The first Fridge/Freezer that can run off its own Battery for up to 10 hours. Add optional Solar Panels and with enough Sun can run 24/7.
This post is my pre-review for the product that is being shipped to me today (08/26/2021). I cannot wait to put this Fridge/Freezer through all its paces. Here is the link to know more. ACOPower 42 Quarts Solar Fridge Freezer
Here is a list of its Features and Benefits
ACOPOWER 42 Quarts Solar Freezer
LiONCooler takes 4-6 hours to fully charge.
The battery has a 10-hour life to keep the chill.
If temperature outside changes, you can adjust the cooler’s temperature using the digital LCD display or remotely with the free Bluetooth App available for iOS or Android.
LiONCooler chills to -4°F and is equipped with quality LG compressors to ensure performance.
Use AC, 12-volt DC in the car, or solar panels. The battery only depletes when you use.
LionCooler in portable mode. If you are connected to a power source, the battery will stay fully-charged.
ACOPOWER 90W Foldable Solar Panel
Three 30W solar panels folding in a suitcase to be 90W solar panel
Charge 12V solar generator by MC-4 adapter- battery with inverter, power bank/station with built-in charge controller.
Can be used on its own or as part of a larger solar system
Extendable with MC-4 Connectors
Perfect Charging Pack to Bring Quick Charger Anywhere there is Sun
As you can see this unit is the perfect Fridge/Freezer for your Outdoor Kitchen, Tailgate Party, Camping Trip or RV Trip.
I am a die-hard fan of pellet grills. I bought my first ReqTeq RT-680 about 10 years ago. All the convenience of an oven with the smoke you can only get from wood. I have cooked everything from low and slow brisket to hot and fast steaks but one food item that just never worked well in the pellet grill was pizza. I even went out and bought a pizza stone but the pizza never cooked evenly and the bottom would be burnt but toppings were still not cooked or soggy.
To really cook a pizza you need two things. A really hot enclosure 900F or greater and real even heat from all sides. Most pellet grills can get to 500F but are way short of 900F of a pizza oven. Also, a pellet grill is more like a convection oven blowing hot air around the food. A pizza oven cooks with the radiant heat from the fire. The heat bouncing off the inside walls of the oven crisps the outside of the pizza very quickly. Also when you add the wood pellets you get that wood smoke flavor.
So I was going to make the move and get a wood pellet pizza oven. So I Googled “wood pellet pizza oven” and found one that seems to meet all the requirements. Including the price. The Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven. Is totally fueled by wood pellets. Can reach a temperature of 950F in 10 to 15 minutes. It can cook a 12-inch pizza in about 60 seconds. Also, it cost $295 with free shipping. The unit only takes 15 minutes to assemble and most of that time is reading the manual.
The other really cool feature is it does not need electricity. So like your pellet grill where you need to plug in this one is totally electric-free. The pellet hopper is easy to fill and start and will get your oven up to over 900F in about 10 minutes. After it is up to the temperature you can produce a cooked pizza about every 60 seconds. We decided to have a party for the grandkids and because I am lazy we got ten 12 inch Papa Murphy pizzas. We had cheese, pepperoni, mediterranean, cowboy, and veggie. We had all 10 cooked in 15 minutes and it could have been faster but we had to slow down so we could cut the pizza to serve.
There are some things you need if you want to use this oven. The first one is really good BBQ gloves. This oven gets really hot. Also, make sure you keep the kids away.
And last but not least you need a pizza peel paddle. Needs to fit 12-inch opening and have a long enough handle to stay away from the heat. Do NOT use a spatula.
So as you can see this is a great way to cook pizza and because it is a radiant oven you can cook a lot of other things. Ooni has a Cast Iron Sizzler Pan that allows the oven to cook meat, seafood, vegetables, and much more.
After using my Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven for the last month I find myself using it more and more. When it comes to cooking a steak the pizza oven puts a better sear than my grill and in less time.
I highly recommend this oven if you want to take your barbecue skills to the next level.
