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Messages - MDixon

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The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 23, 2013, 10:29:48 PM »
A disposal should never be used on a septic system and grease should not be put down the drain of any septic system. It's not so much they will fill the tank, it is the solids could be pushed into the leachfield and blind the soil surface to the point the system would not operate and maintenace would have to be required (read as a new leachfield installed). (At one time I was what you might call an expert on septic systems.)

As far as a disposal in the kitchen the waste should as much as possible be placed in the refuse. Grease as well. We tend to use it when things spill over in the sink and then run it to be sure the particulates are as small as possible before they enter the sewer system. My wife tends to put more down the disposal than I do. Something one should avoid in the disposal is egg shells, they really don't break down in the long run.

With all that in mind, I do like having them to be sure I never clog my drains in the kitchen with inadvertent waste entering the drain, but Martin is correct, do not use them as the main place to discard kitchen waste. (Yeah, in a previous life I designed WWTPs too.)

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Phil, what I am talking about is to the right of the deck door and left of the cabinet. My guess would be a lightswitch.

The compost bucket can become a stinky thing. Think about that before you leave a hole in the countertop, since you will have to manage that waste and more than a few days in the compost pot can become nasty. You probably already compost and know that. I had a plan to put in a compost area in our kitchen, but ditched it. We don't generate enough compost waste since I am so rarely home until the weekend.

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 23, 2013, 12:11:08 PM »
If it were mine I would probably either move the cooktop and hood over or put the fridge there, or beside the sink as you mentioned. The sink side is nice because if you have groceries you can plop them on the island and go to the new pantry closet or to the fridge. Of course you can do the same with it on the other side of the range.

Not sure I understand what you mean here?

I would think about either shifting the cooktop to the left or move the fridge there. The problem with the fridge there is now the fridge will become a focal point.

There is something right beside your panty cabinet on the wall. It may be an outlet or a switch or a piece of molding, but there is something.

I'd put a flush mount in your ceiling medallion. Or a fixture coming out of it with lights which could be positioned to illuminate the island.

Pot racks look neat, but tend to block views and will become the focal point. I have ok pots, but really don't want to put them on display.

Another neat thing we did was to not have a knife block, we have a knife drawer with inserts. It has worked out awesome. I put my high end knives to the left, our crap knives in the middle and our decent knives to the right.

48" of space is quite a bit. We have 3' on one side and a little less on the other, but I did not secure our island to the floor so if I need to move it over I can. Our island is 3' x 6' in the cabinets.

I thought about concrete countertops, but they are not especially cheap when you consider everything. Granite has come down in price in the US to the point it hardly makes sense to do any other surface so long as you pick a lower cost rock. I wanted Quartz and it was more than granite. I also wanted Cherry cabinets and they were so expensive I almost fell over. We splurged on the finish of the island. Painted and antiqued was quite a bit more than stained.

Since you have no outlets you might consider putting in plugmold. You could do that on two walls undercabinet for an affordable cost. In our kitchen there was so much required it wasn't practical. To cut the plugmold to length you can take out the wiring and then use a wood chop saw if you have a good blade. Rewiring the plugmold is the most irritating task ever. If I was an electrician and a homeowner asked me for it I would charge out the wazoo because of how difficult it is to handle.

We did drawers on one large cabinet in the island for pots and pand, but have three with a fixed shelf and a roll out shelf at the bottom. Drawers would not hold things like a mixer and blender upright.

We also did every drawer and door with a soft close. The doors are simple and you can do them yourself, although I let our guy install them. The drawers are a mechanism and you will probably have to buy your cabinets with them.

What really will dress up the look is molding and light rail as well as a side panel on any exposed side surface. I don't know how you do cabinets in France, but I'd suggest looking at several places from custom to big box and see what the options are for them. We used a local company and they sold cabinets made in TX, and then they contracted our installer as part of the price. The nice part about that is I did not have to think about all the moldings. We went back and forth on design and features and then our installer helped with a few changes on the fly.

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 22, 2013, 10:12:58 PM »
Questions in my mind:
What are you keeping?
Are you tied to the range staying in the corner? (Can the hood be rerouted?)
How are you planning to repair the floor where the half wall is located?
What is your lighting plan? (I currently only see lights in the hood.)
What is on the wall right beside the pantry cabinet?
How do/would guests most often enter the kitchen?

- -

If it were mine I would probably either move the cooktop and hood over or put the fridge there, or beside the sink as you mentioned. The sink side is nice because if you have groceries you can plop them on the island and go to the new pantry closet or to the fridge. Of course you can do the same with it on the other side of the range.

Your space just seems to me to be asking for an island on wheels which could be locked. I don't know your cabinet style idea, but that's just what I see.

The current focal point is the half wall. IMO it should be the cooktop or that window or the island. I think I would float and extra piece of countertop above the radiator and may some additional cabinetry beside the door.

A square corner on the island is going to feel a little funky with a corner stove. You might want to match that angle on the island or at least sketch it out to be sure.

If you get a good idea, mock it up with some cardboard, posterboard, sheets, whatever and then you can decide if it will work and how it will look.

Your oven and cooktop can probably be separated, you might think about a lazy susan under the cooktop. We got a super susan in our corner and it is divine.

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 22, 2013, 04:55:30 PM »
I actually got the Kenmore because it was the lowest priced convection microwave and I could get a trim kit for it. It was like pulling teeth to get information about microwaves which are built in and you need that in order to get the right cabinet. In the end the information I was given was wrong and so the microwave cabinet was bumped out by our cabinet installer so we could cut out the back and make the back of the microwave fit. It wasn't off by much, but it was off.

