This Old #%&@*$ House

Hobear wrote:

Side note: my wife is letting me buy a new grill/smoker/griddle for my birthday. Any great combo recommendations? I have a big charcoal barrel now. Thoughts or best brands from folks?

I think Big Green Egg is the ultimate all-in-one unit for that sorta thing. I don't really have the money for one of those, so I have a big Webber for grilling and some electric smokers for smoking.

Propane - most convenient except when run out of f*#king propane. 10-15 minutes to heat up

Pellet burning - easier to control heat than charcoal. Some newer ones you control temperature by app/wifi. 10-15 minutes to heat up

Charcoal - good ole charcoal, cheapest usually, takes longest to heat up and unless you use a chimney starter, have to rely on fuel to get going

Avoid really thin sheet metal builds, rust quickly, same with those with cheap paint as the paint burns off quickly then rust. Mine is a 20 year old Kenmore that is cast iron and I have been thinking of replacing it, but its also reliable, and lights with a lighter every time. Might just replace the innards, but have been tempted by the wood pellet offset ones because you can also use them to smoke meat with. I miss a good char grilled burger. Mmm tastes like carcenogens....

I have an inexpensive Weber kettle grill, and an electric smoker.
The smoker is dead simple to use. I set a temp and rough time on the digital display (there's a bluetooth app, but I don't use it). I toss a small handful of wood chips in the little tube on the bottom. I put meat in, and then add new chips as often as I feel like (every hour if I'm awake, less often if I'm smoking overnight). I've done wings, ribs, shoulder, and brisket. For shoulders and the brisket I used a remote probe thermometer to determine when to stop. It's great.
I had a fancier propane grill for a while, but am way happier with the higher heat I can get from the charcoal grill. I use it mostly for burgers and sausages, but have also finished wings from the smoker (to set a glaze and crisp them up a bit).

Green Egg is pretty f*cking amazing. Charcoal, no lighter fluid ever. Just get a plug in metal starter and you have fire in 7 minutes.

But I got mine for free in a contest at work a few years ago. So spending $1k on a grill I would probably never do. But I love it.

PoderOmega wrote:

So now along the west side of my house it is just grass. Right where the grass hits the house it very slightly slopes down towards the house. Haven't had any water issues in the basement though. I wanted get some landscaping done along the edge of house to make the yard a little nicer. Maybe mulch and hostas? Do I need to make sure some sort of water shield is put down? Or just make sure the grading is even? I don't want to create a new problem.

I had the same issue. Somewhat still do. The biggest thing: 1.) Luck.

You need to be lucky with the rain. The last two years I've had pretty big rain storms wash off my entire slope. Wasted money on seed and fertilizer.

So far, I find that those "Grotrax" grass mats work pretty well once they are soaked enough - and therefore stick to the soil. Piling some clean soil on top of it helps, as well as something like biodegradable straw to help keep it in place.

But really, it's all about luck. I don't know of a bulletproof way to keep grass seed on a slope in place during heavy rain.

So, wondering if anyone has thoughts on my current gas stove issue . . . one night last week I smelled a bit of gas, so cut off the supply, pulled it out, put some soapy water on the fittings, and turned the gas back on. Found the leak, and decided to just replace the hose, so ran to Home Depot and swapped it out. Fine, no problems, no more gas smell, no leaks after checking. That being said, now the burners have to run through the ignition cycle for a good 6-8 seconds instead of almost immediately, and, after turning them on, there's a high-pitched whining noise. There appears to be an issue with the amount of gas getting to the stove, but I still have no leaks, and all that's changed is the hose, and I checked behind the stove and I'm not seeing any kinks or bent hoses. Thoughts?

Dumb question, and I only have a very surface level understanding of plumbing, but is the replacement hose the correct size?

Also, might want to check the burner "outlets" where the gas comes out to make sure they're not clogged with anything.

T-Prime wrote:

Dumb question, and I only have a very surface level understanding of plumbing, but is the replacement hose the correct size?

