Saturday, June 29, 2024

The Caray Family of Baseball Broadcasters - A Sports Review


Those who know me know that I am a huge baseball fan. But I’m not just a fan of the players and the teams. I also love to listen to the team announcers calling the games. This probably comes from my love of broadcasting and having married a radio broadcaster. 


Image of a microphone


There have been many well-known and famous baseball broadcasters for Major League Baseball over the years, such as Vin Scully of the Dodgers, Jack Buck with the St. Louis Cardinals and Bob Uecker of the Milwaukee Brewers. But to have four generations of one family all become baseball broadcasters, as the Harry Caray family did, is unique indeed. 


The Caray MLB Broadcasters 


Harry Christopher Caray


Harry Caray, baseball broadcaster
Harry Caray was the eldest of four generations of MLB sportscasters, both in radio and for television.  He was most well known for first working for the St. Louis Cardinals, then his 11 years with the Chicago White Sox before spending his last 16 years as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs. He became a Chicago legend for his special announcing style and his hilarious storytelling. 


While announcing for the White Sox, Caray began the practice of leading the home crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch. Fans came to love this practice so much that when Harry left the White Sox to become the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs, it became a regular ritual which continues to this day. 


Harry Caray also became famous for his frequently exclaimed catchphrase "Holy cow!" when his team hit a home run.


Harry Christopher “Skip” Caray Jr.


Harry Christopher "Skip" Caray Jr
Harry Caray’s son ‘Skip’ Caray followed his dad into the broadcast booth as a baseball broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves. Skip worked for the Braves for more than 30 years, before his death in 2008. Skip Caray’s son ‘Chip’ has extended the Caray broadcasting legacy to the third generation.  


Harry Caray once said that one of his proudest moments was when he worked some innings in the same broadcast booth with his son Skip and grandson Chip during a Cubs/Braves game on May 13, 1991.


Harry Christopher ‘Chip’ Caray III


Harry Christopher "Chip" Caray III
After working for several years on other sports, Chip Caray began working baseball games for the Seattle Mariners from 1993 to 1995. In 1998, he was hired to work alongside his grandfather as broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. When Harry Caray died in February 1998, Chip stayed with the team and took his grandfather's place as "the Voice of the Cubs”. Chip served as the Cubs announcer for seven seasons before leaving at the end of the 2004 season to work alongside his father, Skip, broadcasting games for the Atlanta Braves. After his dad died, Chip became the Braves regular play-by-play announcer.


In 2023, Chip Caray accepted the position of the play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, where his grandfather had begun his career as the voice of the Cardinals.


Harry Christopher “Chris” Caray IV


Harry Christopher "Chris" Caray IV
And now we come to Chris Caray, son of Chip, grandson of Skip and great-grandson of Harry Caray. Chris, along with his identical twin brother Stefan Caray, continue the legacy of the broasting Carays. 


The twins began their baseball announcing while still in college, calling games for college games before working together as sportscasters. In 2021, Chris and Stefan broadcast for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2022, they joined the Amarillo Sod Poodles of the Texas League as their broadcasters.


In 2024, Chris (Harry Christopher Caray IV), was hired to be a play-by-play announcer for Oakland Athletics telecasts.


Summary


Four generations of Harry Christopher Caray broadcasters is a unique accomplishment. For more information about this famous family and their baseball announcing legacy, click here


*Image sources of the Caray family for this article are from Wikipedia. The Intro image is from Pixabay.


*A review of the Harry Caray family of baseball broadcasters written by Wednesday Elf, the ReviewThis! Baseball contributor.





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Friday, June 28, 2024

Swiffer Wetjet Floor Mop Reviewed

Swiffer Wetjet
I've been a Swiffer fan for many years now.  I use several of the Swiffer products that make house cleaning so much easier.  I love being able to throw away the used Swiffer product along with the dust and dirt. 

I have used the Swiffer Sweeper for decades on my hardwood floors, but I put off buying the Swiffer Wetjet floor mop when I first saw it, thinking I would not use it on the hardwood.  Then the realization struck me that we do have tile in our bathrooms and in the entries, so when I decided to buy the Wetjet mop, it was primarily for the tile floors.  However, because the box says it is safe for hardwood floors,  I started using it occasionally on my hardwood floors, and I love it.  

