Episode-1212- All About Grills, Smokers and Outdoor Cooking

Side Box Smokers are Extremely Flexible.

Side Box Smokers are Extremely Flexible.

Today is Monday and that usually means a listener feedback show.  Here is the deal though, I am in a great mood today and additionally off to a late start.  Monday shows take a while so I am moving it till Monday and frankly some of the stuff the clowns are doing this week, will ruin my mood.  So I thought why not a fun subject we have never covered before.  Grilling!

The grill is really an incredible piece of daily living equipment and a great piece of prepper gear.  Grilling is actually one of the easiest and most efficient ways to cook, but a little bit of learned skill and a few tricks of the trade will give better results.  I would estimate I cook dinner on a grill or smoker 90% of the time, and I mean year round.

Today I will be discussing mostly grills and side box style smokers with a few other options tossed in.  I will tell you what to look for quality wise, how to avoid expensive mistakes, where to never go cheap and how to get the most out of your equipment.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Why everyone should own and know how to use a grill
  • Why I absolutely hate “all in one” style grills
  • The gas grill, why it is so flexible and what to look for
  • “Inferred gas grills”, no it isn’t just marketing, I am sold
  • Why two smaller grills might be better than one big one
  • The basic charcoal grill, more flexible than you might imagine
  • Ceramic style grills like “the big green egg” etc.
  • The Portable Kitchen Grill – great story, great grill
  • Side box smokers, my favorite way to cook when I have time
  • Tower style smokers
  • Tips on cooking various things on various cookers

Resources for today’s show…

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112 Responses to Episode-1212- All About Grills, Smokers and Outdoor Cooking

  1. thewarriorhunter

    looking forward to this show. i can’t seem to figure out charcoal and am thinking of going back to propane, i’ll be looking forward to what you have to say on using charcoal.

  2. London Bridge is now in Lake Havasu City AZ. the businessman who bought it in 1967 thought he was buying the Great Tower bridge and thought it was a steal for 2.5 million and he was disappointed it was only the London bridge!

  3. My wife forgot my birthday a few years ago… To make amends, she bought me a Big Green Egg. It was like having a child- a life changing experience. Jack, I wish I was a wealthy man so I could call up Big Green Egg HQ and have them ship one to the Spirko Homestead.

    • for my two cents I love Big Green Eggs….one of the best grill/smokers I have ever owned…very versatile and it produces really nice food….and pizza too!

      A weber kettle is awesome also… I HATE my Charbroil gas grill…other then being fast it’s a pice of crap…and this is a BIG expensive one….scrap metal in my opinion….I also HEARTILY recommend the Webser Smokey Mtn Cooker… a smoker that is terrific…easy to use…easy to control temperature and the results are amazing..can be had for about $250 on amazon…I ahve turned out some competition quality BBQ on both the Green Egg and the Smokey Mtn Cooker….of course my Low n Slow BBQ rub helps….see that here…sorry to plug…cant help myself…remember in the MSB you get 15% off with code TSP…..http://www.harvesteating.com/shopping/#!/~/product/category=2285990&id=12010711

    • I agree will you, Big Green Egg 100%, I am quite surprised that Jack has not broken-down and bought one. For the amount of money you spend to piecemeal a setup that Jack is talking about (IR, smoker box, etc.), you would spend probably more money than just buying an Egg. The BGE is dam near untouchable in its abilities, and it is an all-in-one :-)

      The number one problem of the BGE is temperature. It holds it so well, you need to creep-up on the temp you want. If you shoot pass the temp you are wanting, it will take some time to get it back down to what you were looking for. It is a typical BGE rookie mistake from people cooking too many years on Webers ;)

    • A BGE is good for many things but a few things are fantastic: steaks, hamburgers, and turkey. It was pricey but I was tired of burned out grills. I went through a few Webbers that were also good charcoal grills but not like the BGE.

    • I have to agree about the Egg. The best thing about the egg to me is that it is air tight, with absolute air control. The combination of only using lump charcoal gives the ability to snuff out the charcoal when through cooking. The remaining charcoal is reused in the next cook. Just a 1/2 chimney of lit charcoal on top of the old. I use 1/4 the total amount of charcoal with the egg versus my old grill. Its so worth the $.

    • Costco has been selling a BGE-like grill this year: The VisionGrills Classic. The in-store package included the nest with wheels, folddown wooden side tables, a double grate for $599. (Online price with shipping is about $100 higher). In addition to Costco’s return policy, people report good customer service from the company.
      I wasn’t sure if it would perform like a BGE, but I can now say it does. Now that I have the hang of it, no problem getting it to 700 for steaks :)
      Or keeping it at a low temp for hours of smoking.
      When I do summer grilling on a weekend, I start it early and throw on peppers, thus making my own adobes and chipotles with little effort.

      It’s actually not bad to move, compared to the big gas grill we had. It is heavy, but the ceramic part can be removed from the nest, so 1 or 2 people can move it in pieces if needed.

      • Modern Survival

        Yep part of my problem with every buying a BGE is how many more affordable versions are out there. I imagine like many things you often get what you pay for but I have my doubts about that here.

