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Grill Masters
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About MassBBQ

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  1. I can think of a few things that will help ... but fundamentally there is a conflict between cooking a steak to medium or beyond and having it stay juicy and tender that is VERY hard to resolve. It's just the nature of protein ... animal muscle protein contracts and gets tough when cooked beyond 140 degrees. Only the best, most expensive prime cuts can stay close to tender when cooked to a barely pink medium, and some (myself included) feel that it's kind of a shame to waste good prime beef by cooking it to anything beyond medium-rare. That said, there are some different techniques I suggest for getting a good sear. These are complicated by the stock grates on the Weber One-Touch. The thin plated bars are not at all conducive to creating grill marks or a good sear. They simply don't have the thermal mass and rough surface area needed to really facilitate the Maillard reaction that creates a good sear and that seared flavor. But a few tricks can help. A replacement set of cast iron grates would help more (I have no affiliation with this company at all and I am not recommending them specifically). First, the surface of the steak needs to be really, really dry for a good sear. If there is even the slightest hint of moisture, the surface will generate steam when it hits the grill grate and not sear. The same goes for oil ... although for flavor olive oil is helpful, it actually hinders the searing, so I'd leave it off and just give the grate a light coat of oil (I actually use cooking spray). Patting the surface of the steak with paper towels isn't enough either. One trick I picked up from Cook's Illustrated a few years ago is to season the steak with salt, let it sit for a while to come to room temperature (like 40+ minutes, more on why below; I often let my thick steaks sit salted overnight in the refrigerator), then pat it dry with a paper towel. Then, sprinkle both sides lightly with a mixture of kosher salt and corn starch (equal parts by volume) and place it on an elevated rack in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. The key to this is that freezers are extremely dry and usually have air circulating, so this helps dry the surface thoroughly. And the corn starch absorbs any other moisture. Plus, the freezer cools the outside layers of the steak, so when it's back on the grill it will cook a little slower and won't get so tough while the middle, which stays close to room temp, cooks through. The reason that the steak is salted before being dried is to help with the Maillard reaction. This reaction requires amino acids (protein building blocks) and the presence of a reducing sugar to occur. The primary reducing sugar available in steak is the glucose trapped in the cellular fluid. The idea behind salting the steak is to draw some of this cellular fluid to the surface of the meat. As Tubby's Smokehouse points out, the longer salt stays on the surface of the meat, the more moisture is pulled out ... to a point. If left on long enough, the osmotic pressure will equalize and fluid will begin to redistribute back into the steak, bringing seasoning with it (this is the principle behind brining chicken for example). Although there might be a slight net moisture loss, the steak should be more flavorful and the surface will end up with the right compounds to facilitate the Maillard reaction. There's a great explanation of this at the Serious Eats website. Try this method and see if your results are better. With a thin (1" or less) steak the standard sear and then cook over lower heat should work. For thicker steaks (1.5"+) cooked to medium or beyond I actually recommend an opposite approach, starting over low heat and getting a sear at the end. Finally ... I can't emphasize this enough ... get a really good, accurate thermometer. I use a Thermoworks Thermapen but there are less expensive alternatives. Cook to reach the desired intrnal temperature, not the desired look on the outside. After some practice you'll get the timing correct so that a 5-step, 1-flip procedure (On the grill, quarter turn, flip, quarter turn, remove) will give you a nice cross-hatch of grill marks. But until then concentrate on not overshooting your desired temperature and you'll be rewarded with great steak. Good luck and I hope you post some pics!
  2. Sorry - I hadn't checked this thread in forever. I was one of the first to notice rust forming (I bought mine around the same time you did) and called the Char-Broil 800 number. They sent me a brand new set which I kept in the garage for 2+ years. They were very quick and helpful on the phone.
  3. Thanks for this post ... it seems there aren't many Bradley owners on the board, but I certainly appreciate the updates. I haven't tried brisket yet, but I have done ribs and shoulder in my Bradley. Also chicken quarters, lots of bacon, and a little salmon. Once you get the hang of the temp control things turn out pretty well. I never thought of EBay for the aluminum pucks, I've been keeping my eye out of the perfect sized can so I could bandsaw three rings out of it. Haven't found it yet ... I may give EBay a search. Keep the info coming.