It is so much easier to mop with the Swiffer Wetjet mop!  Because it sprays the cleaning solution in front of the mop, I don't have to carry a bucket or spray bottle and I can control the amount of liquid on the floor.  Therefore, I am able to just damp mop the hardwood.  I am concerned about using any chemicals on my hardwood floors so I only use it when necessary to kill germs and bacteria.  It does seem to dry pretty quickly which makes me feel more comfortable using it on the hardwood. As for the tile, I do use more spray and get it really wet. The active ingredients in the solution are Didecyldimethylammonium Chloride (0.0399%) which is a disinfectant and Chlorhexidine Diacetate (0.0133%) which is used to sterilize surgical instruments. 

We walk on floors and lots of stuff is tracked in from outside.  Frankly, who knows what gets tracked onto the floors.  We do have lots of birds, squirrels and wild bunnies in our backyard.  Those creatures just seem to do foul (or fowl) things and act like animals without concern for keeping an area sanitary.  No doubt, we walk right through "used" areas without even realizing it and track it inside.

When I used the Swiffer Wetjet last week on the kitchen hardwood floor, I had to laugh when my husband came in and commented on how clean everything smelled.  

 

The Swiffer Wetjet Floor Mop

Now that I have been using the Swiffer Wetjet mop for a while, I am comfortable recommending it.  I have had absolutely no problems with the mop or the solution bottles which are turned upside down and inserted in the bottle holder on the mop.  I don't take the bottle off until it is empty and store my Wetjet mop ready to use immediately when needed.

The sprayer is battery operated.  The initial start-up kit includes batteries, the mop, a bottle of the cleaning solution, and some mopping pads to get you started.   

You do have to put the mop handle together after unboxing it.  There is a cable running through it that connects the button on the handle to the sprayers in the mop.  It is very obvious how the two pieces of the handle connect to each other. 

 

This video shows just how easy it is to get started.  I'm not sure why her Wetjet mop didn't have the pre-installed wire running through the handle, but otherwise, it is a great demo video. 




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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Reviewing The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Ai creation of girl on river bank

Just when I think I've read my fill of World War II historical fiction, 
our book club picks another one for our May meeting.   After reading just a few pages I was totally engrossed in the story and happy to read another WWII historical fiction.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea is based on Operation Pied Piper, a true event during WWII.  In this plan the British Government is looking for a way to keep the children of London safe during the bombing.  They find people willing to take care of the children until the war is over, these people are located in far off lands like Australia and America and many of them are sent to the English countryside.

Brief Summary of the Book

In this book the author, Patti Callahan Henry, tells the story of two young girls, Hazel age 14 and Flora age 5 who are sent to the English countryside.  The story begins with the girls boarding a train that takes them to towns in the countryside where people choose from the children to see who they want to stay in their home.

The girls are fortunate to be placed in a lovely cottage near a small English town and the river Thames.  Here they live with Bridie and her son Henry.  They are very kind and good to the girls.

The girls spend their times going on walks and playing games, which include a wonderful fairy tale that Hazel makes up to entertain Flora and distract her from missing her mother.  In this story the girls escape to a magical land with a cast of delightful characters.  The secret place they escape to is called Whisper Woods.  All is going well until one day Flora goes missing and everyone searches for her but are unable to find her.  The police believe she fell into the river and drowned.

We next meet Hazel 20 years later when she is working in a rare book store.  She is doing well but still misses her sister and feels guilty that she took her eyes off her a few minutes and Flora went missing.  While sorting through a batch of new books that came to the book store, Hazel finds one with the title Whisper Woods.  When she looks through the book she finds many similarities to the story she made up for Flora.  The story that they hadn't told to anyone.

After this, Hazel is on a quest to find her lost sister.  Along the way she meets some Americans who have had the book published and also an English journalist who writes articles about the lost children.  

I will leave the rest of the story for you to discover as you read the book. I highly recommend this book.  

