slow and low eatin’ later on tonight.

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They should be ready by about 8 or 9 depending on how I can control the heat of the grill. This is one of those cases where dinner time is “when it’s ready”, but it’s certainly worth it. We’ve gotten pretty good at barbecuing on our Weber Performer and we keep trying to improve our skills. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive, as our camping mates would attest, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to revisiting the coveted pulled pork, which was a little bit of a disappointment last time we tried. We’ve had great success with the slow cooker but it almost feels like cheating. I’ve got a new plan of attack for my next attempt, and success or failure, you’ll be sure to read about it right here.

The Huskee

30 May

We had our big Memorial Day weekend camping trip and the truck was filled to the roof line with camping and cooking supplies and food!

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There was lots of great food including my baby back ribs, as promised, and a 14 hour brisket by Matt.

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We even made two kinds of chicken drumsticks from a great butcher in New Hampshire.

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And of course, there were the clams, as usual. I don’t have a picture of that because I was too busy spilling a whole tray of hot wine and clam juice all over myself. Luckily I was wearing my Carhartts (which I promptly ripped off) and I was given lots of ice quickly so the burning was limited to about 15 minutes with no lasting effects, so that was fortunate, plus I managed not to drop any actual clams!

The Clams and the Ribs were both transported in frosty style in the good old Huskee Hercules “disposable” cooler.

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This cooler was purchased one day at work when we forgot a cooler and meant to be thrown out. Almost two years later it’s still kicking along and it does a great job of keeping meats and stuff cold for long periods. I think it may have better insulation value than the “real” coolers we have, and we usually reserve it for just such things, so it does not get opened up repeatedly either.
This is a very low tech cooler, but as far as styrofoam coolers go it is built like a tank, I’ve even carefully stood on it on occasion when loading the truck. The sides are very thick and it even features a deluxe packing-tape hinged lid.

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It shows the wear, of course, and I reinforced the hinge with some new packing tape, which has held up quite well for what it is made of. If you come across a Huskee and might be in the need for a cheap cooler that’s just about as good or better than a “real” cooler, I suggest you pick one up… And tell me where you got it!

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Weber Delivery Complete!

14 Apr

No sooner than I published that post this morning did another box arrive at our door step!

It contains the entire Lid Bale assembly, which the melted parts are part of. That flat metal piece you see in the box was also warped a bit so it’s nice to have a replacement for that as well. The Lid Bale is basically a place to put the hot lid when you remove it to tend to the food on the grill so you can have your hands free and not put the hot lid down on something it could damage.

If you notice in the picture, on the outside label of the box it says “Happy Grilling!”

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It will be happy grilling once our grill is in Tip-Top shape again thanks to the kind folks in Shaumburg, Illinois!

Just to keep the content flowing and for posterity I’ll probably post an update when I actually do the install.

 

Partial Weber Delivery

14 Apr

Well, when I spoke to the guy at Weber and he told me they’d be sending us our replacement parts, I believe he gave me an estimate of 7-10 business days for delivery. But when Corinne came home for lunch friday, our new grill grate was waiting at the door already! We haven’t gotten the other parts yet, but we’re only about 3 days into the 7-10 day window so I’m fine with that. For now I popped in our new grill and snapped a picture of its gleaming chrome surface in the sun, I think I captured the newness of it pretty well in this quick iphone pic!

 

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I’m contemplating holding on to our old grate for when we want to put a pizza stone or griddle or something on, because I think those might concentrate heat on the grilling surface and could potentially warp the new guy.

When we get the other parts delivered there will be a little disassembly required so at that point I’ll probably give the grill a thorough spring cleaning inside and out so he’s all tuned up for the summer. Speaking of which, we might only have about 16 bags of charcoal left in our stockpile… better keep an eye out for that sale!

 

In other Weber news I stopped in to Glen Head Hardware’s new Outdoor Living center, which is essential an entire Weber store, they have just about every possible Weber accessory you can imagine as well as a pretty extensive line of grills, both gas and charcoal. I think they also had either Wolf or Viking outdoor kitchen components built into a little masonry outdoor kitchen display in the showroom, that was pretty cool as well. While I do like Glen Head Hardware, and their sister store, Sea Cliff Hardware, they’re not exactly known for their low prices, as most local shops can’t compete with the big box stores like Home Dinko. So, I was pretty excited to see that it looks like they are charging the same price as Dinko and Amazon for the 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain that I’ve had my eye on (I have to confirm this to be sure, but I’m hoping I’m correct). I’d really prefer to give the money to a local store when possible, but at the same time it would be a tough pill to swallow to pay $100 premium for that, so it’s nice to be able to support the local guys AND get a good deal.

Weber Customer Service…

12 Apr

IS GREAT!

Last summer we had our Weber Performer Grill really cranking with some hardwood lump charcoal, and apparently we overdid it a bit because we actually melted part of the grill and warped the cooking grate! The temperature on the built-in thermometer was off the scale, so it was easily 700 degrees or more. This resulted in the little plastic bushings on the lid-holder dripping down the side of the grill pan!

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I emailed Weber customer service about the issue and they gave me an 800 number to call for warranty parts replacement.

Well, I finally got around to calling last night, and I must say it was a delight to talk to the person at Weber. First of all, there is no touch tone driven menu system, a real person in the United States, who actually works at Weber and knows their products, answers the phone. This alone is enough to put you in a good mood when calling a customer-service line. I explained my issue to the guy at Weber, and we both turned to the same page in the instruction manual so we could refer to the exploded parts diagram about which parts needed to be replaced. He told me that it was all covered under the warranty, they were sending out the parts free of charge, and we should expect to receive them in about a week.

After all the business was settled, I thanked him for his exceptional help and told him how much we love our grill and all the stuff we cook on it. We shot the breeze for about 5 minutes about different barbecues and grilling, and barbecuing ribs and stuff. We talked about how I was thinking about adding a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker to our outdoor cooking fleet, and he told me how his friend had just gotten one and how great it is, but to make sure I go for the bigger one if I plan to do large amounts of meat at once, which I had just mentioned. This wasn’t just salesmanship, it was a genuine conversation. It really was very refreshing to speak to someone at a company who was not just knowledgeable about the product, but actually enthusiastic as well!

There are lots of companies that make BBQs, you can see them all at Home Depot and other stores. A lot of them tend to be cheaper, but I don’t think that many of them actually make their products in the USA and stand behind them as much as Weber does. This company gets a big thumbs up from me.

I’ll probably do a little write-up and take some pictures when the parts arrive and I install them, so stay tuned for that.

Three-day Weekend Grill

5 Apr

We don’t have work tomorrow and it was a nice night so I fired up the grill and picked up a couple steaks and some Brussels sprouts and a head of iceberg lettuce for a little steakhouse style home made dinner.

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Check out hose grill marks!
I got some nice tenderloins, which are almost, but not quite filet mignon, and I grilled them up, exercising as much restraint as I could to try to produce a medium rare steak for Corinne. She says I pulled it off! First off I made a simple wedge salad that we had while the sprouts were cooking, and then we had the sprouts while the steaks were grilling. Yes, I was in and out about 20 times while we ate but it was worth it!