That would have been my first guess. If your replacement hose is wider than the original, you're dropping the supply pressure to the burner.

My second (and impractical) piece of advice is to replace the entire gas stove with an induction one. Recent news reporting on the health dangers has made me do a complete 180 on them, and induction offers all the benefits without the health risks.

I have this HastyBake grill/smoker and it's great at both smoking and grilling. It has a large cook area (2 levels).

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0081/7102/products/Gourmet-257.jpg?v=1497535869)

If taken care of, it will last 30+ years. I know people still using theirs that are 50 years old.

Although they sell worldwide, they are located here in Tulsa so I didn't have to pay any shipping and I'm friends with someone who has an "in" with the company and got a smokin' (yuk yuk) deal. I probably wouldn't pay full price for one. Probably. Possibly. Maybe I would.

I also have a Traeger Tailgater that does a real good job at smoking and good job at grilling at higher temp. Your food doesn't get direct exposure to flame so if that's important to you, I'd stay away from Pellet grills that don't have a way to get direct flame onto the food. If you don't care about the flame on food taste, then I can recommend one of these or a comparable competitor. I got mine at the Home and Garden show a few years ago. It was under $400 and came with 2 bags of pellets, a cover, some seasoning, and a cook book. CostCo sometimes has them in the store in the summer.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i8.amplience.net/i/traeger/tailgater20?w=500&sm=aspect&aspect=1:1&scaleFit=poi&$poi2$&fmt=webp)

I have a mini pellet smoker, too, but it's really small. It does have a sliding thing that allows flame to hit part of the grill grate but I won't use it. I don't want grease getting down into the pellet combustion area.

If I were doing it all from scratch, I'd probably go the Egg route - Green Egg or one of the competitors. My friend has 2 and they grill and smoke wonderfully. He has the thing on his that keeps the temp the same and has a WiFi connection so he can check the temp of the food and the grill from in the house.

CostCo sells whatever a (Brown) competitor to Green Egg in the summers sometimes.

My other buddy has the Weber Kettle and he really likes it. He's going to get the insert thingy that helps it be a smoker. We've talked about building a rolling cart for it at some point.

Another friend has had a Weber gas grill for many years. It sits outside on his porch exposed to the Arkansas weather (and humidity) and it's still working great and not falling apart like I've seen happen to the cheaper units. The only thing he has done is replaced the burners on it.

-BEP

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

So, wondering if anyone has thoughts on my current gas stove issue . . . one night last week I smelled a bit of gas, so cut off the supply, pulled it out, put some soapy water on the fittings, and turned the gas back on. Found the leak, and decided to just replace the hose, so ran to Home Depot and swapped it out. Fine, no problems, no more gas smell, no leaks after checking. That being said, now the burners have to run through the ignition cycle for a good 6-8 seconds instead of almost immediately, and, after turning them on, there's a high-pitched whining noise. There appears to be an issue with the amount of gas getting to the stove, but I still have no leaks, and all that's changed is the hose, and I checked behind the stove and I'm not seeing any kinks or bent hoses. Thoughts?

Make sure the gas valve you turned off and on is actually open all of the way?

But yes ++ to what Jonman said about the newly recognized dangers of gas appliances. Especially if you have kids in the house I suggest getting rid of them (doctors do too).

LeapingGnome wrote:

But yes ++ to what Jonman said about the newly recognized dangers of gas appliances. Especially if you have kids in the house I suggest getting rid of them (doctors do too).

The kids, or the gas appliances?

Hobear wrote:

Side note: my wife is letting me buy a new grill/smoker/griddle for my birthday. Any great combo recommendations? I have a big charcoal barrel now. Thoughts or best brands from folks?

First of all, congrats and happy birthday!

Second of all, some of the cooking hardware people are talking about here makes me want to go on a GWJ backyard smorgasbord tour. Someone should set that up!