        The BGE works because of how think and insulated it is, that isn’t magic or a secret.

        I mean I can explain why to buy a weber over a cheap gas grill, I can show you parts that will fail in one and not the other, I can show the design of the drip pan, the gauge of the steel etc.

        I have looked at some grills that are like the BGE and I can’t see much difference. Most are hundreds of dollars less, not chump change.

        • Modern Survival

          Like this for instance, http://amzn.to/1bqdBFQ

          I have a hard time shelling out close to 800 bucks for a comparable BGE.

          If the added value is there, man someone show it to me. Fricken Christmas is coming!

  4. my cheap POS propane grill has a nice hood and temp gauge, the burners are already rusting/rotting out but I bet I could install the burners from from the camp chef grill and perhaps get a decent hooded propane grill for all seasons.

  5. My first comment has nothing to do with the show and everything to do with the picture above. Jack, this is probably the first photo of you I’ve seen that really shows how great you look after losing all that weight. Seriously, the most frequent photos I see of you are behind a desk and it’s really hard to tell how much you’ve lost.

    I haven’t listened to this show yet but it’s moving to the top of my playlist. I have to agree with Keith about the Weber. Absolutely love it. It just works so well and is so easy to get going. It’s a few years old now but you’d never know because it’s just so durable. I think my father has been through several gas grills over the last decade. Not sure why he keeps buying them when he used to have a Weber kettle.

  6. I say YAY to another grilling show.

    I have a Weber grill that I have had since 2001. It’s been outside most of the ime and it still keeps going. Worth every penny.

    I have the camp chef dual burner propane stove and I also have the flat top that is available. During the Sandy aftermath I boiled water for coffee in minutes and cooked many a meal on it. My neighbor borrowed it to prepare food and loved it.

    I also have a big bayou cooker kab-6 propane burner that we use for canning tomatoes. Brings a 10 gallon pot of water to boil in 15 minutes. It will hold a 55 gallon drum. It’s a beast.

  7. Have to say that I have a charcoal grill that defies the categories presented. It’s made by Brinkman and although it’s been painted once, I have 6 years into it with regular use both grilling and smoking with no environmental protection(it is time to look for a replacement but should last another year). It’s setup with the crank adjustable charcoal grate and two piece cast iron grate. Also has access to coals from front that I have to admit I don’t use much. I have been surprised because other grills of this type have not stood the test of time for me in the past. This thing has even put up with being brought to 600+ degrees for sear and serve steak.

  8. I loved the Show Jack and would love to hear maybe you and Keith doing a show with both of your grilling recipes and the best way to cook …Well Everything LOL!

  9. Great Show. I a show about grilling would be fantastic.

  10. Don’t smoke as much as I used to but I need to build me a ceramic smoker out of a couple of terra cotta pots and a hot plate. First saw it on the Goods Eats episode where he made pulled pork. He built it for under 50 bucks, I think I could go cheaper.

    As for charcoal, I’ve always used the cheap $20 grill I got at walmart. I only use it 3 or 4 times a week and it’s lasted 2 years so far.

  11. Bring on the other show about cooking different things! I a cajun and I love cooking…..

    Regards

  12. To add an FYI on cooking steaks on the BGE to show the difference in cooking that Jack was cautioning about. You do close the lid:

    Rule #1 of cooking ANYTHING = Start with room temperature food. This point can not be stressed enough. ALL recipes assume this; it doesn’t matter if you are grilling or baking.
    2. Starting with thick cut Ribeyes, pat meat dry with a paper towel and apply seasoning desired (kosher salt & pepper is best).
    3. Fire up grill, get up to 600+, will take a little while, but letting the meat cure some with the seasoning at this time adds to the flavor.
    4. Put steaks on, close lid, wait 2 minutes.
    5. Open lid, flip, wait 2 more minutes.
    6. Open lid, flip, shut down the grill (close the vents) while waiting the final 2 minutes.
    7. Let rest for 5 minutes, serve juicy medium-rare steaks.

    If you want medium, add about 30 seconds to each stage. If you want well done, go 3 minutes per turn, and with the egg, they will still be moist because of the closing of the lid and the high temp.

    The beauty of the Egg is the fact that because it holds your heat, you don’t open your grill, trust the recipe times. By not opening the lid, you keep the moisture inside, and with the fact that you are not having to add more fuel (gas or charcoal), you are not changing conditions and fluctuations in temp.

    With an Egg you ALWAYS close the lid.

    You can control from the start how hot a fire you get (no matter how much charcoal you put in the grill) by starting the fire either at the surface (low temp), or if you get your fire going from the bottom (high temp). When you have a good draft thru your grill (this is all grills), what dictates how hot you can get is how much charcoal the fire is burning thru as the flame goes up. When your fire is at the surface, the fire can’t really go down (the draft is actually creating an air wall), it can burn down, but it doesn’t have fuel above to keep burning and get hotter.

