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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Fail & Qualified Success

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This is a blog I've thought about writing for several years now and have put off. It is about products I may have initially written an enthusiastic review about in this barbecue blog, only to find out they don't live up to expectations. In other cases they aren't a total failure, but are not a total success either. Or perhaps they aren’t suited to my needs. I will also go back and add a new item to the original blogs where I refer the reader of those initial reviews to this blog entry. This was a decision can be made based on all of the facts.

FAIL: Bonjour Laser Probe Combo Thermometer ($89)
I must admit I had been warned about this thermometer. I wanted a fast instant read thermometer and I was intrigued by the fact I could get an infrared thermometer as part of the package. The reviews on Amazon and some other sites mentioned the units not lasting a long time and the fact there was no long term manufacturers warrantee of any kind. They only guarantee was the unit would work when you opened up the box. The concept of this thermometer really appealed to me and I have always treated my toys with care so I decided to risk it. The unit worked well for a while and then the targeting laser beam stopped working. The temperature probe works perfectly. While the display shows the infrared temperature, with the laser pointer burned out you don't know where you were aiming to get that temp. In my opinion this is far too much money to pay for an item that doesn't last long and has no warrantee.

Original Blog entry:
  HIGH TECH THERMO
  MEASURING UP
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QUALIFIED SUCCESS: Sur La Table Dual Thermometer ($99)
Let me state right away this thermometer worked as advertised. It was similar in several ways to the Bonjour Laser Probe Combo Thermometer I described above. In fact the specs were identical for the instant read portions of both thermometers, so I suspect the sensors were the same in both. This thermometer also had a guarantee and somewhat better construction. The bad news was the infrared sensor only went up to 482F (250 C) about half the range of the Bonjour. I thought I would be able to get buy with this more limited range, but it turns out I was wrong. Once you start using these infrared thermometers you will find all kinds of additional uses for them. The 482 F ( 250 C) upper limit was just too low for outdoor grilling uses. So while the thermometer performed as promised, it wasn't suited to the use I wanted to put it to. This was my fault. I am not sure this thermometer is even made any more, but I will keep this entry here to remind folks they should look for a higher infrared temperature range for a thermometer for use with a grill.

Original Blog entry:
  NEW HIGH TECH THERMO
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QUALIFIED SUCCESS: Maverick Remote Read Thermometer Temperature Probes (Various)
I have been using Maverick Remote Read thermometers for many years now. The various transmitters and receivers have worked as promised and I have never had any issues with the 4 Maverick units I have owned. The weak link is the temperature probes. While I call them weak links, the manufacturer does warn you of the issues involved. The probes have a high temperature limit associated with them. The newer models do have higher upper limits than the older models. But if you expose the probe to higher temperatures than they are rated for they will burn out. If you get them wet this may kill them too. Lastly if you kink the metal braided mesh cable it will kill the probe. I've gotten 6 years of use out of some of my probes, but I also burned on out on the third use when it got exposed to a flare up. Maverick is very specific on the care you should take with these probes, so you really can't fault them. If you are careful they should work as promised, at least based on my experience. Still I like to have a spare set of probes on hand just in case.

Original Blog entries:
  MAVERICK ET-732 - NEW & DEFINITELY IMPROVED
  TEMPERATURE PROBE ISSUES
  REMOTE POSSIBILITY
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FAIL: Sur la Table Adjustable Grill Light with Cover ($30)
I will state without qualifications that this was the best grill light I owned if you look at only the lighting portion of the equation. It gave a wide spread of fairly bright light. It was the only grill light I owned that had the spread to cover the entirety of my 6 burner gas grill. The reason it is a fail is the mounting bracket. The clamping mechanism which you screw to the handle of the grill cracked twice now. When I broke the first one, I figured perhaps it was my fault and I used too much force tightening it down. Armed with this knowledge I bought a second unit and tightened it down far less. Even using far less clamping pressure the second unit cracked in the same place. I wasn't even tightening the second unit down when it broke. I was outside lighting the grill and it just cracked and fell off on it's own. This will not be a problem anymore because I now have my grill gazebo with permanent lighting. This is some much better than any grill lights I have ever found, that I would suggest people skip grill lights entirely and find a way to bring some permanent lighting to the areas they grill in.

Original Blog entry:
  GREAT GRILL LIGHT
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FAIL: Cuisinart Electric Knife ($39)
I have such a love hate relationship with this knife you wouldn't believe it. This is another one where the warnings and comments by users on Amazon and other sites were 100 percent accurate. It is a great knife-when it works. It is the top-rated knife in some of the comparison tests run by various websites. It is the best electric knife I have seen. Believe me I keep looking because I don't want to buy another one when the one I own fails-and I now know it will. It seems the problem is in the gearing they use to transfer the power from the motor to the knife blades. Some folks claim to have taken this knife apart and found cheap plastic gears in the drivetrain. All I know is this knife seems to fail regularly. In my case usually just after the warrantee runs out. I've had it burn out when I have had to cut a big piece of meat, I had one fail when I brushed the blade across a turkey bone. I didn't try to cut the bone, as soon as I realized I was next to a bone I stopped cutting. The knife never worked again. This is very annoying because I had a GE knife that lasted for decades and I seem to get 2-3 years out of these Cuisnart knives. Every time one fails me I swear I will NEVER buy another. Then I research to see what other knives are out there and I end up very reluctantly going back to the Cuisinart. But I don't have Cuisinart right where they want me. While I reluctantly buy this knife like it is a disposable product, I will never buy another Cuisinart product again based on the poor quality exhibited with this knife. So they' eh got me with this one, but it will cost them my other business. So if you are considering this knife be warned it will fail in less time than you would expect.

Original Blog entry:
  ELECTRIC KNIFE -MVP
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QUALIFIED FAIL: 10’x10’ EZ-Up ($160)
OK lets get this straight right up front. What I am about to talk about is not the EZ-Up Companies fault. I was trying to use it in a way they never intended and I do not hold them t blame for what happened. It is a case where their product would seem to be the ideal solution to keep your grill covered. But the EZ-Up company does not intend for you to leave it up for long periods of time. The reason I am including it here is because the product they were putting out 7 or 8 years ago actually was able to hold up to being left up all summer. In the sumer of 2012 I replaced my 6 year old EZ-Up with a new model. They had made changes to the roof structure & framing, no doubt for value engineering purposes. To avoid a price increase cut down on the amount of materials used in a product, and ideally don’t reduce performance. When I put up my new EZ-Up I was concerned right away about the change to the roof. I will leave it to you the reader to review the older blog entires if you are interested in the details. The bottom line was the roof was prone to collecting water. The more water it collected the more it stretched and sagged, and it collected more water and stretched and sagged more…Unlike the old EZ-Up where I was able to deal with roof stretching issues, this model had no way to deal with the process once it began. Bottom line: The old EZ-Up lasted 6 years, the new one didn’t last 6 months. But once again the EZ-Up company doesn’t make their shelters for this type of use. The earlier one exceeded their expectations, the new ones do not. The good news here is that the failure of the new EZ-Up is what led me to look into getting my permanent grill gazebo.

Original Blog entry:
  EZ-UP VERSION 2
  EZ-UP EZ-DOWN - DON’t TRY THIS AT HOME
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