Purchase the Book on Amazon

You can find the book at your local library, or you may purchase it both in paperback, hardback or electronic formats on Amazon.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon. The Secret Life of Flora Lea

 




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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Chartres Cathedral Seen in the Best Light!.....~ A Book Review

While travelling I love to learn all about what I have seen and what really impressed me!  To that end, I found out that there was a  difference between a Maze and a Labyrinth.  It was something that I had never thought of before.  That is until I saw the Labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. Google defines a maze as " a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle. The goal is to find your way out or to a central "prize".

So the difference for all of those like me who have never ever thought about it is, a Maze is a place where tall walls of greenery send you down a path with many different directions in which you can go.  They are made so that  you can get lost in them and take a lot of time to find your way out.  In North America Mazes are a fun aspect to the Halloween holidays.  Corn mazes spring up in the country side just waiting for people to try and find their way out!  It's a lot of fun for people of all ages.

A Labyrinth on the other hand, is also a path that twists and turns but has no sides to make you feel isolated and you can easily see where you should go next.  A labyrinth in the 1200's was a geometric pattern on the floor that was used mainly for meditation.   The idea is to walk the path slowly, meditating on whatever is pressing on your mind, walking the path until you reach the center. At that point you just may have found the solution to whatever it was that was on your mind.  

Today,  Mazes and Labyrinths mean pretty much the same thing.  
https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA





This past spring My other half and I made a trip to Portugal, Spain and France.  We are particularly interested in old churches, the art, architecture, artistry and history of the churches.  

Chartres Cathedral was amazing but when you are on a tour, your time in that place is limited.  So what do you do?  You take lots of pictures, hoping to capture the beauty, the space, the art and statues, stained glass windows, doors and floors and so much more.  

After you come home you realize that your pictures just don't do justice to the beauty that filled you with awe!  So you go looking for something that will help you to remember the beauty.

https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA


The Hubby found a most beautiful book with pictures that really do make you re-live the time you were there.  When you consider that this church was built in 1260, it certainly has aged well and the history within it's walls is truly amazing.  

I love books that will tell me all about how it was built, Who commissioned it and how long it took to complete and all the history that happened since the time it was built.  
https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA



This book is the finishing touch to a trip that had us both spellbound and wondering how on earth the workers could build something so beautiful, mathematically precise and long lasting without all the tools that modern day builders have today.  It truly is mind boggling.



https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA
When you travel and enjoy the sights, sometime a great book is the best gift you give yourself to remember the beauty that you had a chance to see up close and personal. Usually the pictures in these books are also clearer.  The day you visit might be rainy or windy making your pictures less than perfect.  With a well done book, everything that is pictured was taken at the right time and conditions.    Now you can revisit whenever you want and share the beauty with your friends too.  Chartres Cathedral is a place that you should put on your bucket list.  We continue to enjoy it even after the suitcases are put away.

The pictures shown in this review are taken from the book which we continue to enjoy.




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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic Playset Review

Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic playset. Children who love camping will love it!

Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic: Children who love camping will love this playset!

Love camping with your family? Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic playset will let you and your children recreate the fun of camping even when you cannot be at the campground. What follows is a brief review of this set.

Released in 2015 as a limited edition playset at Toys R Us, it is now retired and no longer readily available at the store. However, it is available new and used on eBay. Recommended for children aged 3 and up, I think this set represents a whole lot of fun camping-themed play.

It includes a play mat, a campfire with brown logs and gray stones, a frying pan and utensils, five containers of Play-Doh and more. Rustle up some pretend chow for breakfast, lunch or supper. Great fun for a child who enjoys Play-Doh, camping and cooking. I can see your little ones cooking up a fun treat with this set.

Find Play-Doh's Campfire Picnic here on eBay.

See you at the toy store!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda
MORE PLAY-DOH

The World of Play-Doh.
Play-Doh's Rex the Chomper Dinosaur Set.
Retired, new, used and vintage Play-Doh sets in my eBay store.
Discover the Play-Doh party bag.