  13. Just another big green egg lover chiming in. Honestly, my BGE may be the favorite thing I have ever spent money on. Every time I use it t, it makes me happy. Everything that comes off of it is well cooked, yet still juicy. I have made steaks, chicken, fish, brisket, pork, pizza and pig – all on the egg. All if it was spectacular.

    The only downsides (besides the cost) are the relatively limited grill / smoking space. Some of what you talked about with putting up 12 chickens in a side box smoker have me thinking of maybe complimenting the egg with a smoker for parties since I have to do the same shuffle you talked about with your party this past weekend.

    But if you can find a way, get an egg. As much as you love grilling, you will love it.

    • Chris, what size do you have? I have a large. Don’t mean to turn this into an egghead forum, but that should give you an idea of passionate egg owners are.

      I have put 4 birds vertically in the large, and everything came out perfect. Biggest bird I did was an 18lb turkey during the holidays two years ago (the mother-in-law insisted on cooking this past year, I will probably do it again this year). I think a 20lb could fit if you really need it to. Only prep I did beyond your typical turkey is put an ice-pack on the breast so they would not get done before everything else. Worked great.

      Like most eggheads, if I get anything else, I will get another egg, just smaller. That way I can do things like veggies at a different temp while the meat is cook in the large. Long-term, I think it is better money spent.

      • Scott – I think I have a large as well – actually I have to measure as Jack reminded me of something I have been meaning to get for a while: cast iron grates. I would guess its maybe 20″ in diameter? I think I could do 4 whole chickens on end – I know the last time I did two slabs of ribs I had to cut them up and overlap them a bit.

        • Go down to your BGE dealer, they should have a cast iron grate. I got one when I first bought mine, it is very cool. I don’t know if it is unique to the egg, but the grate has a triangle profile. When doing steaks, point up, so you get the nice grill lines. When grilling hamburgers or something that is fragile in nature, point down, so you have more surface to support the food.

          Yeah, doing a whole slab can be done, but once you start doing two or three at a time, the V-rack really helps, and you do have to cut them in half to get everything in there. I use the 3-1-1 method at 225, 3 hours cooking standing up in the v-rack, one hour foiled vertically in the rack, last hour laid out as best I can as I sauce them up or season them again dry. We use to eat mainly wet ribs, but over time we have swung more to like them dry.

          The really funny part is I do more grilling during the winter than during the summer, and I think it drives my neighbors nuts. During the summer we spend so much time trying to have fun backpacking and stuff, we don’t necessarily do a lot of stuff at home. During winter we are at home without as much to do, so I grill.

    • Oh wow, you’re the first person I’ve heard of who does pizza on the grill aside from my stepfather’s uncle, who is a relatively recent Cuban immigrant, where they cook almost EVERYTHING over some sort of charcoal/wood fire out of necessity. Pizza made on a charcoal grill is just… amazing.

    • Did you all see this? I haven’t bought anything here yet, but I want one of those slide-out racks to make better use of my ceramic grill.
      http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/vision-big-green-egg.html

  14. I loved the show, I’m a BIG charcoal griller. I have a CharGrill from lowes and it has been wonderful.

    On the Chimney’s for starting coals, my favorite one is the weber brand. instead of a flat plate with holes, it’s a spiral of wire in a cone shape. allows for more coals to be started faster.
    Also, I stopped using paper to light it, I just set it on the burner for my turkey fryer for about 3 min and the coals are lit, 15 min later they are ready to be dumped. Before doing this, I just used the bag the charcoal came it, as I dumped out the coals I would rip off the top part and use it to light the coals.

    I’ve thought about the BGE, but can never justify the cost of it, those are might ‘spensive.

  15. Dang, Jack, do you know how much money you’ve cost me over the years? LOL Now I really want to buy a new grill……

  16. Here’s a tip. Take a charcoal chimney and get it fully red hot blazing. Get it so the big open end looks like a jet engine. Throw some sort of grill/grate over the big open end. This is the best way to sear fish like swordfish, tuna, scallops, striper, etc.

    It’s a little dangerous. Don’t leave unattended around dogs, kids or dummies.

  17. I have to agree with Jack on the T-22D model from CharBroil. I picked one up this spring and have been very impressed with it so far. The head distribution and control are great and no flare ups.

  18. holy synchronicity! I just went out and got my first backyard propane grill today, before I saw today’s show.
    looking forward to listening…

  19. great show… Thanks for all the tips. Looking forward to the recipes for the vegetables and such….

  20. Perfect timing, Jack! I need to buy a new grill and this really helped me evaluate all the pros and cons. You’re the man!

  21. Jack, take all of your recipes and put them into a PDF, then Put them into the MSB.

  22. Great show. Great info. I for one would like to hear a show on grilling different foods. Keep it coming!

  23. Great show Jack. Look forward to another show about grilling. Living in sw Florida i get to grill year round but like you I also grilled year round when i was stationed at Cherry point, nc. I have to agree that the picture posted is the first one where i can see the weight you’ve lost and will be showing it to my wife to remind her that I’m trying to eat paleo as well.

