How to Choose the Best Electric Smoker

Electric smokers can help you prepare tasty meals for your family. Well, that can only happen if you pick the best electric smoker in the market. Some might not always work as you want, so it is best to take your time to check out various models before picking one. We want to look at some of the considerations you should put in mind if you want to end up with the right electric smoker.

Temperature control

When smoking beef or any other types of meals, you need the electric smoker to be running at different temperatures. Having it at the right temperature ensures that your meals can cook properly without getting burned. So, you need to look at the temperature control of the unit.

Modern units come with a digital temperature control where you can easily control the temperature to where you want it. Check to see if the unit also has a better accuracy. This is by how much does the temperature change? Having smaller increments in temperature can help you to set it up appropriately just as you want.

Cooking area

The cooking area on overall will determine who might want to get a particular electric smoker. It is best to get a unit with enough cooking area, depending on your needs. Depending on a unit, you can get some with as much as 800 square-inch cooking area. With such an area, it should be easy to cook for your family and neighbors if you hold a party.

The cooking area varies a lot from one electric smoker to another. Check the product description to understand what kind of cooking area you will be getting with the model before buying.

Budget

Electric smokers come with different features. These features are what can determine the overall price of the unit. If you are in the market for a new electric smoker, you will still have a budget in mind. At this point, it is best to pick a unit with the best features even with a limited budget. With a bit of research, you might be surprised by you can get a great electric smoker even on a budget.

Versatility

As much as we are looking at electric smokers, look to see if it allows for the addition of other types of fuel. Sometimes, electric smokers can allow the addition of charcoal or wood chips. The aim of these two is to help improve the flavor of your meat. It would be great to have more flavor infused in your meat as you smoke it.

Using and maintenance

Many people hope to get a model that is easy to use and also allows for easy maintenance. The controls of a smoker will determine if it will be easy to use or not. Some will be easy, while others might be slightly challenging. Nevertheless, get a unit that will be easy to use. If you need to increase the temperature, it should not be something you have to refer to a manual and much more.

After using the electric smoker, you might have to do some cleaning and maintenance. It is best if you end up with a model that is easy to clean and maintain. Most electric smokers are generally easy to maintain.

Overall performance

To understand more about performance, it might be best to consider what other people say about the electric smoker. As much as the manufacturer might say the unit is great, the experiences of other users can help you pick the right model. Look at what people say about the smoker’s performance such as maintaining the temperature, ease of use, and much more.

WEEKEND CRUMB COFFEE CAKE

Happy Friday! I have a delicious recipe to share today. 

Coffee cake is one of my all-time favorites. While this recipe is far from healthy (hello, butter & sugar!), it is nice that there is a socially acceptable cake to have for breakfast  

The cake for this recipe is actually decently healthy, but the crumb topping is what it is, lots of flour, butter, and sugar. But it’s so good! And in my book, the more crumb the better! Trust me – it’s worth it. 

Weekend Crumb Coffee Cake

Weekend Crumb Coffee Cake2014-09-21 08:57:43

Serves 4Write a reviewSave RecipePrintPrep Time30 minCook Time30 minTotal Time1 hrPrep Time30 minCook Time30 minTotal Time1 hrIngredients

  1. Crumb Topping
  2. 2 cups flour
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  7. 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. Cake
  10. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  11. 1 cup sugar
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  15. 2 cups flour
  16. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  17. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  18. 1 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the crumb topping first. Combine all ingredients except the melted butter and vanilla together until crumbly. Melt the butter and then mix in slowly along with the vanilla. Don’t overmix the crumb topping or it will be too fine. When it clumps together into large to medium sized balls, stop mixing. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and baking powder. Start adding the wet ingredients: coconut oil, Greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well combined, but also do not overmix. It’s okay if the batter is very thick or a little lumpy.
  4. Pour the cake mixture into a greased 9×13 pan. When cake mixture is evenly spread, top with the crumb topping. It may seem like you have way too much crumb, but you want this to cover the cake completely. You can press it down a little with a spoon as well to make sure it sticks. Top with extra cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

In my family, we always had coffee cake on weekends. Something about a Saturday or Sunday morning and some nice hot coffee cake is just perfect to me. This makes a nice fall breakfast with a hot cup of coffee for the cooler mornings these days. 

Pair this with some fruit salad or yogurt for a complete meal. And don’t forget the coffee! 

Questions for You:

  • Is cake for breakfast ever out of the question? 
  • What breakfast favorite did you grow up with as a child? 

CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

I have a special green treat for you today in honor of the First Day of Spring!

It seems that winter has sucked me into the kitchen (but thank goodness it’s almost over!). I’m really not big into cooking, but there’s something about a lazy Sunday afternoon that has me headed for the kitchen to prep some meals or treats for the week.

Last Sunday, I did just that and made crock pot chicken enchilada soup, snack bars, and these.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins | FreeingImperfections.com

I bought two zucchini’s last week for a veggie pasta I made for dinner (will share that recipe soon too!), but didn’t end up using both of them. Behold, giant green vegetable.

Big Zucchini

I knew it would go bad if I didn’t use it by this weekend, but I wasn’t really craving more veggies with anything. Zucchini bread has to be the smartest idea ever, right? Disguising a vegetable as dessert is just genius.

I wasn’t in the mood for bread, though, so I opted for muffins instead. I made these on Monday, which I know was St. Patty’s day, but these are really more springy than St. Patrick’s day-like to me.

First Day of Spring/St. Patty’s day muffins? Sure. P.S. Spring, you can get here any time now, thanks. 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins | FreeingImperfections.com

Makes 18-20 muffins, depending on how full you make them.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, regular or mini size
  • 1 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened

Directions: 

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Set aside.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, set aside.

3. Grate zucchini. I find that the largest size on a grater works best. Add grated zucchini to separate bowl with all wet ingredients and chocolate chips. Mix well.

grated zucchini

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing well. The mixture will be dense.

5. Spoon into muffin cups, about 3/4 of the way full. These really do not rise much at all, so what you see is what you get. I thought I would get a full 24 muffins out of this batch, but I only got 19. For bigger muffins, you will get less but need to baker for longer.

6. Bake for 18-21 minutes, depending on how “done” you want your muffins to be. I didn’t want these to be dried out at all, so I baked them for 18 minutes. They were crispy on top, but had a gooey center, which is okay since there is no egg in this recipe 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins | FreeingImperfections.com

This recipe can be made gluten-free with GF flours. It is egg, dairy, and soy free & vegan.  

Questions for You:

  • Is it starting to feel like spring in your neck of the woods? Not here! 
  • What are you usually doing on Sunday afternoon? Baking seems to be my new Sunday activity. 

Butcher’s Paper vs Parchment Paper

The two most commonly used types of paper for food handling are the butcher’s paper and the parchment paper. More often, therefore, you will hear butcher’s paper vs parchment paper comparison when buying a paper for handling food. Of course, resolving this dilemma requires understanding the similarities and differences between these two popular types of paper.

Butcher’s Paper vs Parchment Paper

Similarities of Butcher’s Paper and Parchment Paper

The most obvious similarity between these two types of paper lies in how each paper is produced. Both papers undergo the same production process of using paper pulps. The other similarity refers to the ability of both papers to handle a very high level of temperature.

The parchment paper, for example, exhibits high resistance to heat up to 420 °F. This is also true with the butcher’s paper which can withstand temperatures of the same level. Exposed to a temperature beyond 420 °F, both papers, however, will surely burn.

The Differences between Butcher’s Paper and Parchment Paper

The butcher’s paper is distinctly different from the parchment paper. First, each type of paper undergoes a different chemical treatment. This means different chemicals are added to the pulps of these two papers during the production process.

The butcher’s paper, for example, is soaked in a mixture of caustic soda and sulfide. This chemical mixture aids in making the paper stronger with greater density. The parchment paper, on the other hand, is only submerged in sulfuric acid. This is done to create additional linings and to prevent the onset of corrosion.

When it comes to their applications, the butcher’s and the parchment papers radically differ. The parchment paper, for one, is specifically used for bread and for baking in an oven. On the other hand, butcher’s paper is often used for wrapping around the meat.

Understanding More about Butcher Paper

The butcher’s paper was originally sold to butchers so that they could use it for wrapping fish and meat. At present, however, butcher’s paper is used for wide applications such as for crafts and arts like hanging artworks and by moving companies for packing sensitive things like glass, chinaware, and other fragile things.

The colors of butcher’s paper are usually reddish or white. It is made from kraft pulp that comes with a heavy density of 50 lbs/3000 sq ft (81 g/m2). The butcher’s paper also contains low lignin.

Once mixed with caustic soda and sulfide, the relation with lignin gently breaks and aids in freeing the bond between cellulose fibers and lignin.

Pros and Cons of Using the Butcher’s Paper

The use of butcher’s paper comes with many advantages. First, it provides a stronger high-density paper. It also comes in rolls and sheets for ready use. It is also heat resistant. Moreover, it is inexpensive.