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Monday, June 24, 2024

Hallmark Christmas In July Movies 2024 Reviewed

Cue the Christmas music, cue the Christmas In July sales, if it is July it is time for Hallmark's Christmas In July holiday movies. Take a break from the heat and humidity and enjoy the air conditioning along with a healthy helping of Hallmark's Christmas In July movies.

Hallmark christmas movies


New Movies

As has happened the past few years Hallmark takes the Christmas In July opportunity to introduce a few new Christmas movies. 

This year the new Christmas movies in July are:

The Do Not Miss List of Hallmark Christmas Movies 

These are the Christmas movies with the Hallmark A team actors with a Hallmark A team script and scenery. These are the movies which bring a smile to your face when they appear on the Hallmark schedule anytime of the year!

Three Men And A Baby

Always a favorite! Great chemistry, fun storyline, A team actors and a plot which does have some similarities to Three Men And A Baby. 

A Cozy Christmas Inn

Did I hear Garland? Oh yes! A Cozy Christmas Inn with David O'Donnell and Jodie Sweetin leads this sequel to the very popular and well loved Christmas Under Wraps. Most of the original cast returns for this charming Christmas movie set in where else? Garland.

Crown For Christmas

Always be on the lookout for a Crown For Christmas with Danica McKellar and Rupert Penry-Jones. This is one of the best Hallmark Christmas movies of all time in many Hallmarkies opinion.

A Gift To Remember

This can be an overlooked movie as Christmas is part of the theme, but not the main theme. Old school booklover and bookstore employee Ali Liebert collides into Peter Porte with her bike causing a case of amnesia at the holidays.

Join these two in a romantic movie as they unfold the past, present and possible future together!

More Hallmark Christmas Movies Reviewed

A Cozy Christmas Inn Reviewed 2022  by The Savvy Age

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2021 Reviewed by The Savvy Age







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Sunday, June 23, 2024

A Summer Pest Control Update! - Enjoying a Pest-Free Patio with Peppermint Oil

A Summer Pest Control Update! - Enjoying a Pest-Free Patio with Peppermint Oil
This spring and summer, I've discovered an incredibly effective method for keeping our patio free from wasps, ants, spiders, and flies a simple spray made of peppermint oil and water. 

Wasps are the worst backyard pests for us. They were my target! Sorry, wasps, not sorry. You wasps should be happy, because it keeps you away, and thus extends your life!

I initially wrote about this several weeks ago, and this new article is an update on how incredible this all natural pest repellent has worked! 

I used to be harassed at our patio table, to the point that after some questionable language, I'd head in the house and let the little *& % & win!

Well, they're no longer winning. Who's the boss now! This update also reiterates some of the "science" behind why peppermint works so well - just because I was curious.

I opted for a spray bottle of water with about a tablespoon (or less) of peppermint oil. That way, I can liberally spray it everywhere.

The results have been nothing short of amazing. Previously, our outdoor meals were often interrupted by pesky wasps buzzing around our food, making it difficult to enjoy our time outside. However, since using a water-peppermint oil spray, we've been able to sit at our patio table and have a complete meal in peace.

I make sure to reapply the spray when I'm outside, targeting areas like the house bricks, flower pots (though not directly on the flowers), chairs, under the chairs, under the table, our swing, and the netting. It takes a few minutes or less and is well worth the results.

The mixture is mostly water with about a tablespoon of peppermint oil in the bottle, and it doesn't damage anything—not even our swing and chair cushions. There are absolutely no stains because it's essentially just scented water.

Why Peppermint Oil Works as a Pest Deterrent

The effectiveness of peppermint oil in deterring common pests such as wasps, ants, spiders, and flies can be attributed to several factors:

1. The Strong Scent

Peppermint oil has a strong, minty aroma that is pleasant to humans but overwhelming to many insects. Wasps, ants, and spiders rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate food and navigate their environment. The intense scent of peppermint oil can disrupt these processes, making your patio unappealing to them.

2. Natural Insect Repellent Properties

Peppermint oil contains compounds like menthol and pulegone, which are effective natural insect repellents. These compounds interfere with insects' ability to communicate and find their way around, effectively keeping them at bay. Research has shown that peppermint oil can repel various insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and even certain types of spiders.