I have now been reviewing barbecue products for over a decade. I started my YouTube channel back in January 2017 and have uploaded over 90 videos from how to build a Weber Kettle Barbecue to how to cook the perfect brisket. The one thing I have not done is design and build the perfect Outdoor BBQ Kitchen. So starting today I am going to start a Blog/Video series on just how to do it.
After reading thousands of posts and articles on what makes an Outdoor BBQ Kitchen great I found that the location of this kitchen is critical to success. Now realize an outdoor kitchen does not mean it is attached to your house. It could be part of an RV or pad for an RV. Next to a cabin or outdoor shelter or just sitting out in the middle of nowhere. The only way that you can power a kitchen like this is to be Off the Grid.
So if you are off the grid then you need to get power from alternative sources. The good news there are a handful of companies that are now addressing this need by making Solar Generators.
So what is a Solar Generator? In almost all cases it is a battery, a battery charger, and an inverter. The battery is to hold power for later use, the charger is to recharge the battery and the inverter is to convert battery energy into 120 volts, AC power so you can run standard home appliances. Part of the charger can use solar panels so the battery can be charged directly from the sun.
So how much Power do we need?
That all depends on how many devices you want to run. Let’s start off with the primary component of the kitchen and that is the grill.
Most wood and charcoal grill do not use electricity but that is starting to change with a newer charcoal grill like the Masterbuilt Gravity series. Also, there are now temperature controllers for even the Weber Kettle and they all require power. The most popular grill in the market are pellet grills and they all require power to run. Actually for the first 5 to 10 minutes of turning the pellet grill on requires a lot of power so the pellets can ignite. That is typically 300 to 500 watts. After that, the power requirements drops to 30 watts or less power than a standard lightbulb.
So what do most people do when they are grilling? They usually drinking something like a beer, a soda, or like me a margarita. The last time I checked all these drinks need to be cold and nobody likes sticking their hand into an ice cooler. You need a refrigerator and a good one. Depending on the size the power requirement will be 100 to 250 watts.
Now if you are a beer drinker this might not be high on your list but if you like margaritas or slushes a blender is a must Power required is 250 up to 1,000 watts while running.
People are always buying ice and they now have countertop ice makers that can make ice in 6 minutes. Why would you ever want to buy another bag of ice? The power requirement for an ice maker is 100 to 200 watts.
When it gets dark and the party is still going on you are going to need lights. The best for a patio/kitchen area are LED string lights. Two 48ft strands with 30 bulbs would use 60 to 100 watts.
The Math and the Solution
So let’s add all the numbers. To have plenty of margins let’s act like everything is running at the same time. Never going to happen in real life but you will be guaranteed the system will always work.
If we can supply 2,050 watts of continuous power then we can power this kitchen without issue. So what are the solar generators that can meet that requirement?
Jackery Explorer 2000 – This unit can supply 2,200 watts of continuous power for up to 45 minutes and surge power of up to 4,400 watts. Can accept up to 800 watts of solar panels and can fully recharge the unit in 3 to 3.5 hours.
Bluetti AC200P – This unit can supply 2,000 watts of continuous power for up to an hour and surge power of up to 4,800 watts. Can accept up to 700 watts of solar panels and can fully recharge the unit in 3 to 3.5 hours.
Monstar M2000 – This unit can supply 2,000 watts of continuous power for up to an hour and can store 2220 watts of power. Can accept up to 200 watts of solar panels.
So which one is better? That has more to do with personal preference than actual usage. Both units will easily power the outdoor BBQ kitchen and I would be happy with either one.
After many years of barbecuing and teaching others to barbecue (my site is https://LearntoBBQ.com), I ran into the three issues with cutting boards. The first is size. If you are barbecuing a couple of full rack of ribs, brisket, or turkey you need at least 16 inches and that is in both width and height. The smaller board just means you have to move your meat to plates so you can have room to carve. The second issue is it needs to fit on a standard kitchen counter (24 inches). If it is bigger than 22 inches then you will have a hard time finding a place to put it in your kitchen. The third issue is meat juice. If it cannot handle a lot of meat juice you are only going to spill the juice all over your deck or patio and if in the kitchen your kitchen counters and floors.
