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i am not planning to replace the dishwasher when it dies.

"We don't intend to replace it until we sell the house."

This behavior has always puzzeled me. Why not replace it now and get some use out of it rather than providing a brand new one for your buyer? I've seen people do this with so many things, carpet, appliances, just about anything that can break or wear out around the house.

Chuck Eye Steaks

According to the Steak Issue of "Barbecue America" best results would be to marinate.

Calphalon Non-stick cookware pans are NOT dishwasher safe - WHY?

I'm going to blame the appliance manufactures for adding a pot and pan cycle to the "Dishwasher" for this dilemma.

As with most things in life, an automatic dishwasher is a series of tradeoffs. In other words, the dishwasher "system" washer box, racks, water distribution system, and detergent are designed to clean the most possible combinations of foodstuffs. Some, and I'll guess you may be one, place very dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and that's fine, that's what it's for, right. But, it takes a powerful detergent to dissolve dried on food, such as egg yokes and catsup. The reason SOME cookware can't be put in the Dishwasher is because of its construction and how certain components react with the powerful detergent needed to clean the dishes. You can still put that cookware in the dishwasher and if you don't care what it looks like or how it affects the longevity of your cookware, then there are no issues. It's as simple as that. Or you can get cookware that is dishwasher detergent resistant or "dishwasher safe".

The automatic dishwasher is very much like the electric starter on your automobile. You don't have to go to the river and beat your cloths between two rocks anymore, but you still have to put them in the washing machine, and not all cloths are machine washable, just like not all cookware is dishwasher detergent safe.

May 15, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Needing a new cookware set

My daughter's MIL bought her a Rachel Ray nonstick set just about 3 years ago, they are already loosing the coating. We're replacing them with All-Clad piece by piece as they deteriorate. I have not been impressed with most celebrity chef cookware. Martha Stewart enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens were so bad Macy's had to pull them off the shelf. Mario Batali piastras all cracked in use. Not that all are bad, but in general I'm not impressed.

May 14, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Water stain on enameled cast iron??

Barkeepers Friend will also work to remove hard water stains and it isn't abrasive enough to damage the outside of your ECI cookware.

May 14, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Needing a new cookware set

Interesting point. You're right, $150 will buy you serviceable cookware, but nothing fancy, at least not on the retail market. I've shopped very carefully and have bought some new pieces of very nice cookware for under $150, but most pieces are priced over that at full retail. We spent over twice that on a small M-cook set for one of our daughters and it was a sale price. Even individual pieces, other than the really small ones, are either pushing $150 or over it.

May 13, 2015
mikie in Cookware

1st Brisket - Help!

Hi Duffy,

I've been using the WSM for years now and it's no doubt the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to smokers. There are a couple of advantages to the WSM vs the Kettle, first the WSM has a water tray which serves two purposes, 1)it's a heat sink, so it helps modulate swings in temperature, 2)it provides moisture to help keep the meat from drying out. The tall domed lid helps direct the smoke and circulate it around the meat, that's very important because the meat will only absorb
smoke up to 120°F, when the meat protein sets. Because of the side door on the WSM it's possible to add coals or wood chunks to the smoker, without removing the lid and letting out valuable heat. Also the three vents on the bottom of the WSM allows you to better control the air flow and thus maintain a more consistent temperature. Because the heat is further from the meat, it's much easier to maintain the proper temperature right at the grate level, also the heat has to go around the water pan, so you can have a relatively hot fire, without burning the meat.

Because the bullet has a full bed of coals under the water pan, it's easy to set up the Minion method (see the WSM web-site) so that only a certain number of coals are burning at any given time. This is simple and works extremely well for controlling the heat. Also the three bottom vents allow for more air flow control than you get with the one vent on the kettle.

The key to a good brisket or any large piece of meat is to cook it slowly and to the proper temperature. A typical pork butt should cook at about 230°F for 10-12 hours and reach an internal temperature of 205°F. A brisket cooks at about the same temperature or a smidge lower and the flat should cook to about 195°F internal temperature and the point to about 205°F for burnt ends. The time will depend on if you are smoking just a flat or if you are smoking a flat and point still attached. Brisket should rest for about 2-3 hours wrapped in foil and placed in an ice chest to keep it warm, before slicing to 1/4" thick. These are just general guidelines and not something that is a hard fast rule, but you have to start somewhere and these are good starting points. This plus a good dry rub and you should have excellent brisket. It's just easier to do this in a WSM than on a kettle.