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/fwYORKc.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/o94x8fE.jpg)

Third of all, I purchased this thing this past weekend. We've only had a chance to use it once (steaks with mushrooms and french fries in the air fryer) but I'm so excited to use it more. It'll be a big switch from my grill, which is looks ok on the outside but is falling apart on the inside, but fits my cooking style pretty well. I love my big cast iron skillet for cooking while we camp. This is just a super-sized version of that.

We're doing some renovations and plan to add a tool shed. Has anyone found a tool shed they actually like? Reviews online seem to be all over the place. We're looking at 6'x4' max, ideally with a slant roof like this one:

IMAGE(https://images.costco-static.com/ImageDelivery/imageService?profileId=12026540&itemId=1432238-847&recipeName=680)

And we may just get this one, but ideally we'd like to get one that you can hang things from the walls, which I don't think is possible here.

karmajay wrote:

Sadly unavailable, but it is pretty!

I would like to get a multi-meter but there is a large discrepancy in price on Amazon between the different brands. I will use it rarely, but want one for when I do need it.

Can you guys recommend a low-to-mid priced one that you've had for some years and are still happy with?

Also, I'd like one of those pen things that makes noise when held near a live wire. Suggestions on brands/models? The ones I looked at all seem to be around the same price range.

-BEP

bepnewt wrote:

Also, I'd like one of those pen things that makes noise when held near a live wire. Suggestions on brands/models? The ones I looked at all seem to be around the same price range.

I don't have a multimeter so I can't give a recommendation there, however for a voltage tester pen I just bought whatever cheapo one was available at Home Depot, probably in the $10-20 range. It's saved my butt more times than I care to admit while changing outlets in my house (why are the attic lights on the same circuit as the fridge?). Having one is better than none at all.

I bought this cheap set a long time ago. It works!

https://www.amazon.com/Extech-MN24-K...

Would I want to use it multiple times a day for weeks? No. But for the occasional use, it's perfect.

Here's a slightly better name. But I'm sure all of these $30 bundles are pretty similar.

https://www.amazon.com/Klein-Tools-6...

For just basic stuff, any old multimeter will probably do the trick. I don't use mine a ton, but this one has worked fine when I needed it. Non-contact testers are pretty commodity too. I've got this one, and aside from the odd false positive that I don't think is the tester's fault, it's worked fine.

If you're primarily looking to do work on existing electrical wiring, you might want to think about getting a toner. I didn't even know what they were, and picked up this tester mostly as a network cable tester. Then I needed to replace a bunch of lights, and figured out how to use the toner function on it. It's invaluable when you've got two wires disappearing into the wall and you need to figure out which one comes out where.

My dad worked as an instrument & control technician for a long time at a nuclear power plant. The Cadillac of multimeter manufacturers was Fluke, and that's all they used at the plant. There are some that are fairly reasonably priced, but the ones with the best feature sets are north of $150.

If you want something that just serves its purpose once in a while, hit up a Harbor Freight and buy a few for $5 a pop.

Yeah, like Michael says, the only meters we have at work in the avionics labs are Flukes.

For the once or twice a year kind of home use, I'm on the $30 unit train. This is mine, it's done what I've needed it to but I've only had it a year or two.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Hobear wrote:

Side note: my wife is letting me buy a new grill/smoker/griddle for my birthday. Any great combo recommendations? I have a big charcoal barrel now. Thoughts or best brands from folks?

I think Big Green Egg is the ultimate all-in-one unit for that sorta thing. I don't really have the money for one of those, so I have a big Webber for grilling and some electric smokers for smoking.

As if on cue, my buddy who has the 2 green eggs rudely sent me this pic last night. He does them "Beer Can Chicken" style, but has some fancy-schmancy thing for it instead of just using beer cans.

-BEP

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/O7RjrVe.jpg)

Thanks all for the recommendations on the testers. $30-$40 seems like a good price range for something I'll use rarely.

-BEP