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Buying A Barbecue Smoker

Making True Barbecue With A Smoker

Are you considering getting a smoker that can be used in making true barbecue or even foods like smoked turkey and pastrami? There are hot smokers on the market that come in quite a few sizes and shapes and even powered by various kinds of fuel. Here are a few things you should consider when you start shopping for your next smoker.

Barbecue-smoker

Food Smoker Costs

You can find smokers for around $50 or more than $10,000. If you don’t plan on using it heavily, then you might want to start off with a smaller and vertical water smoker. Those are often the cheapest ones you can buy. You can make some good barbecue, even in these smokers, so for many, it’s the only one they ever need. Then again, there’s far more to smokers in general that just these basic units.

Smokers and Fuel Types

Smokers can get fueled using propane, electricity, wood pellets, charcoal, and hardwood. Each of these various fuels has their own benefits, and some of them have drawbacks too. Wood smokers and charcoal are more common and typically give your cooking more of an authentic flavor. The market’s most affordable smokers are typically charcoal, but there are really expensive charcoal smokers too.

Electric smokers are obviously quite convenient, but many of them wind up lacking in authentic flavor. Some of them are computer-controlled, which means you can set up your smoker and let the thing run until your food is ready.

Pellet smokers are powered electrically, but they do burn wood pellets in order to have smoke and heat. Units like these have many of the same conveniences as electric smokers, but they also give you the same flavor you might get from hardwood and charcoal smokers.

Propane smokers usually heat the fastest and easiest, even compared to electric smokers, and they’re also generally easy to use.

flames-fuel

Features

Depending on what you’re willing to spend on a smoker, you can get tremendously tasting barbecue without a lot of effort. One thing you’ll have to ask yourself is just how involved you’d like to get in the process. Barbecue itself is a long and even noble tradition coming from people by sitting around the fire making good food. Do you want to be able to just set it and forget it? Or would you like to be more of an active participant in cooking your food? Look for computer control or electronic features that might automate some of the work for you.

Sizes

The smallest smokers might make enough food for a big family and sometimes even several dozen folks. Larger smokers can put out enough barbecue to keep a party going all day long. It’s essential that you think about how much barbecue you’d like to make prior to buying a smoker. If you only intend to smoke for your family on weekends, then you can get by with a small unit. If you’d like to be able to smoke enough for a corporate event, then you’ll need quite a bit more space. A lot of smokers will actually say just how much food you can make with them. As a general guideline, you’ll have to have 1 pound of raw meat per person. That involves quite a bit of food.

steaks-bbq-smoker

Versatility

Some units that are on the market that can both grill and smoke. If you’d like to enjoy the best of both worlds, then one of these units is right up your alley. Charcoal units are the most frequent type of multipurpose smoker. There are many budget-level units that claim to have this feature, but you should know that it really takes a good design that can both smoke and grill really well. Many of the cheapest models can do one well or the other, but rarely both.

Brands

You might not immediately recognize the brand names that many smokers have stamped on them, but it’s well worth your time to look into the companies making the smoker that you’re thinking about buying. Some generic units are actually store brands that don’t come with support or service in the future.

If you find a smoker that you think is right for you, check out the smoker reviews that other users and industry experts have provided.



Salix viminalis – Uncommon Abilities Of The Common Osier Willow

The Uncommon Abilities Of The Common Osier Willow

As with most plants, the Salix viminalis goes by many different names depending on where you are located. It’s most commonly used name is the osier willow. Sometimes it is referred to as the common osier willow, the common osier, or the basket willow. This willow has been heavily cultivated for many centuries. As such, it has spread through many countries where it did not grow natively.

It is known to be native to central Europe and eastward to western Asia. Some believe it is also native to the southeast in England. It is commonly cultivated throughout all of Europe in regions with low altitude. The Salix viminalis happens to be among the least variable of all Willow plants, yet it can easily form hybrids with many additional species. This is one reason why it is so heavily cultivated.

Salix viminalis catkins

The common osier actually has various uses in modern society. It earned its name, “the basket willow” because its twigs are extremely flexible and can be used to make baskets. The willow’s twigs are referred to as withes. Not only are they useful in basket making, but in roof thatching and various forms of crafts.

