Wow, I tried to provide information about myself in the profile section but there is no way to do that with 100 characters per section. So I will try to do that here.
My name is Ed Schuler and I live in a very small town south of Louisville, Kentucky named Mount Washington. We recently moved here and have quickly fallen in love with the area and the people. My wife and I both grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and traveled the USA (not together) most of our young adult lives. We met after I returned from Iraq in 2005 and were married in 2006.
As you can figure from my username, I am a disabled veteran and I am very proud of that. I try not to talk about the events that lead to my disability or talk about my service, but I am extremely proud to have served and sacrificed. I would do it all over again, even knowing what I know today. I try to stay very positive because many of my brothers and sisters did not come home as they gave all.
I reallty try to stay away from politics as I HATE all politicians and elected officials as my personal beliefe is that they are all crooks, even if they go in with good intentions, they come out corrupt. Any system where money dictates who gets elected, and elected officials get rich making a career out of politics is destined to be corrupt. If you want to fix the system, put term limits on all elected positions and eliminate all campaign donations. The government, state, and/or city gives you x number of dollars to spend and that is it. No contributions from corporations or individuals.
I do believe in God but I am not currently active in any Church. I grew up in a Baptist Church but spent a lot of time in Non-denominational Churches also. I do believe in Jesus as well, but I am also smart enough to know that every religion is wrong to some extent as for the most part, we all share the same belief. One God, basic laws of humanity, and guidlines about how we should live an honorable life and be generous and caring. You will never hear me tell anyone that their religion is wrong, unless it is a cult, then we will have problems getting along. LOL I try not to get into discussions about Religion or Politics as people in general get very offensive over them if you do not agree with their views.
Anyway, I used to love participating in all sports except for soccer and hockey. I do not mind watching them, but I never had an interest in soccer and never had the opportunity to play hockey. I enjoy fishing, hunting, and just being outdoors. I HATE winter and being cooped up inside because of it. I do not mind the cold as I a warm blooded man, but there is just not much to do over the entire winter season. I have not been hunting or fishing in many years but I hope to change that this year. I have always wanted to go to Alaska and fish for salmon and halibut but I do not know anyone in Alaska that I can visit who fishes and hunts. I hear that bear and moose are really good smoked. So if you live in Alaska and you hunt and fish, I would love to become your friend and visit you. :-) lol Kidding, kind of... I used to have a co-worker that took a trip to Alaska 2 times a year. One to fish and one to hunt. I think he had a friend or a cabin or something up there.
I am completely new to smoking. I just bought my smoker 3 days ago and smoked my first meat 2 days ago immediately after seasoning the smoker. I smoked boneless pork ribs as I did not want to take a chance on screwing up an expensive cut of meat the first few times I use the smoker. I don't know about you all, but 25 to 50 dollars for a cut of meat is pricey for somone on disability. I also want to learn about smoking other things like fish, vegetables, and possibly some fruits. I have some vegan friends and they would like to know if there are any meat substitutes that taste good smoked. I know nothing about vegan and have no desire to learn, but because they are my friends, I will keep my eyes open for something to smoke for them.
My first smoker is the Masterbuilt SG40, or XL depending upon where you look I guess. I was afraid the GS30 would be too small but I really loved the dual doors. I did not want to have to upgrade a year later if I really enjoyed smoking so I chose to go larger right from the start. Besides, I picked up the GS40 for the same prices as the GS30 on Amazon because they had an open box, undamaged unit for 160.00 dollars. That was about the cheapest I could find anywhere and very comparable to the GS30. This GS40 is HUGE and I am looking forwards to the day I can fill up all 5 racks with enough meats to have a party or to take to a family reunion. But I am not going to load up hundereds of dollars of meat in the thing until I am very comfortable smoking.
My first smoke went pretty good and the boneless ribs turned out moist, able to cut with a fork, and pulled apart easily without falling apart while being held up by one end. The only thing I did was to make a huge rookie mistake by not tasting my rub before I put it on the pork. I put way too much cayenne pepper in the rub so it overpowered any smoke tast from the Apple chips. So I am definitely here to learn different recipes that I can experiment with to make my own. I am a pretty good cook in the kitchen and on the grill and I love to experiment with favors. But I definietly need a starting point.