However, it also comes with limitations. First, it is specifically used only for dry food. It is also non-resistant to stickiness. Third, it is not grease-proofed. Lastly, it can be poisonous when used for food.  

Understanding More the Parchment Paper

The parchment paper, on the other hand, is sometimes referred to as “baking paper” or “bakery release paper.” This paper has been treated chemically to make it non-stick. It is also a cellulose-based paper. As a non-stick paper, it is commonly used in baking as a disposable paper. It is different from wax paper for wax paper is coated with wax.

The parchment paper is generally made by letting the paper pulp’s sheet to run through a sulfuric acid bath. This process partially gelatinizes the paper that eventually produces a cross-linked sulfurized material. This imparts a good non-stick property to the paper. The main use of this paper is to do away with the grease sheet pans, allowing quick batches turnaround of baked goods.

The Pros and Cons of the Use of Parchment Paper

The parchment paper comes with many advantages. First, it is non-stick. it also has high resistance and high density. Moreover, you can reuse it. It is also waterproof and grease resistant. Additionally, you can use it for oven cooking. Others also use it for decoration.

Conclusion

Having known the similarities and differences between the butcher’s paper and parchment paper, you are now in a better position to resolve the dilemma of butcher’s paper vs parchment paper. Each of these two types of papers thrives in doing a specific task. Both are popular, however, for their sterling qualities. Thus, if you sell meat, you will surely find the butcher’s paper more convenient to use. On the other hand, if you are a baker, you would be more inclined to buy the parchment paper.

How to Use a Weber Charcoal Grill Vents

Are you looking for the best charcoal grill 2020? While many brands will confront you, Weber is one of the names you should know. For years, the company built a reputation for the quality of its products.

Owning a Weber grill, however, is not an assurance that you can grill perfectly all the time. You must learn the tips and tricks to make the most out of it. Among others, one of the most important that you should know is how to use a Weber charcoal grill vents, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in the rest of this short article.

How to Use a Weber Charcoal Grill Vents

Understanding the Vents

Before we start, let’s talk about what the vents are supposed to do. In most charcoal grills, there are two vents – one at the top and one at the bottom. The one at the bottom is the intake damper. This allows air to get in the grill. It provides the oxygen that the coals need so that it generates the heat you need when grilling. Meanwhile, the top grill is the exhaust damper. This is the air outflow, which allows it to get rid of heat.

The vents are amongst the most important parts of a charcoal grill because they regulate temperature. It allows you to manually control the level of heat depending on what a specific recipe requires. Without the vents, it is also impossible to keep the fire burning since there is no way for the grill to take in air.

Using the Vents for Grilling

Now that you know how the vents work, let’s talk about how you can use it in a charcoal grill. To control the temperature, you have to modify the opening of the damper. This allows you to customize the amount of the air that flows into the grill. Weber, through their website, published a handy guide on the recommended opening of the damper based on the temperature that you need.

  • Fully-Open: Open the entire damper if you want to grill in high heat, which means that the expected temperature range is anywhere from 450 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • ½ Open: If the goal is to set the temperature to medium heat, which is 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, you can just open half of the damper.
  • ¼ Open: This is recommended if you would like to grill in low heat, which has the ideal temperature of 250 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also recommended if you are smoking or grilling in low heat for an extended period.

Speaking of how to use the vents correctly, it is also important that you always keep the exhaust damper partially open. This is where soot and smoke will come out. If the vent is closed, there is no way for the smoke to escape. Also, if this is close, there is no way for oxygen to get into your coals.

Tips and Tricks

Before we end this post, allow us to leave some tips and tricks to make the most out of your grill:

  • Try using the grill without food in it. While the charcoals are on fire, pay attention to the smoke and the fire. Adjust the vents accordingly to see that you are effectively managing the temperature.
  • Your dampers can get clogged and will limit airflow. To avoid this problem, pay attention to regular cleaning, which makes it possible to get rid of the build-up.
  • Invest in a thermometer if your grill does not have one built-in into the unit. This makes it easier to monitor heat in the grill so that you will know how to adjust the vents accordingly.
  • If the flames do not adjust even if you have already changed the opening of the vents, look for other potential problems with the grill, such as leaks.

Conclusion

Learning how to use a Weber charcoal grill vents is crucial. This helps you to make the most out of the grill and ensure the best outcomes. It also gives you full control of the heat that gets in the grill while making sure that the fire does not extinguish throughout grilling.