Some of the uses of the common osier are slightly more scientific than basket making. For example, it is one of the few plants that can grow in soil with a very high concentration of certain metals. The plant actually absorbs these metals and thus has high levels of the metal in its tissue.

This metal would be toxic to most other plants. Plants that are capable of this absorption, such as the osier willow, are known as hyper-accumulators and are important to the scientific community. The osier willow easily absorbs mercury, chromium, lead, cadmium, uranium, silver, and more. This makes it one of the most versatile hyper-accumulators known to exist.

While the plant may go by the name the “common osier” its ability to absorb these dangerous metals is not common at all. Of course, if you decide to plant one of these in your lawn you probably won’t be doing so for its ability to absorb uranium. Nonetheless, it’s an impressive feat that very few plants are capable of.

Many people grow them for their use in arts and crafts. They may make baskets with their stems or they may make living willow sculptures. Either way, it’s a unique plant with an impressive appearance and abilities.



Daffodil Gardens

I do have to admit that daffodils have become somewhat of an obsession…

I absolutely love these cheerful flowers, and over the years have planted hundreds of thousands of the narcissus bulbs. When it comes to daffodils, I have a tendency to go overboard, and for very good reason. These bright yellow beauties really inspire me since not many flowers are as resilient as daffodils are.

The daffodil is a really optimistic flower.

Since it helps to break through that late winter gloom, we turn our thoughts to the longer, warmer days that are on their way.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus, the true daffodil, was commonplace in our woodlands at one time. It is much scarcer out in the wild now, that we have to grow the varied and many relatives inside of our gardens. They are among the least fussy of all plants and grow in both the shade and sunshine. Among the earliest (but not in February always) is ‘February Gold’ and with the season stretching to the ‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus during late April and later.

daffodil-garden

My parents came to England during the 1930s and were bulb-growers. They were stranded by war, and they moved into Lincolnshire’s well-named South Holland district where they joined numerous small-scale commercial nurseries and found the fertile flat soil was perfect for growing bulbs. As a girl, I worked in their nursery and was basically drip-fed knowledge that I didn’t even realize that I was learning so much. During World War II many of the old varieties were lost, and daffodil growers had to plow up their fields in order to grow food. However, enough survived to allow us to track them down so that we could offer them along with new introductions. ‘Thalia,’ a multi-head white that dates from 1916, and ‘Mary Copeland,’ a red and white double that was bred in 1913, are two of my favorites. 

My great love of daffodils really comes down to them being so long-lasting.

When you have the right daffodils, it can provide you with color for many months. I recommend fragrant and dwarf varieties in tubs and pots near the house, and larger varieties in your borders. Daffodils may be naturalized in lawns as well. They should not be cut back after they have flowered, and their leaves should not be tied in knots. Allow them to naturally die down, ideally for about eight weeks. After the plant has flowered it can do is work so that the energy can be returned to the bulb.

Daffodil bulbs are perennials so the should continue producing flowers for many years, but I get lots of questions regarding why they do not.

Today I’ll close with the five most common reasons why daffodils do not re-bloom and things that you can do to be able to enjoy these beautiful flowers for many years to come. Enjoy!

1. They have been planted in the shade. You need to plant your daffodils in the sun. Although they are able to take some partial shade, they do prefer full sun. If they are planted in the sun, then they probably won’t come back the following year.

2. Daffodil clumps over time can become too congested. They must be divided and separated. Depending on what variety they are, divide and separate them about every three to five years to get continuous blooming.

3. The foliage was cut back too soon. Allow the foliage to last as long as possible. If you need to cut it back, allow the blooms to fade and then in six weeks, the foliage can be cut back, and it won’t prevent your daffodils from blooming the following year. The plant is re-energized to return the following year. 

4. They are hungry. At the start of the daffodil season, as they are starting to bloom, spring some granular fertilizer around the plants. Feed its foliage and allow it to last as long as possible and naturally die back.

5. The soil conditions are not quite right. Moisture is needed by daffodils, but don’t plant them in a location where they will be sitting in wet, soggy soil all winter.




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