Good luck with future smoking.

May 13, 2015
mikie in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
1

Cornstarch Steaks for Grilling

Yes, I read it in ATK and have tried it on more than one occasion. Can't say that I'm a fan. Grilled fillets for Mother's Day and just used salt and pepper and the steaks came out great. It's not the best method in my estimation.

1st Brisket - Help!

Hi Duffy,

I know I'm a month late but just wanted to toss in my ideas for future reference. When I took the class from the Midwest BBQ Institute, it was bring your own smoker, and there was someone with a Weber Kettle. You can smoke with a Weber kettle, but it's more of a challenge than using an actual smoker. You can imbed a nail in wood with a rock or you can use a hammer, one's just easier than the other. The issues are much as you encountered, it's hard to get enough coals to burn the length of time needed and not overheat/overcook the brisket, pork butt, ribs, or just about anything other than a fatty or a chicken. The day of the class we did a chicken and ribs, the folks with the kettle didn't have any problems with the chicken, only takes a couple of hours, but they did have issues with the ribs, an additional couple of hours. I can only imagine the issues with the mass of a brisket or pork butt.

I use a Weber Smokey Mountain and get fantastic results, I've seen a section that can be added to a kettle that makes it more of a smoker, this would avoid the addition of another BBQ on your patio. Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/SMOKENATOR-1000... or better yet: http://www.firecraft.com/product/smok...

Anyone use a temperature contoller on their smoker?

I'm not worried about short term fluctuations within a narrower zone than yours, I'm comfortable from about 200 to 275. However if you start a smoke at 10:00 or 11:00 at night and you don't have the correct temperature for most of the time, you will either be forever getting over the hump if you're 200 or below, or will have cooked too fast if you were at 300 or above all night. My experience with the WSM is that if you have a set way of smoking and set up the smoker the same way every time and ambient conditions aren't vastly different, you get consistent results without close monitoring. I do make minor adjustments during a smoke and I tend to know about when I'm going to need to make them and when I might need to add a few fresh coals.

meat thermometer - instant vs leave-in

Excellent points that I should have mentioned.

May 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Needing a new cookware set

This is one of those cases where a set is truly a double edged sward. The advantage of a set is more pieces for less money than if bought individually. The down side of a set is not all the pieces are the best for a particular task. Since you like non-stick you have a conundrum, you probably only need a couple of non-stick frying pans, you don't need non-stick for a sauce pan, as in most cases there is nothing to stick, if let's say you are boiling pasta or making soup. Clad cookware would work better for these applications, while non-stick would work better for frying an egg, for example.

You don't have much of a budget to work with at this point, so you might be better off purchasing a couple of non-stick pans that are inexpensive or relatively so, and then putting some additional funds latter into some multi-clad sauce pans and other types of cookware.

May 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware

meat thermometer - instant vs leave-in

I've never used the lavatools Thermowand, however, I use a thermopen and gave a friend a ThermoPop that he uses regularly. The thermoPop is a very good tool and almost as fast as the ThermoPen. One nice feature of the ThermoPen is that the probe folds away and this protects it from damage. Is that worth the price difference, probably not. They didn't have the ThermoPop when I bought the ThermoPen.

May 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware

meat thermometer - instant vs leave-in

I'm a big fan of Thermoworks and thermapen. Typically I use the thermapen for a steak, however, this past weekend I grilled some very nice and very thick fillet mignon and after I turned them I decided to use my Thermoworks ChiefAlarm leave-in thermometer. This worked out great, my wife likes hers a little more done than the wrest of us so once the others hit the proper temperature I knew hers needed another minute or two. The leave-in thermometer allowed me to monitor the internal temperature very carefully, and without having to lift the lid on the grill every 30 seconds or so to check the temp.

May 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Anyone use a temperature contoller on their smoker?

Yes, the Weber Smokey Mountain doesn't need a lot of attention once you get it figured out and have a method and coals that you use consistently.

My son-in-law has rigged up a fan and temp controller to his WSM, he made his from parts (electrical engineer). I don't think it's necessary though.

Pizza Stone or Pizza Steel - please help me decide

Hi Duffy, I also use mine on the grill to make the Mario Batali Braciole pinwheel style. It keeps all the good stuff from falling out between the grates. This is sooooooo good.