  24. The picture of the PK 99740 Cast Aluminum Grill showing a rack of ribs is misleading. You are going to want to use indirect heating for ribs, so that is going to cut the amount of available surface area for smoking in half.

    • Modern Survival

      No it really isn’t misleading at all. As for indirect heat you can easily make your coal bed to one side and fit a rack on the other.

      Also as I said, you get a really great effect with that grill, I would bet I could cook ribs over coal on it, not burn them and not dry them out. Frankly if I wanted to do ribs on that type of grill I would get a rack do to so. Even a roasting pan rack would let you do two racks easily. Yea you might have to cut them in half but anyone worried about that doesn’t make sense to me. I mean you don’t pick up a full rack and shove it in your bbq hole, so who cares if you cut the rack in half?

      FWIW, I have done ribs on my char broil, three racks all over the lowest heat I could do. With a small packet of chips in foil over the hotspot and they were awesome. I did have to cut them though, yet no one complained.

  25. Pragmatic reviews of grilles and smokers spot-on and not too lengthy. We’ll need these resources in our heads, not just in some manual, if there’s an interruption in fuel. Recipes are a backdoor way to intro the uninitiated into ways of being prepared. They motivate a desire to grow one’s own, which can lead to a few weeks of avoiding starvation. I’ll forward this show, as well as some “prep-lite” cooking show to many friends, to whom I’d never send episodes without proper introduction. To the young, we feed milk before we feed them meat. Good job, Jack!

  26. A complete Podcast about how to cook, recipes would be a hit… please do it.

  27. As Shannon said above the bridge with the towers in London is Tower Bridge. London bridge was very plain and sold to an American some time ago. Also tower bridge is not so named due to it’s towers but it’s location next to the tower of London.
    Correct pronunciation of the borough of Southwark is suth-erk. This is not meant as pedantic criticism but purely to improve knowledge. I know they’re are many place names in the US that I can’t pronounce, and you never learn without correction :)
    Other than that, excellent episode :)

  28. This show was AWESOME. I think though, that the best points you made were that you are a versatile griller, bbq-er and smoker and don’t stick to just one method, and will even employ 2 or 3 cooking apparatuses in the preparation of a particular meat. I too have employed a multi cooker method myself, and bbq/ smoker purists get REALLY mad at me for doing so, like I broke some sacred covenant. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH smoke, yet they don’t want to believe me.

    For instance, I was actually relieved to hear you say that you finish brisket in the oven. I recently went to a bbq hosted by a friend of mine who prides himself in being a bona fide “pit master” and had some of his brisket. He bragged that he’d smoked it for 24 hours, and while it WAS very flavorful and tender, it had basically one flavor- smoke. I am of the opinion that it is possible to over- do smoking, so when you claimed that you often start brisket, chickens and pork butt in the smoker and then finish them on the propane grill or oven I thought “yes, I thought I was the only one!!!”

    Believe it or, the technique of taking the (almost) finished meat off the smoker, wrapping it tightly in foil and then finishing it in the oven or propane
    is affectionately referred to as the “Texas cheat” by bbq purists. At this point though, I’d much rather prefer ribs smoked at 250 degrees F for three hours and then put on the propane grill for some char (and to set the sauce if I’m using any) than the recommended six hours. Six hours is just too long, and that over smoking can give you some serious heartburn.

    Also, a criminally underrated smoke wood is maple. Any hard wood will work well, but here in New England we have maple EVERYWHERE and damn if it doesn’t make for a GREAT tasting meat and any and every kind.

    I just wanted to send you this to let you know your show was NOT a flop at all, I found it entertaining and informative as hell. Glad to hear you’re an “out of the box” griller/ bbq-er.

  29. Terrific show … I’m ready for another.

  30. Jack, since you love Webers, you have to check out Webers WSM. I absolutely love mine. I think it can out smoke a Green Egg any day because of the ceramic coating. I can hold a turkey and 6 chickens. I have the 18inch. Thinking of upgrading to the 22. http://www.amazon.com/Weber-721001-Smokey-Mountain-Charcoal/dp/B001I8ZTJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380022950&sr=8-1&keywords=weber+wsm Thanks for all you do!

    • Now that I saw the vid on the Old Country side smoker, that looks awesome. I may want to go that direction. Thanks!

      • My father-in-law just bought himself one of the Weber tower smokers for Father’s Day this past year and loves the thing. We live in northern Illinois and he’s like you, Jack. He’s out there in January/February grilling.

    • Modern Survival

      Oh now damn it! I am going to want one for sure!

    • Bryan, like most things in life, it comes down to the skill of the user; not so much the tool. Only when a tool is an absolute piece of junk can someone blame the tool for the results.

      I would bet anyone with some knowledge of how to smoke and cook on grills, you can do wonderful things. I do it all the time with my father-in-laws weber at their lake house. Because of my knowledge of cooking, I know what I am looking for in the grill before I put on the food on, and then while I am cooking I know what other signs to watch for. People always gush about the results, it has nothing to do with the grill. Having an egg is merely a step-up for people that do a lot of outdoor cooking and the quality of the equipment.