3. Safe for Humans and Pets

Safety is one of the best aspects of using peppermint oil as a pest deterrent. Unlike chemical insecticides, peppermint oil is non-toxic to humans and pets when used moderately. This makes it an excellent option for families with children and pets who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Practical Application Tips

To maximize the effectiveness of your peppermint oil spray, follow these practical tips:

  • Consistent Application: When spending extended time outside, reapply the spray daily. This ensures the scent remains strong enough to deter pests.
  • Target Key Areas: Focus on areas where insects are likely to gather, such as around food, seating areas, and entry points to your home. Spraying under tables and chairs can help create a barrier that pests are reluctant to cross.
  • Avoid Direct Spraying on Plants: While peppermint oil is generally safe for plants, it's best to avoid spraying directly on flowers and foliage. This helps prevent potential adverse effects on your plants and ensures the oil is used where it's most effective.

Conclusion

Our personal experience with peppermint oil spray has been highly effective. The simple mixture of water and peppermint oil has transformed our patio into a pest-free haven, allowing us to enjoy outdoor meals and relaxation without the constant annoyance of wasps, ants, spiders, and flies. 

The scientific reasons behind its effectiveness—its strong scent, natural repellent properties, and safety—make it a practical and reliable solution for anyone looking to keep their outdoor spaces free from common pests. Give it a try and enjoy the benefits of a peaceful, pest-free patio!

KEY POINTS:

  • I apply the spray of peppermint water every day when I go into the backyard.
  • It wears off over time, especially when it rains. I apply it daily, because I'm in the backyard daily.
  • Spray furniture, under furniture, cushions, house bricks, where you know the pests tend to go
  • I especially spray around our patio table. That way I'm having my morning coffee in total peace!
  • It's cheap and easy, and if your pets or humans aren't allergic to peppermint, it's safe! Smells good too!
  • I keep the bottle of peppermint water sitting on the patio table all summer, so when I go outside, I can easily give everything a thorough spritz.

My hubby is utterly shocked at how well this works, especially when we're eating outside—it's pretty amazing.

The real test will be in August and September when wasps are punch drunk, and we usually cannot sit in our backyard. I'm totally confident that I've won this battle! I'll let you know.

Where I Buy Peppermint Oil:

I buy the peppermint oil from Amazon. There are many to choose from. Here's the latest one I purchased.




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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Toxic Prey by John Sandford - A Book Review


A Lucas and Letty Davenport Novel


Bookcase filled with John Sandford novels


Lucas, and his daughter Letty, team up to track down a dangerous scientist whose latest project could prove disastrous for the entire world. 


Synopsis


Lucas Davenport is a US Marshal. His adopted daughter Letty Davenport is an investigator for the Department of Homeland Security. When it is discovered that a dangerous scientist has a project that could prove disastrous for the entire world, father and daughter team up to track him down.


Dr. Lionel Scott, an expert in tropical and infectious diseases, has come to believe that society is in danger of becoming nonexistent due to Earth’s out of control population levels. He thinks the disorder that has been allowed to run rampant will destroy Gaia (the earth) if the threat to the planet is allowed to continue. With a small group of dedicated followers, Scott thinks Gaia is dying and he has decided the only way to save it is to eliminate at least one-half of the world’s population. He plans to do this by releasing a deadly virus he has developed through his knowledge of infectious diseases.  He has combined two toxic diseases, making them extremely infectious, that will create a world-wide epidemic worse than any the world has yet seen. 


Summary


About the time the threat is discovered, Dr. Scott has disappeared completely. Lucas and Letty, working with a group of specialists, set out to find Scott as soon as possible. When their worst fears are confirmed, it becomes a frantic race to find Scott before the virus he created turns into the perfect weapon. 


Toxic Prey is book #34 of 34 in John Sandford’s Prey Series, published in April 2024.


Related Reviews:



*Toxic Prey book review written by Wednesday Elf 




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Friday, June 21, 2024

Pork Chops & Wild Rice Casserole Recipe Review

pork chop casserole
Pork chops are among my favorite meats for dinner.  They are almost always what I order when we eat out, even when we go to a steak house.  