  4. It's not a marketing trick. But seasoning a skillet (or any other piece of cast iron) isn't something that is done only once. It is a process that takes time. Each cook leaves another layer of polymerized fats on the pan surface, building a better and better layer of non-stick coating. So pre-seasoned = better than non-seasoned, but the second, third, fourth time you use it it will get better still. The most prized pans are those handed down from generation to generation - my main pan is about 25 years old and I can cook crepes in it - nothing sticks anymore. But it took many many batches of cornbread, fried chicken, sausages, and vegetables to get to this point. My mom is still using a pan that my dad had before they got married. It's over 40 years old. And I can't wait to give it to my daughter. Lodge pre-seasons their pans because it can be a difficult/stinky/smoky process for people with only an indoor oven. And at least it's better than nothing. My routine for new cast iron is similar to others here. I fire up the grill and then wipe on a thin layer of Canola oil. I let it go with the lid closed until the pan is done smoking, then wipe on another layer of oil. I do this over and over for as much time as I have. Then I usually make my first few meals something fried - chicken or French fries. After each cook I repeat the oil wipe down and heating until smoking stops. I clean it with hot water and a Scotch Brite pad. If I really need to scrub I use some kosher salt. But I always put it back on the heat or in the oven after cleaning to ensure it's dry and I give it an oil wipe before I let it cool. Stick with it and you'll be rewarded with the almost pure black coating that is prized by cooks. You'll know it's going well when you can see a difference in the metal inside the pan versus the bottom that's exposed to the heat/flames. The inside will get darker and darker until it's black. Good luck.
  5. Yesterday I was scraping more of the rust off the bottom of the troughs in my RED and I finally saw daylight through the bottom. So 2 years and 4 months after purchase and first steaks, the troughs burned through. I still have a brand new, unused set that CharBroil sent me under warranty so I will switch over. But for people wondering how long it would take to burn through, now you know. I live in New England, so I give a grill more summer use than winter use, so your burn-through time may vary with your use pattern, but no one else has reported burn-through yet and I think I was one of the first RED owners to report here. I'll add some details later -- but now the news is out.
  6. I wrote this review of my 4-burner model. I've always believed that the 3-burner model was a bit less robust. More people have reported problems with the 3-burner model's burners for instance. Some seem to have difficulty achieving a good temperature. In 2009 and 2010, the 3-burner model was changed more than the 4-burner model, and I don't have any experience with the new stainless 3-burner model. So I guess the answer is no - the grill in the link is not the one this thread was originally about. But the 4-burner sears steaks pretty well for me. Grates get to about 800 degrees. A restaurant salamander on the other hand can get upwards of 1200 degrees. So not quite restaurant power, but pretty good for a home grill.
  7. Tomatoes work well with alcohol (think of a classic vodka sauce) as do chilis. The latter are particularly good with pork. I've done a tequila, lime, chipotle combination on both a pork roast and on chicken before. I used dried, ground chipotle in a tequila-based brine. Usual 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar in a gallon of water. Only I tend to brine in plastic bags and make less, so I used 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, juice of 2 limes, chipotle to taste, a couple cloves of crushed garlic, and 4 cups of inexpensive tequila mixed with 4 cups of water. If you allow the pork to dry fully on the surface without washing off the spices, you can get a nice crust. Even better of you can cook this over mesquite wood. I also tend to like my BBQ sauces thinner than most people so I often cut a bottled sauce with apple cider vinegar and use it as a finishing sauce. Sometimes I'll substitute bourbon or another whiskey for some of the vinegar. Adds a little different flavor to a finishing sauce. Finally, in the summer I'm a big limoncello fan, and I've found that a little limoncello marinade works wonders for things like shrimp, scallops, or other quick cooking foods. I usually brush some of the marinade back on during cooking. And for scallops I'll occasionally add a couple teaspoons of sugar to the marinade. Seems to help get a nice brown sear on the wet ones I get frozen in the supermarket when I'm too lazy to get to the real fish monger and get fresh, dry scallops. Hope that helps.
  8. I was watching my daughter at a gymnastics class one morning when I noticed that a deli in the same plaza had a menu on the counter. About halfway down the second page: a "Taylor Ham sandwich!" No way I figured - this is Massachusetts. So I walked over and sure enough - they made me a passable Taylor Ham on a hard roll. The roll wasn't anything nearly as good as I remember from Jersey, but it was good enough. I hadn't had a Taylor ham sandwich in probably 20 years (I left Jersey in '88). So - the New York Deli (of all the ironic names) on route 9 in Westborough, MA makes a passable Taylor ham on a hard roll. I have noticed that it's on their printed menu and NOT on their more limited web menu.