      The one fault I can point out that will cause problems with the weber you point out is that it is steel. Steel will radiate the heat away much quicker than the egg. The entire point of the egg is keep as much of the heat in and stable to keep from having to continuously feed the fire. Really this isn’t a problem for chickens and ribs. I bet anything from 5 hours and under, the weber will do fine, but you probably will need to keep an eye on it. With the egg, I literally set it up, put the food in, check the temp about 15 minutes later to see if we are still good, and then go away for hours doing something else, you can trust it that much.

      The other part, the weber being made of steel, you probably don’t want it to sitting out in the weather. You don’t need to worry about an egg being ceramic. Again, long-term, you are going to spend orders of magnitude different in the cost of the actual food versus the grill, so dollar-for-dollar, the extra you need to save for an egg is money well spent. An egg can literally last a lifetime.

    • I big second on the WSM. I also have the 18 inch and love it. It isn’t too big, but big enough. If I just want to cook a chicken, I don’t feel too bad about cooking such a small amount. Also, it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

      I’ve cooked everything on it and it holds up well. The one thing I will be doing is upgrading to cast iron grates. The original steel grates are getting to the point that I want to replace them.

  31. Moar grilling shows, Jack! This ‘un was great!

  32. Please, please, PLEASE do a show on side box smoking.

    I have a friend who likes to smoke meat, and the only thing that come out of the smoker that’s been better than what I can do in my oven were brined chickens. He’s cooked pork shoulder, brisket, pork loin, and ribs for us, and most of the foods were good but not excellent. I know that PART of his problem was his dry rubs, but I think another part of the problem was smoking foods too hot. I think he usually shot for 250 degrees, and that didn’t make pork that was easy to pull or ribs that were falling off the bone. In fact, I really didn’t like the ribs at all.

    I LOVE the flavor that smoke puts into meat. In fact, a couple weeks ago, a friend from church brought in lunch (veggies, smoked chicken, mozzarella) where the chicken had been smoked on one of those Egg grill knock-offs. (I think she said it’s called the Acorn or something.) I LOVE smoked chicken, and I REALLY want to smoke some salmon, but I can’t STAND dry fish. I don’t want it ruined!

    So please… If you didn’t get the message before, share your wisdom. :)

  33. Everyone should check out these guys for a Webber kettle grill being used in all kinds of creative ways-

    http://www.youtube.com/user/BarbecueWeb

  34. Jack,

    You said the “clowns” are doing things that would ruin your mood. I’ve often wondered how much BS goes on behind the scenes of a fairly large blog. Considering a podcasting project of my own and (inspired by you, but on a different topic). Just wanted to know what I might be in for.

    Thanks,
    Gomer

  35. Jack – loved the show and would like to hear more of your recipes. Only negative is that I just finished listening to the show, and it’s almost lunch time LOL.
    Up here in MN, I start grilling as soon as the snow is gone, usually April, and keep at it until it’s too cold, or too much snow on the deck, usually sometime in November. Will be looking at getting a good smoker like yours as I would like to have a much better smoker.

  36. Jack, I second/third/whatever anyone who said they want to hear another show on smoking/side box smokers. PLEASE DO THAT.

  37. Matthew N Gooseneck

    Jack you really have slimmed down. Great job.

  38. Matthew N Gooseneck

    Also I found Keith Snow and his harvest eating show on my Roku. Check it out it is a good show.

  39. A couple of comments on chimney starters. Instead of newspaper, I use anything that would go through a shredder (for security purposes) to start mine. I throw in a few small sticks off the ground and maybe a dozen briquets, then light the paper. The smaller amount gets going easier then I fill it the rest of the way with charcoal. Also, years ago I was grilling at a friends house so I took my chimney starter over there. I looked out the patio door just in time to see their male dog hike a leg and pee on my chimney. The funny thing is, that particular spot on the metal never did rust.

  40. Enjoyed this show. I would definately like to hear more about outdoor cooking/recipes.

  41. I loved the show it will be one to listen to twice. I would love to hear more on how to properly use a charcoal grill, such as getting the heat right and using the drafts openings. some more recipes would be welcome also! Thanks

  42. So are you saying to soak the grill top in olive oil or the grill brush for the first 4-5 times of using it?

    • Modern Survival

      I pretty much do it every time, before cooking and after cooking. That is with cast iron of course. Soak isn’t the word I would use though, more like coat.

  43. So you’re saying you use the grill brush to coat the oil onto the cast iron grill top?

    • Modern Survival

      Well it is what I do, it kills two birds with one stone. Knocks all the crud off and coats the iron at the same time. I generally knock it off with a brush that isn’t oiled but it has oil from the last time. Once cleaned I dump some oil on the brush and brush it more. I do it till you can tell all the iron has some oil on it.

  44. Great show. More grilling and smoking meat shows would be great. How about cold smoking for long term meat preservation? Have you tried smoked cheese? I love smoked cheese, but it is expensive. I would love to have a cold smoker to make these items. A show on accomplishing this would be fantastic. Thanks Jack.