At home, I have several ways I prepare pork chops.  Of course, we grill them and I fry breakfast chops.  I also have a pork chop casserole that I have been preparing for my family for over 30 years.  I found it in a cookbook I borrowed from a friend.  I returned the cookbook long ago, but I copied down this recipe, tweaked it slightly, and now it is a much loved recipe in our home.  I prepare it at least once a month.  It is easy to assemble and is ready to serve in about 90 minutes.

The original recipe called for bone-in pork chops.  I don't like having bones hiding in a casserole, so I use boneless pork chops.  

 


Pork Chop & Wild Rice Casserole Recipe
By Sylvestermouse on Review This Reviews

Ingredients 

pork chop casserole

 

Instructions 

  1.  Grease 13 x 9 x 2 casserole dish with butter 
  2.  Combine rice, seasoning packet in rice, 2T melted butter, and hot water 
  3.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish (make sure rice is evenly spread across bottom) 
  4.  Sprinkle pork chops with pepper. Lay the chops on rice mixture 
  5.  Place a pat of butter on each chop 
  6.  Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour 
  7.  Uncover casserole – in a small bowl, combine milk and cream of celery soup together and pour over casserole 
  8.  Bake uncovered for 15 minutes 


pork chop casserole

Cooking Time Note:  The cooking time is based on thin or medium sized boneless pork chops.  Because oven temperatures can vary and because chop thickness affects cooking time, I recommend cutting into one of the chops to make sure it is fully cooked before you add the soup & milk mixture.



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Pork Chops & Wild Rice Casserole Recipe Written by:
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© 2024 Cynthia Sylvestermouse
 




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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Starting and Maintaining the Temperature in an Off-Set Smoker

 There is something magical about cooking on an off-set smoker. The slow process of smoking meats creates flavors unmatched by any other cooking method.

 However, mastering an off-set smoker can be a daunting task for a beginner. I have been using my off-set smoker for the last six years, and in my review today I'm going to share some things I've learned about starting and controlling the temperature.

Starting and maintaining the temperature in an off-set smoker

Starting Your Off-Set Smoker:

Choose high-quality lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. It's the foundation of your fire and will provide the steady heat needed. 

Select hardwoods like oak, hickory, cherry, maple, or applewood. These woods burn slowly, adding a rich smokey flavor to your meats. Hickory is my favorite and my go-to hardwood, I love the flavor it adds to the meats.

Fire Box

Building a solid base fire is the key. I start by piling unlit charcoal in the firebox closest to the cooking chamber. Then, I fill my charcoal chimney starter, and when the coals are hot dump them next to the unlit charcoal in the firebox, then, add some wood on top. Close the firebox to bring the cooking chamber up to the temperature I want. 


Smoker Temperture

My temperature is coming up nicely. I'm looking for a temperature between 225 and 275 degrees. The temperature is reading 280 degrees so, that means my surface temperature on the cooking chamber surface is about 230 or 240 degrees. The reason for the variance is that the thermometers are placed high on the lid of the grills, and the temperature will be about 40 to 50 degrees less on the cooking surface.

Firebox Intake Vent


Controlling the Airflow:

This is the intake vent on the back of the firebox. At this point, I leave it wide open for a higher temperature. When I need to lower the temperature I will close it but not all of the way, this allows less air and will lower the temperature.

Smoke Stack

Exhaust vent or smoke stack, I always keep my smoke stack wide open. This allows the smoke to escape, preventing it from becoming stale and bitter. 

I find this method to give me 2 to 3 hours of constant heat before I have to add more fuel for heat. For a long smoke, I'll add more fuel about every 45 minutes to an hour to maintain the temperature.

Patience is the key, smoking meat is a low and slow process. Rushing it will not yield the best results.

Practice, the more you use your off-set smoker, the more you'll understand how it reacts to adjustments.

Find more Product Reviews Here:


Char-Griller 8125 Competition Pro Charcoal Grill, BlackChar-Griller 8125 Competition Pro Charcoal Grill, BlackCheck the PriceWeber Rapidfire Chimney Starter, Standard, SilverWeber Rapidfire Chimney Starter, Standard, SilverCheck the Price

 




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