So after much research and design time, I came up with, I believe, the Ultimate Barbecue Cutting Board.
The first is size
It is 17 inches by 17 inches. Large enough to hold a 15-pound brisket, 20-pound turkey, or 4 racks of ribs. The cutting part of the board is 1.25 inches thick and is made from A Grade Hard Maple wood. The board is also up off the counter using rubber feet that keep the board in place when cutting a large piece of meat.
The second is to fit on a kitchen counter
The board can fit on all kitchen counters, even if they have other stuff on the counter. at 17 inches you still have 7 inches for other stuff like can openers, utensil holders, and more. The board also weighs 8 pounds so you do not need to be a bodybuilder to haul your food around.
Last it has a pan reservoir that can hold two cups or a full pint of juice
Also, the pans are disposable for they are the standard weber grease pans you can buy on Amazon https://amzn.to/2DM9EEx for less than a dollar a pan. The pans come in real handy if you want to make gravy using the meat juices. You also can switch pans if you want to cut up a brisket and then carve a turkey by keeping the juices separate. The juice hole can also be used as a handle making it easy to carry the empty cutting board.
Each cutting board is handmade by me. The wood alone costs me a little over $50 for this is Grade A Hard Maple. The best wood you can buy for a cutting board. Each piece of wood is handpicked for the cutting surface. It takes me a full day to cut, assemble, sand, and oil just one board. I will also engrave on the bottom of the board “Made for “your name” on “the date it was made”. No two cutting boards are the same and my objective is to make you a cutting board that will stay in your family for generations. Makes a fantastic house warming gift or a gift to that barbecue fanatic that wants to take his or her barbecue to the next level.
Today we are going to review the ThermoWorks Smoke X4.
Now to answer the obvious question in what does a drone like the Mavic Mini have to do with reviewing the ThermoWorks Smoke X4? Well the Smoke 4X has a transmitter capable of transmitting over a mile and a quarter, as long as nothing is in the way. I live on 4 acres and am surrounded by trees and rolling hills. So I came up with two tests. One is the football field test where I marked 9 spots that were 300 ft or 100 yards (football field) away from my outside BBQ Deck. The circumference of this circle is just under 1,885 feet or over a third of a mile. The Smoke X4 also had to transmit through 6-inch house walls, trees, and even a fifth-wheel travel trailer. The second test was to see how far I could go from the BBQ deck before it stopped transmitting. I will get to that test later in this article.
So why the drone? It has the ability to measure straight line distance from where it takes off. It is very accurate with GPS and ground sensors. It is so precise if you tell it to go home it will fly right back to the place it took off from. If you watch the video review below you can actually see the drone in action.
Now let’s talk features. Or let’s realize that this product is great because it does not have all these features. Actually we are going to talk about what the product does not have.
First The Smoke X4 does not have WiFi
One of the number one complaints I get is my thermometer or grill keeps disconnecting from the wifi. In one extreme case this guy decided to put on a brisket and then went to Home Depot thinking he could monitor his brisket cook from afar. Well the grill disconnected from the WiFi so he had no way to monitor. When he got back his grill had started a grease fire and the grill, the brisket, and part of his deck were on fire.
So the lesson is don’t ever leave an unattended bbq cooker, period. Even if the thermometer was connected to WiFi his grill would have still caught on fire. Stay home and send somebody else to the store.
The next thing that the Smoke X4 does not have is Bluetooth.
Personally except for connecting my phone to my car audio I am not a Bluetooth fan. Why if I walk 25 feet away from a Bluetooth grill or thermometer it justs disconnects. The worst part is Bluetooth devices do not tell you they are disconnected so you think they are working.
Many a chicken has been overcooked or burnt because of Bluetooth disconnect.
Now the other thing the Smoke X4 does not need is AC power.
It is battery powered and can run for hours. So now when you go camping and you bring your smokey Joe and to cook some BBQ chicken well now you can leave the lid on and know when those chicken thighs hit 175F. No AC needed.
So no Wifi, no bluethooth no AC and no problems.
Now there are some things they did add that I really like. The lanyard is such a simple idea and makes it almost impossible to misplace the receiver. When I first put it on it reminded me of another product that has a lanyard.
When running the football field test I walked to every spot and first made sure I was still connected but to really make sure it would work I turned off the receiver and then let it reconnect. In all 9 spots it reconnected in 30 seconds or less.
The next test was how far can I go before the transmitter fails to connect with the receiver.
This test I wanted to make it hard on the unit so I walked to an area that was below the horizon and had plenty of trees. It finally stopped working at 1,053 feet or 2/10 of a mile and this was not close to line of sight. If you want to actually see how far it looks using the drone please watch the video below for the full review. It also will give you instructions on how to program the unit.
In closing if you are looking for a NO PROBLEMS remote thermometer that just works and works well you cannot get any better than the ThermoWorks Smoke X4 or X2.
Please click on the link to learn more or to purchase the great thermometer.
In this recipe, we are going to make a unique Umami enhanced barbecue sauce using the Stubbs Sweet Heat barbecue sauce. We are also going to cook to temperature and not time. In my opinion, these are the best chicken thighs I have ever made..
Remove packaging on the three baby back rib racks.
Remove the membrane from the back of the rib racks.
Now season the ribs using Montreal Steak Seasoning.
Insert the needle temperature probe into the rib rack making sure we do not touch any bone.
Put all three rib racks into a 300F preheated smoker. Then plug in the probe into the Signals thermometer.
We are going to cook these ribs uncovered and in the smoke till they reach 160F.
As the ribs cook we will now make the barbecue sauce. We get a medium-size mixing bowl.
Add one cup of ketchup.
Two teaspoons of brown sugar.
Two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
Four tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Two teaspoons of garlic powder.
Two teaspoons of chipotle sauce
One half a teaspoon of ground mustard
One half a teaspoon of sea salt.
Now if you want you can stop here and use the sauce the way it is. If you want to take it up a big notch then you can add the next three ingredients. I call these the Umami enhancers and the will double the number of glutamates in the sauce.
Two large tablespoons of chipotle in adobo sauce.
One tablespoon of fish sauce. Please note it is not fishy.
One tablespoon of tamari sauce.
Now mix well and put into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
When ribs hit 160F remove and then apply barbecue sauce,
Now put ribs into a large foil pan and then cover the top with aluminum foil.
Reinsert temperature probe and cook ribs till when they hit 195F.
When ribs hit 195F remove foil from the top of the pan and let the sauce turn into a glaze. This is about 30 minutes.
Let ribs rest for about 10 minutes then slice and serve.
Umami Barbecue Pulled Pork is the first in a series of Umami Barbecue recipes on our site. The secret to this recipe is the sauce. If you try this recipe you will have a hard time going back to regular pulled pork.
While we work on the Umami Sauce we can preheat the Camp Chef Woodwind Grill with Sidekick. We set the temperature to 300F.
Then set the smoke level to 7. So you know 10 is the highest you can set it to maximize smoke.
We keep the rub very simple. We use an SPG or Salt, Pepper and garlic rub. Our favorite one is Montreal Steak Seasoning that is SPG but with a little red pepper, onion, and paprika thrown in. We will use about 1 cup of rub.
Using a foil pan so we can have an easy clean up add the rub to every inch of the pork shoulder.
As I apply the rub I make sure that all sides are covered. The rub not only adds flavor but the salt draws out protein-rich juice that dries on the surface during cooking, creating a crisp, deeply seasoned crust.
Now before I take the butt out to the smoker I need to find where the blade bone is. I need to make sure that I put the temperature probe on the other side so the probe will not make contact with the bone. Now it is off to the smoker.
Here the woodwind grill and as you can see it has the sidekick option. That side burner is going to allow us to prepare everything on this grill. No need to do any cooking in the kitchen. Here I place the roast fat cap down and then insert the temperature probe opposite of the blade bone. So while the pork shoulder is cooking it is time to prepare the umami sauce.