    Vic

  45. Great show, and I’d like to see a show with lots if recipes.

    For the chimney, don’t worry about the coals not being grey. When there is no longer any smoke and just fire coming out the top, the coals are ready.

  46. Wonderful show. I have the 22″ Weber with the bottom vent, which I bought to hold me over until I could afford a replacement propane grill.

    Turns out I love the thing after 6 years of ownership, and have no real desire to invest in a gas grill.

    Also, I actually scored a free “Little Chief” cold smoker a couple years back and haven’t exactly mastered it. A show on cold smoking would be appreciated.

  47. Anyone using traeger grill/smoker?

    • I know a few people that have Traegers, and they all swear by them. I think there’s a lot of kool-aid drinkin’ going on there, but I have had some really good eats that were smoked on a Traeger. If they weren’t over-priced and if you didn’t have to use their proprietary pellets, I’d give it a shot. I was hoping Jack would at least mention them, but if he’s never tried one, I guess it is what it is.

  48. I have never felt so awesome about being chastised before – 2 episodes in a row! :)

    1. Thanks for talking me back from the edge on both EcoZoom and the all in one. When I last had a 7-in-1 I was 20 and didn’t know what the hell I was doing on the grill. I can get a good grill, a fryer/burner, and a smoking solution for a little more and have good equipment that I wont be frustrated with. I do WANT the EZ… cooking breakfast outside with my wife is very appealing.

    2. I would have NEVER looked at that Char Broil as my solution. After you said no way on the EZ on Friday, I saw the CharBroil in Lowe’s this weekend and walked on by thinking “too small a surface and too big a grill”. Your assessment made me rethink. Mentioned to my wife about this episode and your advice. She said “Oh, I saw that grill and liked it. You’re the one that didn’t like it. I think it’s cute.” As you can imagine, this grill is now in my future.

    3. Your advice on smokers is right on too – heavy is better, trailer mounted is best. I’ve used a REAL smoker before (capable of 2 whole hogs) and always long to have the real deal again. I think I will add that to my list of 13 in 14 – build a smoker. In the meantime, I’ll have to get my old neighbor to pull his over to the house and do ribs/brisket in the oven.

    4. My wife gave me grief for monopolizing an entire episode… thanks though. I think you saved me some headache.

    PS – I was on YouTube last night watching some vids on backup fishing methods and ran across your old Survival Fishing series (fishing with flowers). As Gooseneck said earlier… HOLY CRAP you have seriously lost some pounds. Very impressive. We’re proud of you and happy you’ll be healthy so you can keep TSP coming at us for years to come.

  49. I loved this show Jack. Please keep them coming. Videos for MSB would be awsome.

  50. Awesome episode, made me exceptionally hungry.

    Would really love an episode of just your grilling recipes Jack.

  51. Great show! I have a Big Green Egg and just love it. I make the best steak ever on this thing by getting it up past 700F and a few flips and medium-rare. Awesome. Eggs are expensive buy you can get a good deal during an Egg smokefest and it’s totally worth it.

  52. anyone else making their own charcoal? I started doing this as one of my 13 skills and my charcoal is running much hotter than store bought-took me a couple tries to get used to it. I am mostly using light to medium wood-popple and ash so maybe I need to try harder woods like oak? BTW great show everyone should know how to grill and cook it’s an essential skill.

  53. One of my skills to work on this fall is smoking meat-I am going to make sausage brats etc for the first time so if you want to cover any aspects of this on a show it would be greatly appreciated. Deer hunting with a bow starting tomorrow all scraps going to sausage and other smoked meats. Been reading and preparing for this but any help in a show would be appreciated.

    If you end up doing an auqa ponics or auqa culture seminar will bring down some samples.

  54. Noob grilling question: Why is it so important to leave the top open when grilling a steak? This never really was explained in the podcast.

    • Modern Survival

      So you don’t over cook it and so you get the outside nice and caramelized. Cooking on open flame you can get the grill really hot but not cook the meat though too fast. That give you enough time on both sides to get the nice charred, caramelized, grill mark looking deliciousness on the steak.

      I mentioned the way Scotts old style thick aluminum grill made a good steak with the lid down, however it wasn’t what I call perfect. It was juicy, it was perfectly medium inside and it did taste very good but it wasn’t charred and caramelized on the out side.

      Simply put ignore the level of doneness because this might be too rare for your taste, just look at the outsides,

      I want this in a steak http://chicolockersausage.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/grilled-rare-steak.jpg

      Not this https://www.hopeingod.org/sites/hopeingod.org/files/photos/steak.jpg

  55. I’ve looed at the gas grill you have. I asked the salesman at Lowes about it and he was not crazy about it. He complained about the panels with all the small holes in it that distributes the heat getting stopped up with grease and food. Have you had any issues with that? I’m in the market for a new grill. It’s either this one or an expensive Weber. I’m definitely getting the Weber charcoal grill you have. Thanks…David

    • Modern Survival

      Um not to sound curt but if I did do you think I would recommend it so highly. Let me tell you about Lowes sales people MOST not ALL but MOST do not know their asses from a hole in the ground and the same is true about Home Depot and other box stores.

      His assumption is likely based on his opinion by LOOKING at it, and he likely has never cooked on one.

      Those plates are the entire point, they are what makes the heat distribute so well. Can a few holes get stopped up after a lot of use, yea, it is called CLEANING YOUR GRILL. If I sound harsh understand it isn’t you I am harsh about it is know nothing sales people that piss me off. Same shit when I hear idiots selling guns saying you have to be more accurate with a 380 then a 9mm, etc.

      There is also this fact, many people that say a grill isn’t good are idiots, they don’t know how to use or care for a grill, this one is a PERFECT example.

      Take a look at the reviews on Amazon including the many 4-5 star reviews. http://www.amazon.com/Char-Broil-Infrared-Urban-Folding-Shelves/dp/B002M9IZW2

      Then look at quite a few of the one star reviews

      Stuff like it is rusted – answer don’t leave it in the rain you tard and oil the grate after cooking.

      Food sticks to the grill – answer use oil and don’t throw ice cold meat on the damn thing.

      The door handle broke when I tried to move the grill with it – answer the door handle is for opening the door not picking up the grill.

      After only two years the plates are all gummed up and failing – answer clean your grill, well buy new plates then clean it regularly.

      After three years the castors rusted out and the wheel feel off – answer cover your grill, don’t leave it sitting out in the rain. Oh and there is this magical shit called oil, as in WD-40 in a spray can. I has this mystical ability to prevent rust and even remove light rust. Get some and spray it on rust prone parts of your grill and anything else you own that spends time outside. Um, guess I should add, don’t use that on cooking surfaces.

      Sorry it just irks me that the ignorant are trusted as advisers in our society.

      This reminds me of what Steve Harris says about bad reviews of some 800 watt inverters, “generally this is from idiots that try to run a 1100 watt coffee maker on a 800 watt inverter”. All I can say is exactly.

    • Find the old guys at Lowes, they tend to have the knowledge. Most of them are ex contractors working part time for some cash during retirement.

      Jack, you seriously need to do shows on critical thinking like this. You always hint around it with posts like this or a few lines on a Monday show, but a straight up show(s) like analyzing feedback or logical fallacies or research.

  56. Christopher Flynn

    Great episode, I’ve long said that grilling is a prepper skill!

    First, the method you describe for cooking chicken is called spatchcock which is also fun to say.

    Second, I know you said you didn’t have much experience with them but the big green egg is awesome. Since it’s glazed ceramic, the grill won’t rust and has a limited lifetime warranty so you only have to buy one, you don’t need to buy a new one every few years. Also since it maintains a temperature very well you can bake in it. High heat searing, easy… 200 deg smoking all day, no problem. I know you are paleo and probably don’t do much pizza but a couple minutes at 700 degrees makes perfect pizza. It’s really a versatile grill. Of course there are drawbacks, the price and the grilling surface. Yes, you can smoke but it doesn’t have nearly the same surface area as your sidebox smoker. (though you can go vertical and get a little more room)

    Finally, on the aussie walkabout, while it’s an ok grill it’s also very limiting. Be careful when using hardwood lump charcoal, I’ve bent the grate on mine from the heat. It’s great for just doing some simple grilling but as you said, rust city so you’ll probably need to replace it in a few years. Unless you really just need something cheap and disposable, I’d recommend at least spending the few dollars more and getting the weber.

  57. Matthew N Gooseneck

    Has anyone ever used The Holland Grill?

  58. Great episode. I like to cook and one of my 13 skills I wanted to work on this year was grilling, which I’ve learned about this summer. Glad to hear the Spirko way of grilling.

  59. This was great fun to listen to. My first grill was an abused charcoal kettle style bought at an estate sale for $10 this spring. I rehabilitated it a bit and now I have a usable (and fun) prep.

    By the way, I can second Jack’s recommendation of Keith Snow’s steak seasoning. It’s a great option!

  60. Char Broil just gave me 25% off the T-22D and 2 cast iron grates/IR reflectors. Getting all of the above for $267 with free shipping. That’s cheaper than the list price at Lowes (not including tax) or elsewhere I’ve found on the grill itself.

    I tried to get a discount for the entire community at that rate – no joy yet. They have a 15% coupon anyway (W13HA15). The customer service rep said the 25% was only for today… if you want one, call and say Dillon sent you via Rose. I left them with a standing request for a better-than-15% discount code to put out to the TSP community. If I get it, I will update here and also let Jack know.

  61. Regarding lighting a charcoal chimney:

    The way I’ve always done it gets it going every time. I take my paper and roll it up tight into a paper stick. Then, I bend it and make a ring inside the bottom of the chimney around the outside of the tube. I fill it with a few pieces like this until I have what looks like a crinkly, paper donut. Leave the center completely open.

    Fill the top with your charcoal and light the paper. The hole in the middle will allow for plenty of air through the middle. It starts very quickly for me. Probably 10-15 minutes and it’s ready to dump.

  62. Great episode, almost thought you weren’t going to mention a chimney starter. I would love a follow up with more grilling and smoking techniques.

  63. great episode on grillin’. I have been a Weber fan for years. Their customer support is top notch. I have been running the same Weber genesis 1000 style grill since 1998. I finally rebuilt it last year for about $100. new burners, “flavorizor” bars and igniter kit. I also replaced all the durawood with cedar i bought from Menards. I had replaced the cast grill plates and the gas hose a few years before. Grill looks and operates like new.

    I had to replace the gas hose because a squirrel or something had chewed a hole through it. The original order got lost in the mail, called Weber back to check the order and let them know i had not received it and they not only resent the order ASAP but also completely refunded the order. That is great customer service and i will buy only Weber from now on.

    As far as steaks, i have always cooked mine on this grill with it covered (actually i think i cook everything covered). I put a light rub down of olive oil then kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, 3-4min/side with a 1/4 turn at about 2 min on each side for the happy stylish grill marks. Always come out about medium rare.

    If you want some good chicken wing seasoning try some Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning. It is mouthwatering. http://www.amazon.com/Cavenders-Greek-Seasoning-Stove/dp/B0000DG4E9

    • I don’t know if you eat wild game or not, but I use the greek seasoning you speak of on one side of my steak and alpine touch seasoning on the other….its a good compliment worth trying.

  64. hope this is acceptable to share this. alton brown aged steak at home. after trying its the only way we eat steak since. try it with a t bone and just modify cooking as such; 90 seconds on each side directly over high heat, lower heat and move to the side and cook 3-5 minutes under cover (even though jack disagrees ;-) ) and rest for 5 minutes. best steak EVER!!! thanks for the show and making me hungry jack.
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/dry-aged-chimney-porterhouse-recipe/index.html

  65. Great show….I couldn’t agree more with the steak grilling. That is exactly how I cook mine….garlic salt and course pepper. As far as the smoker….have you ever tried the little chief smoker? Ever since I was a young child,my family has always built our own smokers, and ran a pipe from a sheepherder stove into the smokehouse. I found that the little chief isn’t quite as good, but for the money, it does its job for sure. I smoke everything throughout the year in temperatures from 30 below zero to 90 degrees, and have had no problems with it. I found the older models work better, as the newer ones have a burner that is too hot. I have smoked fish, game birds, elk and deer jerky, hams, and bacon without issue. Just a thought for the viewers.

  66. Love cooking shows like these. In a fallout scenario or just day to day living, nothing, in my opinion, saves your more money, boosts your self-sufficiency, and gives you an opportunity to use your preps like good old fashioned cooking! The opportunity to learn from someone else’s experience is a rare opportunity. Your tip to finish a brisket in the oven was brilliant! I’ve tried in vain to get a perfect brisket, and while I’ll not give up on that 100% smoked brisket, but in the mean-time I’ve got a work around. Reviews of different grills also got my mind rolling on fabricating a chimney connector to go between my upright smoker and portable charcoal grill. We’ll see how it goes!

  67. Great show. It just at the right time. I just returned a KitchenAid grill because it fell apart in less than a year.

    I was leaning toward purchasing the Weber Genesis until I hear this show.

    Jack, any durability issues with the Charbroil? Ive heard of issue with the grates clogging and just that the Weber is built so much better.

    800$ for a grill is steep, but my last Weber lasted me 12 years!

  68. I want a warning before the grilling show! I want to have my own beer and meat ready so I don’t get hungry!

  69. Bring on the cooking/grilling shows. recipes, techniques, smoking.

  70. Joe Barfield

    I’m going back in for another listen. I can’t seem to find Jack’s Chicken Wing recipe anywhere here or on the forum. Dinner is in a few hours… ;-)

  71. MichiganNimrod

    Thought of this episode yesterday. We got a coupon from the local Ace Hardware for 7 bucks off any $20 purchase.

    Decided to get some charcoal and trade in my 2nd propane tank (as rusting and the valve didn’t always open) and get my 7 bucks. No problem. But the lady at the counter asked if I was sure I wanted to trade instead of getting it filled. I asked why and she said you get 5 less pounds on the trade ins.

    Point? Nothing really aside from get your tank refilled unless you have a reason to want a different/better tank.

  72. Great episode, just finished listening.

    Tip for cooking a well done steak. Draw a sink of HOT water. Place your steak in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible. Float the steak in the hot water and bring it up to temp. You may have to drain the water if the temp falls too much and re fill with hot water. Float the steak for 20 minutes before cooking. It will be a light brown color and the fat will soften up when it’s ready to throw on the grill. Once it’s reached this stage throw it on the grill with the rest of the steaks and it will be cooked well done in the same amount of time as the other steaks and still be nice and juicy.

    For the record, I like my steaks cooked just enough to take the moo out, the Warden likes hers well done.

  73. Loved this episode. Got away from all the stupid crap in the world and just had fun. Loved it, would like to see/hear more like this one. Both on grilling and just a pick a project your working on and gab about it good ol boy style. Maybe even a once a week or two weeks show. Love all you do and thanks for being a real American!!!