May 07, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Pizza Stone or Pizza Steel - please help me decide

We have the similar stone in red and rectangular, it works great in the oven and even better on the grill for outdoor pizza. We also have a pizza steel and that's better than the jelly roll pan, but not as good in my opinion as the Emile Henry Stone.

May 07, 2015
mikie in Cookware

What cookware should I get?

There are so many good choices in that price range. As Chem stated, you may want some pieces other than a set, however, sets can be a bargain, but they don't have to be. Make sure the set has pieces that you will use. There are a lot of differences in pots and pans, but any that are good quality will last and cook well, which leaves handle comfort as one of the deciding factors on cookware. The point here is to place your hands on as many of the different brands and models as you can and see which you like best. There is a big difference between the Demeyere Atlantis line and the John Paulson line and the Industry 5 line when it comes to handle shape and style. The Zwilling Aurora line made by Demeyere also has a different handle than the other lines. There is even more difference between All-Clad and Mauviel M-cook for example. So check out as many as you can before making a decision.

May 07, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Looking for stainless stainless steel cookware

Zwilling owns Demeyere and there are some Zwilling lines that are made by Demeyere in Belgium. I just saw one at an outlet store, Aurora 5 ply, very nice, made in Belgium. http://www.zwillingonline.com/zwillin...
They also have the Sensation 5 ply line, the same as SLT Industry 5 by Demeyere. Of the two I liked the Aurora line better, just personal preference for the handle and finish. I have some Demeyere and some Viking that was made by Demeyere and like both lines, but the Viking has been discontinued, at least from the Demeyere factory. There are a number of differences between the Zwilling Aurora line and the Demeyere Atlantis line, handles are riveted not welded and the sauce and sauté pans are fully clad rather than disk bottom. Frying pans are clad for both. The prices for the Aurora are lower than the Atlantis line by quite a bit.

May 07, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Has anyone used fish tweezers?

Interesting, I've used pliers in the past but always found them to be a struggle gripping the small bones. I've looked for stainless pliers, but not much luck. I just recently bought fishbone tweezers, haven't even had a chance to use them yet. They weren't that expensive, so if they don't work as expected, it's not a big loss. I just don't like the idea of non-SS pliers and the risk of rust if you don't get the serrations dry.

Mar 25, 2015
mikie in Cookware
2

Cookware- $600

So much depends on what and how you cook, but in general, spend your money where it counts the most. You want your best pots and pans to be the ones you use the most and where the quality will have an impact on your results. Even if you made stock every day, you don't need to spend a fortune on a stock pot. However if you saute quite often, it's worth spending more on a saute pan.

Although sets can look like a bargin, typically they are not as good as they look. You might get a piece essentially free in a set, if you bought a high quality set you could also end up with a high quality pot where a lower performing and lower priced pot would do just fine.

There are a number of made in the US or EU brands that are very hgih quality. Brands such as All Clad, Demeyere, Zwilling Sensation, Cuisinart French Collection, Mauvial M-Cook are all good brands from which to choose your better pieces.

Jan 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Steamer ideas?

Thanks Ray, I already have a 5.5 qt Staub cocotte, so that would be a good choice, but it says it's 3.4" tall, which isn't any taller than the steamer I currently have. Which would work for some things, but would still likely be a bit short for steaming bell peppers in the upright position. It may be difficult to find one as deep as I think I need, maybe 4.5 to 5 inches.

Jan 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Steamer ideas?

I've come to the conclusion that the steamer we currently have just isn't large enough. I couldn't steam bell peppers standing upright and then I couldn't steam 8 oz of spinich in one pass. The steamer we have is from the set of pots and pans Mrs. mikie bought over 40 years ago and it works fine for small portiions of relatively high bulk density foodstufs, but alas it's too small for some of the things we're currently cooking.

Suggestions and options for different equipment or technique are welcomed. I don't see the need for high tech here, it's boiling water and a basket to suspend the food above the water, however, if it requires a new pot, then I want the pot to be a multi tasker, not just for steaming. Thanks.