  9. When I had bulk propane tanks installed for a backup generator I asked my gas company about this. And they wouldn't touch it at all. The rep told me that codes here (and probably in most places) required the gas supply to terminate at a fixed point. Like my generator on a gravel/cement pad. Or a built-in grill unit. So unless I was willing to surround my grill with stone or mount it on some other fixed mounting they said no way. That's probably why the parts aren't readily available. The guy also told me that if one of the delivery drivers noticed that kind of hook up they would stop delivery. That said, as far as function goes, as long as the regulators deliver the required BTU/hour at the proper pressure, I can't see how the size of the tank on the other end makes a bit of difference. As far as NG vs. Propane fittings - as long as you're bypassing the attached system that uses the new large knob connector NG and propane piping & fittings should be the same. But when consumer propane devices switched from the standard left-handed thread to the big right-handed thread connectors things got mixed up, at least on consumer propane hoses.
  10. Wow ... talk about a thread coming back from the dead. Glad you seem to be having a good experience. People posting on the board seem about 50/50 good/bad. I still love mine and believe it or not, my original troughs still haven't rusted all the way through. I can't believe they're still holding, but they are. I posted somewhere (searched but can't find it now) some measurements I took with my infrared thermometer. If I really let it heat for a good 15 to 20 minutes the grates will push 800 degrees and a little more in a few spots. Mostly though they are in the 650 to 750 degree range. The hood thermometer is a guide - and not a particularly good one at that. Good luck.
  11. Agreed - there was a time in my life when money was so tight I cooked a lot of pork loin (not tenderloin - cheap loin) in Brinkmann Smoke-n-Pit over apple wood from three old apple trees in my back yard and a little charcoal. Keep it dry and well ventilated and it should serve you well.
  12. Sorry to hear about all the problems. There's really no excuse for this - since the RED is distributed more or less exclusively through Home Depot in the US, they should be able to get an updated set of orifices to every store for each unit in stock to be installed when the grill is assembled. Good luck with the Weber!
  13. I read on the packages as well as somewhere online (one discussion at Bradley Smoker Forums) that Bradley uses a tiny amount of gelatin to get the pucks to hold together. Can't get more natural than that - just the stuff left over after a good rack of ribs or shoulder is slow cooked. I've found that Wal-Mart online has pucks for a decent price. I can get a 120 pack of whatever flavor for $41 including shipping. That's $ 0.34 a bisquette or $1.02 an hour for smoking. Worth it for me, but I can understand the attraction of being able to use less expensive chips, etc. Anyway, I'm glad to see this thread picking up ... I've done ribs, pulled pork shoulder, chicken quarters, salmon, and bacon in my smoker and love it. As for tips - only one so far: clean the puck feeder after every use and blow the crumbs out. Otherwise it can interfere with the feeder and cause a jam (I wrote about my New Year's Eve experience and the error at http://robsrants.havasy.net/2010/01/pulled...bradley-smoker/).
  14. I written a lot about the 4-burner and I love it. The only area that has given me problems are the "troughs" that started rusting within the first month that I owned it. However, I just spent some time with a wire brush and after cleaning all the corrosion off the troughs, they are still serviceable. So they are now going into their third grilling season after two full years outside under just a Char-Broil cover. I wouldn't worry about them rusting through anytime soon. And I have a brand new set that Char-Broil sent me for free when I originally reported the rust. I don't think you can find a better grill for the money. Other than the troughs, everything else is holding up remarkably well. The whole case and lid are corrosion free and all the valves and ignitors work fine. I still recommend this grill. I'll post some pictures of my trough cleanup as soon as I get them downloaded from my camera.
  15. They replaced mine under warranty, no questions asked. But I called as soon as corrosion started. I haven't used my replacements yet -- still in storage. My originals are oh so close to burning through, but they've made it close to three years now without actually burning through. So between the originals and the free replacements, I should get close to six years without shelling out extra $ for parts. Even if I need additional troughs, the 4-burner ones are $40 each. I'm willing to bear that cost after 5 or 6 years. Yup. I've lived through the popcorn. Brush and paint -- doesn't help much, but like I said, I'm going on 3 years now. I agree with others that it's probably condensation. My cover has been outside through rain, sun, snow, and ice and it is just now getting holes in it. The stainless steel trough idea is interesting, but there is speculation that the color of the troughs is important - black is a more efficient emitter. Perhaps ceramic coated stainless?