Monday, November 7, 2011


My favorite outdoor cooking appliance is my Weber "Performer" Kettle BBQ. I cook an average of two meals a week on this rig and I am on a quest to do everything I cook outdoors on the Weber, too include "low and slow" smoke BBQ as well as Rotisserie Coooking with my AuSpit setup.

I was fairly successful with a simple, "indirect heat" cooking procedure in the Weber on a previous batch of Pork Back Ribs but, i was not completely satisfied with the outcome. Recently, I found the Smokenator 1000 addition  for the Weber and ordered the deal pronto.

The Smokenator insert is installed to the left.
The unit arrived mid last week and once unpacked, it is clearly and very simple, yet very efficient design. This last Saturday, I picked up 3 slabs of the same Pork ribs and set to it.

The install takes a whole ten seconds. It's that easy. About the only complex aspect of the deal is that the propane, charcoal lighter my Weber Performer is offset a few inches from where the Smokenator would reside. I will look to modify the lighter to change this. The unit does come with important instructions. read them, to clearly understand what to expect in the cooking pricess.

I transfered the coals to the Smokenator partition, added cherry wood chunks and filled the water tray. I added the ribs and set my feet up while I monitored the Smokenator/Weber with the aid of a good amount of beer.

As the instructions stated, the dome temp in the Weber was extremely well regulated at @ 220-250 degrees. Sure, I had to add more wood chunks and a few more charcoals but, that was really minimal over this 3 hours of this part of the cooking process.

About 2 hours into the process
 As you can see, I did move the ribs around on the grilles whenever I opened the lid to add wood chunks for smoke or one or two briquettes for heat. Again, the was really a lot less work than I thought it would be - certainly a lot less than the old method of indirect heat before the addition of the Smokenator.

At hour three, I pulled the ribs about 80% done as this was more than enough smoke. The rest of the process would be in my Kitchen Oven in foil, with added flavor steps.

Ready to be cut up and served.

Sorry for the messy plate, this was my 3rd helping!
The outcome was fantastic. These were likely the best batch of Back Ribs I have ever cooked. The kids gobbled them up and stated the same.  To make them perfect, I would have liked the meat to release from the rib bones a bit easier. I have a few ideas on how to make that happen in the next batch.

Details on the recipe:
  1. 3 Racks of Pork Back Ribs
  2. Remove membrane from back of ribs.
  3. Clean and dry ribs
  4. Dust with Dizzy Pig, "Dizzy Dust" rub.
  5. Add other favorite flavors and sparingly sparingly. Avoid excess salt.
  6. Let stand in your fridge for an hour or so.
  7. Prepare Smoker to reach cooking chamber temp of 225-250 degrees.
  8. Smoke Ribs for @ 3 hours or until about 90% done as measured by the "Bend Test".
  9. Place ribs in foil and add your favorite sauce sparingly. Sprinkle with brown sugar and any other spice that you like. I add cumin at this stage. Wrap them fairly tight.
  10. Place the foil wrapped ribs in the pre-heated, 250 degree oven for @ 1 hr. Test again with the bend test. Pull when finished.
  11. Tent the foil a bit and let the ribs rest in the foil for about 20 minutes.
  12. Cut up and serve.

The Smokenator 1000, manufacturer's website is HERE.


You might think that the Smokenator/Weber combo with it's 5-6 hour cooktime by design will not be ample for large cuts of meat, such as Brisket or Pork Shoulder which often are in heat for 10-12 hours..  Not so! Remember, care is need to not provide too much smoke. With that, the Smokenator/Weber combo can be the sole appliance for the smoking part of the process, moving the big cuts to the Oven in the same foil process as mentioned above.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

HAT TIP - Blue Beacon Truck Wash

One off the best values around for owners of large RV's is a quick, quality wash at any Blue Beacon Truck Wash. I have been using this service for 6 years, visting dozens of times and I have not a single complaint. Sure, you still need to do some touch-up on the windows and on my rig, the stateliness steel. No matter - the alternative of doing the entire rig by hand is simply not advised for proper mental health.

Today, was the first time I witnessed a high percentage of RV's on their way through. This is good!

$35.00 USD gets the job done for my rig. I generally tip the crew another $5.

Visit Blue Beacon HERE

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gearhead Mecca - THE SEMA SHOW

It's been 6 years since I last attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV.