Jan 20, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Can a chopping board be too big? 3 inch high

Counter tops are set up to be comfortable for the average home cook, typically woemen. If you are taller than average then the height may not be an issue for you. However, if you are average height or less, that's not going to be a very comfortable height. I'll complicate matters, my Grandfather was a butcher, he chopped a lot, and the typical butcher chopping block is lower than the typical counter top, in which case adding 3" to your counter top is going to be mighty high. However, you prbably need about 3" for a sturdy chopping block. You don't need that much thickness for a cutting board.

Jan 15, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Demeyere Industry 5 Zwilling Sensation Question

Industry 5 is exclusive to SLT, Zwilling obviously wanted wider distribution and intorduced Sensation. Same pans with slightly modified handles so that Ind 5 is still exclusive, but you can get the same quality and price point at other retailers.

Jan 13, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Need a particular hood vent

I know you said a "slight remodel", but I don't see slight. There is no way I'd put in a gas range without proper ventalation. Right now your stove top is too close to the wall on the left, with a high power gas range it's way too close. The window is definately an issue, you can't get a hood between the wall and the window and have it cover the range. For a high powered gas range you need a hood that's wider than the range top. The hood also needs to be a certian distance above the range top, so you can't just go above the window and you don't really have anywhere to vent it then anyway. If you take out the window and move the range to the right you could vent straight out the back of the vent or slightly up and out the sidewall. Honestly, even with an induction cooktop, I'd want some type of vent just to get odors and smoke out. Not going to be an easy task in your situation. Good luck.

Jan 12, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Best wood for a cutting board?

Hi Duffy,

Although there is a significant hardness difference between hard and soft maple, both are hard. Soft maple is harder than black cherry and just a bit less hard than black walnut. On the Janka Hardness Scale, soft maple, black cherry, and black walnut are all close to 1000, while hard maple is 1450. On the other end of the scale, basswood (used for carving) is only 410. Even the hard maple is well below mid scale, as many woods are harder, with some of the hardest being over 3000, close to 4000 on the scale, such as bloodwood, ebony, and ironwood. Obviously, these would be tough on a knife edge. Just putting things into perspective.

Jan 12, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Best wood for a cutting board?

It's not as much about what's best, but more about what to avoid. BoardSMITH had very good suggestions. Trees that bare fruit and nuts or edible sap are typically not going to be toxic, but that doesn't necessiarly make them great cutting board woods. Pecan for example, the grain is more open than would be preferable, same with oak. Mapel and Cherry have been used because of the tight grain these woods have. Walnut is a bit more open grained, but not so much as to make it undesireable for a cutting board. The reason is that you don't want juices penetrating deeply into the board and oil or oil and beeswax are not going to completely seal the grain in the wood. Someone mentioned Teak, poor choice, it grows in an area where there is a tremendous amount of silica in the soil and the tree picks up the silica and it's throughout the wood. This is going to be very rough on a knife. If you love your knives, avoid bamboo, too hard, might as well be cutting on a brick (exaggeration to make a point). Soft woods like pine, poplar, sweet gum, etc. can be cut on, but aren't going to last long, you're going to cut the dickens out of them because they are so soft. With edge grain boards, the soft woods would quickly splinter. Pine typically has a lot of resin in it, and that's not going to be good either. Exotic woods are fantistic for a "show" board or even a serving board, where no real activity is going to take place. But, even as a serving board, you need to be aware of the potential toxicity (not likely going to kill you, but you could have an alergic reaction, and it could kill you). Also, many exotic woods are very open grain and this is the same problem as with domestic oak or pecan.

In the US the most common and most appropiate woods are Maple, Cherry, and Walnut. These were also the most common woods for american furnature during the colonial period. They were readily available, reasonably priced and easy to work, with the tools available at the time. That makes these traditional choices. There are some other woods that would potentially work, but these are three good choices.

Jan 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

New Vking Cookware

Thank you btc. We've replaced a fair amount of cookware over the last couple of years. Some is Staub, much is the 7 ply Viking and some is Demyere. I have the 6 and 3 qt saute pans and the 9.5" fry pan and the 2 qt. sauce pan in the 7 ply. Good stuff in my opinion and I found all of it discounted to one extent or another.

Jan 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

New Vking Cookware

Based on what I could see on the web-site, they aren't even a sub-contractor, more like a distributer. There were no manufacturing sites mentioned, but two distribution centers.

Glad I got my Viking when Demeyere was making it. The 7 ply Viking was really quite a bargin by comparison.

Jan 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware