19 March 2010

Turning 40

I am planning a trip for my 40th birthday (in 2011). Who wants to come with me. Before you decide let me give you be start of the details. I am hiking the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim. Doesn't that sound like fun. I am starting the planning and I need to know who may want to go so I can get some prices together and then make the reservations. Final commitments would need to be by August 2010 so I can get the reservations. I am planning to hike to the bottom on day 1. Stay at Phantom Ranch that night. Hike around and relax a little for day 2. Stay a 2nd night at Phantom Ranch. Then hike out on day 3. I am getting so excited. Training starts this weekend. More will be posted as I get the training plan and the costs. Some of that depends on how many people want to join the fun. Tentative date is September 2011.

SO who is with me...

14 March 2010



Let me introduce you to DESMA. This stands for Delicious Eatable Smoked Meat Apparatus. Some of the things we have done with DESMA include pulled pork, fish, chicken, sausage, pork ribs, turkey breast and rib roast. All have been amazing. My favorite has been the pulled pork, it was so tender and juicy. This is followed by the rib roast. There is nothing like a smoked rib roast.

There have been several people that have requested information about how we built our own smoker. The story starts with a trip to Barbecues Galore. There we found that a ceramic smoker is around $700 (way out of our budget). We looked all over but could never find anything any significantly less. We were then watching FoodNetwork and saw one of the chefs build his own and though we can do that. If you want to see where we got our inspiration it is on the show "Good Eats" in the episode call "Q". The whole thing was built for about $70.

Then the quest to find the parts. Here is what you need to build your own: 1 electric hot plate, 1 metal pie pan (that will never bake a pie again), 1 round grill grate, 2 unglazed ceramic pots, 3 bricks, and 1 replacement grill thermometer.

Now the fun part putting it together.

When we shopped for ours we found it was best to start with the grate and the hot plate. These will determine the size of the pots you need.

When you have all your items here is the construction. Place the hot plate in the bottom of the larger pot with the cord coming out the drain hole. Then the pie tin on that. The pie tin should be a heavy metal if you want it to last more then one use. Then the grate place in the bottom pot. The grate needs to be the right size to sit about 8 - 10 inches above the pie tin. Then you will turn the 2nd pot upside down and seat in in the first to form the lid. The thermometer is then place in the drain hole of the top pot. This is the basic construction that you will find on the FoodNetwork and many other sites, but if you see the photo above you know that we have made changes after experimenting.

Here are the hints and tips that we have learned:
* Drill an extra hole in the top for the thermometer and leave the drain hole for air circulation. This will also give you a place for a kitchen thermometer to be inserted into the meat.
* Drill 3 or 4 holes in the bottom for air circulation.
* Wrap the pots in pipe insulation sealed with flashing tape to help it maintain a steady temperature.
* If you wrap it the apparatus then use some pipe nipples or something similar to keep the holes open and the insulation sealed.

DESMA has made some wonderful meals for us and brought a lot of fun into the cooking. I hope that if you build one it will bring you fun and delicious smoked meats.

This is the turkey breast. Doesn't it look yummy. This photo was taken about 1 hour before it was done. The carcass made the best turkey soup later.

Now that you have built one you just need to get some meat and some wood chips/chunks.

If you want more tips just let me know.

Have fun!!