I also have plans to make modifications to my GS40 to make it an extremely efficient and good smoker. Out of the box, it works great. But I have read reviews on different sites where a few mods can improve things dramatically. My first modification was to install fireplace rope around the door to create a better seal. I also have bought porcelin tiles to glue to the top of the smoker to create a workspace that could also act as a mild warming surface. I bought some high heat fireplace caulk that I am going to use to seal the tiles. I did not know what else I could use that would keep the tiles attached and withstand the heat of the metal. I agree with all the reviews that the design of the burn pan and the water pan leave a lot to be desired. I removed the small water bowl and placed a 13"x11" black non-stick baking pan on top of the rack that holds the original water bowl in place. I plan on making some type of mounts so that I can use this or similar disposable pans. I went with the black non-stick pan because I never use it; I use the 11"x9" for baking, and the price for the disposable foil ones at the local Kroger was 2.50 to 3.00 dollars each. Way too expensive to dispose of if you ask me. I will check Sam's and Cosco to see if they have packages cheaper but the black pan worked great for my first smoke. I also used a 10.5" lodge cast iron skillet. I had a problem with this particular skillet trying to season it. I gave up and put it in the garage. So I got it out and it fits into the existing fire bowl perfectly and it holds a good amount of charcoal and wood chips. I could even put wood chunks in there probably and it would still work great.
Other modifications that I want to do is to glue some sort of safe insulation board inside the walls and floor but I am not sure what I can use both as the insulation and what adhesive would be best to withstand the temps. I want to make some sort of modificaton to be able to cold smoke with ease. I will either modify and install a removeable smoke box that puts smoke into the bottom of the smoker, or I will build a separate cold smoking box and channel the smoke from the main smoker to the cold smoker through some sort of ductwork. My smoker is outside on my concrete patio so I do not have a way to anchor a separate smoke box at a level at or above the smoker so I am trying to decide if I should move the smoker items to the large wooden shed I have so that it will be under cover and the doors to the shed would stay open the entire time the smoker is hot, then I could have more options for mounting. I could install a chimeny to the smoker and take it throught he roof of the shed and install a vent control in order to limit the amount of smoke escaping the smoker depending upon what I am smoking. This way, the shed does not fill with CO2 and become toxic to my health. I only place a few things in the shed, I have my push lawn mower and my trimmer out there but that is it. Plenty of room to make a smoker space. I am also considering building a separate building that I can dedicate to smoking and smoking accessories. Maybe include a refridge, sink, and counter space. I could insulate it for winter and summer and include a dual window heater/air conditioner unit to keep the temp controlled. But not sure I could get that done this year. I can dream big though, right?
I want to learn other possibilities for modifying my smoker so I am open to any ideas from those that have made modifications to their smokers, especially to the GS40 specifically. Like how to make a separate door on the side or back where you can open the door and slide the skillet or bowl to add more coals or wood chips to the smoker without having to open the main door and lose all the smoke and heat.
Well, that is about all for me I guess. You have some insight into who I am, what I stand for, and what I enjoy doing. I also forgot to mention that on occasion, I do enjoy playing a computer game like diablo III or the Witcher type games. I am more into RPG and D&D type games. I am not much for MMO's since I do not typically get along with other people very well due to my TBI and my PTSD.
One more thing, if you live close, feel free to contact me. I would love to get to know people close to me in person and have fun testing, experimenting, and tasting all sorts of smoked goods.... If you have a boat and need a fishing partner, especially during the week when most people are working, I would love to go in on 1/2 the expenses in order to be able to fish from a boat again. I used to have a 21 foot Ranger before I was injured and had to let it go due to the reduced income of going on Social Security. So I miss fishing from a bass boat big time.
Later and I hope to see you all around in the forums. Sorry for the book and if you read this far, you deserve a medal of some sort for your agony. lol