Here are the five ingredients. Each one is loaded with Glutamates and should take our pork shoulder over the top.
We start with ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce. This sauce is made with fermented anchovies and is full of glutamates or Umami.
Now we add ½ a cup of balsamic vinegar.
Then we add a ¼ cup of tamari sauce.
Now a ¼ cup of fish sauce. Don’t worry it is not fishy.
Finally a can of diced tomatoes. 20 to 28 oz can.
Now mix it all up. Now we have to wait until the pork reaches 160F so we can add this sauce.
It took 3 hours and 10 minutes to bring this roast up to 161 from a very cold 44 degrees. Now we move the roast to a foil pan and then add our special umami sauce.
With the sauce added we need to seal the foil with heavy-duty foil and we need the pan to be airtight. At this time we are actually brazing the roast in the umami sauce. We now come to the final part where we add even more umami but we are also going to add texture that will complement the pork.
One large sweet onion and shitake mushrooms. We want the onion to be diced but rather large pieces so that they can hold up to the pork. You could use any large onion but I like the sweet ones for we are adding no sugar to this pulled pork.
These onion pieces might look large but they will cook down and will be about half this size when done. So why onions? When slow cooked they give off a lot of free glutamates making just about everything they touch taste better.
Now my favorite ingredient for this pulled pork. Shitake mushrooms are king in the world of umami. I bought these frozen and already sliced. All I had to do was put them in the bowl with the onions. Before we can go cook these mushrooms and onions we need to salt them. By salting the mushrooms before cooking will help draw out moisture allowing them to cook firm and not become rubbery.
Here is the cooking set up. Using a 12 inch Camp Chef cast iron skillet and set the burner to medium. I monitor the skillet temperature for I want to cook the mushrooms and onions slow enough so they will not burn or have the butter burn. When outside and it is windy and cold it is hard to know how hot the skillet is. I add the butter when the skillet hits 180F. We want to cook the onions and mushrooms but we do not want to overcook or burn them.
Time to put the onions and mushrooms on the grill box. One thing I really liked about the grill box is I can lower the cover over the skillet and get the food out of wind. Actually, felt I could cook about anything on this grill box. At 30,000 BTUs you could easily sear steaks but you could saute onions and mushrooms without overcooking them..
Well back to the cook. We now take our cooked onions and mushrooms and add them directly to the pork shoulder. Also, I highly recommend some BBQ gloves like these BBQ Dragon extreme temperature gloves. Best extreme temperature gloves I have ever used. After transferring the onions and mushrooms leave the foil pan uncovered and then wait till the internal temp hits 195F.
Now it is time to pull and let the roast rest for about 15 minutes. Now get another clean foil pan and then transfer the pork should to the new pan. I use a spatula but you can use a slotted spoon and transfer all the onions and mushroom over to the new pan.
Now let the shredding begin. I start with the bear claws and brak it into 4 or 5 large pieces. Then I remove the blade bone. Should come out clean with no meat sticking to it. I then use 2 forks and then I put the gloves on and shed it by hand. After shredding I then mix it all together so that the onions and mushrooms are all intertwine with the pork
First, you notice how moist it is. Second, you see the bark and the great smoke ring. But the most important is how does it taste. I took a small piece with some bark on it and gave it a try. Om my god. The best I have even made and the best I have ever eaten. In review, Umami Barbecue is for real and will take your barbecue to the next level.
Today I posted my first Umami Barbecue Video. The first one is all about pulled pork but this is not your ordinary pulled pork. This one has onions, shiitake mushrooms and a boatload of high in glutamates sauces.
Watch it but if you want to see the next video please hit the Subscribe button. If Facebook or Instagram is your thing then go like or follow us at @learntobbq .
So you know the next video is going to be Umami Baby Back Ribs do make sure you subscribe or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
On a side note, the grill I am using is designed to allow multiple items to cook at the same time. When cooking Umami Barbecue you need to integrate different ingredients at different temperatures and at different times. The Camp Chef Windwood is the only grill I know that can smoke ribs and let me make a special Umami sauce at the same time on the same grill.