SEMA! What's that???  For the unknowing, unchristened and non-ordained - you can find all the genric info you want about SEMA at Wiki = SEMA .

Onward... Only the vast convention halls of Las Vegas, NV can properly house all the exhibitors, seminars and massive crowds that attend each year.

Just one floor of three, major halls
To be honest, not a whole lot has changed since my last visit. The most notable was the complete lack of the car stereo crowd. Maybe they have their own shin-dig now. Too bad, I was hoping to see the latest "double din" navigation and sound boxes as it's time to replace the perennial, piece of junk system in my '04 Dodge, Cummins pickup.

No matter, I was able to visit a number of vendors who's wares I partake in for my regular vehicles and of course, for the race car. Autometer found the high-emp, gauge I needed for the clutch pack fluid temp on the race car trans. GoPro informed me of firmware upgrades to allow more simple interaction with their camera and I visited a number of off-road light manufacturers as we prepare for a few night races in 2012.

Best of all - in regards to new products, I spied the latest, cool stuff in the "new product, showcases at the rear of the south hall, second floor. This is where all the latest innovations are centrally showcased in large display cases and tables. One of the waves of innovation from many, many vendors included the Apple, Ipad, Iphone and Ipod as rich data displays for everything from vehicle telemetry to GPS services. In fact, there was so much of this that these applications seem to be in a price war. As an example, an Ipod based ODBII report system sold for hundreds of dollars just a few years ago - now, many can be had for $30 to $75. NICE!

Another new product in abundance was very well featured vehicle alarm systems, in particular for stationary vehicles. These systems would reach out and call, text or email you if the vehicle moves or is intruded upon. Hopefully this will reach the RV community soon as this would be a boon for RV owners while their vehicles are in storage or left unattended for any length of time in a park or while boondocking.

Of course, SEMA is full of eye candy too include pretty booth girls and awesome vehicles. For the former, see the articles that set the standard for these beauties in my old publication HERE...

I still say.. WOW!!
Back to the wheels...

A COPO Camaro anyone? This version came with a 
supercharged 327 LSX motor. A variant is the LSX, 
naturally aspirated 427. Both are backed by the 
venerable Powerglide Transmission.

There are hundreds of extremely nice vehicles
on display, from the concept cars of the big
manufacturers to relics like this '32 Ford Coupe in 
Lakester trim. This car was truly one of 
the most interesting at the show. It looks
extremely authentic for the period, as if it just
came down Cajon Pass from El Mirage in 1956.

Far nicer than the Dukes of Hazard "General Lee" around the corner.

Just a few mods to this old Caddy!!
The workmanship was incredible.

It gets better. This 1967 Pro-Touring Nova was a true
work of art. I looked hard and outside of the body shell
itself, I doubt there was another original component
of the car in the vicinity. 

A very, very nice and very, very fast Old Goat! ... 
Like me - well, the "nice" part, anywaze..

See the full scoop on this car in the video below.

This is a Kit Car, a "Super Car, Kit Car" no less, by
Factory Five Racing. Me thinks that with a well mannered,
900HP, LSX motor, it could pretty much embarass a number of
Euro-exotoc cars. I may have to look into this. 
The build could be as much fun as the drive.

Ah, the innovators of Land Speed Racing! 
Behold the "under 100 cubic inch" class record holder at
Bonneville this year. In there is a small, four cylinder, Suzuki 
Hyabusa motor. More than enough power to pus the 
car to 120+ MPH. That coot in the background on the
cellphone is the owner and builder. 

LSR is comprised of the most fervent of gear heads.
And, if you haven't been to or, are not planning to go
to Bonneville, you simply don't fit the mold.

Speaking of the LSX Motor... This is the latest,
state of the art, push-rod V8 available to the masses.
454 Cubic Inches and over 700HP 
as it sits, removed from the crate.

My oldest Son has just been hired by UPS. A great
company to work for while the young man attends college.
This 1953 Ford Panel,  UPS truck was a fine tribute to the
company and it's employees.

How about a Cummins, 12 Valve powered Funny Car! 

God Bless America!

Outside there were many, many vehicles on display. The
"Car Crazy" people from Meguiar's invited custom car
owners to bring their passion from around the globe.
Here are just a few.

A stunning, Ford Falcon from Down Under.

Last but not least, there are the oddities of SEMA, 
where strange construction, crazy ideas and sometimes 
stuff that is downright ugly is on display.

Behold the MOST UGLY CAR at SEMA 2011
The "Storm Chaser Ball of Crap"!

This incredible pile of shit has the most horrid craftsmanship
I have ever witnessed. Every weld looks like it was made
with a coat hanger and a car battery. The phrase "booger weld"
has never had a better factual basis. The car is as ugly and stupid
as the TV show and it's moron characters of shrill, "dramatic girl" voices. 

Yes, it's that bad.

The builders of this car must have been sponsored by a
metal abrasives company. I can only imagine that hundreds
of flapwheel, grinding pads were used to semi-smooth
the pile before they tried to hide the remaining horrror with
multiple coats of spray-on, bed liner material.

Check out the masterful buffoonery in the work on the
door below. My 10 year old son can weld better than this!

Can you believe that the WSJ gave these pinheads some print?

Enough of that! 'Till next year..  I'll be back!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hot Weather Test for #177

We have an off-road race in two weeks at Lucerne Valley, CA. This last weekend we finished up a lot of work and preparation to get the car ready. Our culmination was to test in severe heat. The car held up really well. We are still confused with the high transmission temperature readings which are made right as the fluid leaves the transmission to the coolers. We will add a second gauge to measure the temperature in the pan. If that temp stays in check, we are good to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bonneville Speed Week - Sunday, August 14th

WOW! What cool stuff we saw today! We stayed almost all day at Course #3 and #4 - both 5 mile runs. By far - the most obscure, most amusing and interesting was the Bio-Diesel powered motorcycle of Gene Hill from Odessa, MO USA.

This bike is powered by an Italian, Industrial/Farm motor more fit for a water pump than a motorcycle. Performance add-ons include a turbo charger from a Geo Metro.  As of the moment I published this Blog, there is not an official time for the bike although, Gene says it has gone 27 MPH in the past.

Update: From the SCTA Official Timing Gene did just 17 MPH on his runs, Saturday. We'll watch for his results the rest of the week.

And see the video!

There is a lot more like Gene and his vehicle at Bonneville. How about a supercharged, 175cc Honda. Yes, that is a roots blower on the little motor.

The "Screwball", 500cc Special Construction Motorcycle

The Somers and Somers, 250cc BSA Motorcycle

The Shinya Kamura, 1350cc, Harley Davidson "Knucklehead" Motorcycle.

An old Harley Davidson, 1000cc Sportster - Super Chief Racing @ Speed!


"SaltBiscuit", a 175cc Shanghai Shenki Motorcycle. Todd and Terry Reuhs.



As I publish this Blog, the weather has turned in great contrast. First, we has a monsoon rain, then clearing skies and now high winds. I can only imagine what the racer's pits look like out on the lake bed. We'll miss that story as we will head back to Hell's Half Acre tomorrow morning, leaving behind Bonneville 'till next year.

This has been an awesome trip, a new and lasting experience..

Now if we can just get Joe Hauler on a Diesel Motorcycle.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bonneville Speed Week - Saturday, August 13th

Today was the first day of racing for the 2011 event. Our plans were to hit the start and staging area, then the mid course spectator area and finally, the big car show at the Nugget Casino in the evening. 

'Following are photos from each venue.


My first subject was the amazingly tiny "Nebulous Theorem Streamliner". I think this car was about 20" tall, total.

At Bonneville, you will see the widest variety of vehicles.. Behold the Ferrari Enzo with Rat Rods as a backdrop.

The same diversity exists for Motorcycles as well. This is a 175cc Motobecane of many decades past.

Then there is the vintage SAAB with an 750cc, two-stroke motor that has gone 103MPH!


A roadster at well over 200 MPH passing the mid-course, timing tower.

An old "Belly Tank" Streamliner being pushed back to the pits.

An unknown motorcycles at a very high rate of speed.

A "Big Dog" Streamliner heading to the Start and Staging area.

The record holding "Salt Toy" Diesel Truck.


The Salt gets everywhere and sticks like glue!

Chop Job - Extreme!

Automotive Art...


A great crowd of Gear Heads and their cars, both spanning many generations.

Tomorrow, we will be back out in the Start and Staging areas again - this time on the shorter, 3 mile courses so that, we can see more of the motorcycles and smaller displacement cars up close. Stay tuned!

Also! Next week, I should have a nice photo album added to my Picassa account with hundreds of photos from the event weekend.