- -

another thought, my cabinet installer used special screws to fasten the cabinet to the wall. Most use drywall screws. If you are having the work done by someone else, be sure they are using good quality screws and not drywall screws for the installation of the cabinets. Our guy was a pure pro. It took him three 12 hour days to put in our cabinets and I have found little to nothing wrong with his work.

I believe he used screws similar to these:

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 22, 2013, 04:33:54 PM »
Our 6 burner is actually a 7 burner and it is not a commercial grade. It is a dual fuel Bertazzoni from Italy and has some really cool features. I looked up the burners:
(3) 6500 Btu/h
(1) 11000 Btu/h
Dual Wok
(1) 18000 Btu/h (this one has an inner ring and an outer ring)
(1) 3400 Btu/h

My wife likes to hone in on the 11K burner. I typically use one of the 6.5K or the inner or outer of the dual wok. The Aux is great for simmering something. In truth we probably never use more than 4 at a time even with multiple sauces or dishes.

I'd think about that pot filler. They are not inexpensive and really are not needed.

If you have a spice cabinet it is actually better to keep it away from the stove/oven and lower is better than higher. We had a nice little space next to the sink which worked out stellar.

I should mention I had to get a low profile disposal for the inverted sink base and by the time I figured out my measurements I only had about an inch to play with since I was using the existing drain location. There is a ton to figure out when you are doing it yourself.

Another nice thing is I got rid of the wall switches for the disposal and put in air switches. You can see one of them in this window/sink photo:

 - -

Joe Sr. - the convection microwave we ended up with is a Kenmore Elite (Sears) and I got an extended warranty (something I never do). They are a problematic item for sure and the reviews for most suck. Ours is great, but we really only use the oven part for frozen pizza.

- -

Alewyfe - if you ever decide to get rid of your undercabinet and don't care about them being dimmable, look at Inspired LED

I did uplighting with normal bright, undercabinet with super bright and then lit our bar sink with ultra bright. Dimming them makes it expensive because you need a transformer and a dimmer switch. I looks like now he has some cheaper options. For the single ultra bright I got a cheap transformer from overseas and a rotary dimmer which is hidden. The undercabinet and uplighting each have a dimmable transformer and each has it's own dimmer. That alone added $200 to the cost of the lights! Ouchy!

The Pub / Re: Kitchen re-do
« on: July 22, 2013, 02:16:33 PM »
I remodeled my kitchen about two years ago. We had been wanting to do it for about 10 years. I did everything except the cabinets and countertop. There is very little I dislike about our kitchen

The island is two bookcases (one with doors), one deep cabinet and one drawer cabinet. They were put together and the toe kick is back about 9" with feet on the corners which makes it look like a piece of furniture.

I removed the double door pantry and we put in a prep sink and moved the dishwasher to that side. I wanted double ovens, but could not make that work so I put in a convection microwave and upgraded to a 36" 6 burner dual fuel stove. When I ripped out the pantry I bumped out the wall so the fridge could recess as viewed from the family room. One of these days we will get a stainless fridge.

The flooring is hickory. I love it, but might opt for something water could not hurt if I did it again. Since we have upgraded we had the freezer defrost and have a few boards which slightly cupped and I broke a bottle of wine. Neither has caused damage, but a flooring surface which can take impact and water would be ideal.

Oh, the island cabinet is maple with an antiqued black finish and the granite is peacock green (although it appears more black). The other cabinets are parawood (rubber tree) which looks awful until it is stained and they stained it at the cabinet company. The granite on the perimeter is most likely santa cecila. Pulls other than standard will cost you a buttload. Nice thing is you only cry once. The pulls on the island are a basket weave black "football", the ones on perimiter cabinets are a solid "football" with a pewter finish, or else they are made of pewter, I forget.

If I had not done the lion's share of the work myself it would have doubled the cost and the cost was not exactly cheap. My undercabinet and uplighting is dimmable LED from Inspired LED. You really don't want to know how much that cost to have the ability to dim the lights!

Some of the nicest features are things you do not notice. Pot filler off the sink (useless, but fun), inverted sink base for the main sink (drawer at the bottom), spice rack to the left of the sink, pull out trash to the left of the stove. In the base cabinets I had them put the lower shelf as a pull out and in two of them I had them cut back the upper shelf so I could put tall items like a blender or mixer at the front of the pull out. On the fridge size the cabinets go to the ceiling which is awesome for storing things you don't routinely use. To the left of the fridge and right of the prep sink is a pantry cabinet and I had all the shelves put in as pull out. The microwave is to the right of the fridge and to the right of that is an angled cabinet where I wired an outlet into so we can charge cell phones. The island required an outlet by US code and I put in a plugmold strip on the top interior of the bookcase end. That way I did not have to mess up any of my exterior faces on the island. I wanted to do all my outlets as plugmold, but it was far too expensive.

The fridge in the before photos is in almost the exact same spot as it is in the after. I also changed out the window above the main sink and put in a larger window. I set it at a height so the countertop is the window sill.


New Layout (from cabinet company)

After (does not have travertine tile backsplash installed in photos and undercabinet wiring was incomplete)

Only good shot I could locate of the fridge wall was a construction photo

Events / Re: Question about competition judging
« on: July 18, 2013, 06:56:35 PM »
I try to tell anyone I judge with if they don't detect what I do that is fine. We all perceive things at different threshold levels and taste is based upon experience. If you have never had or experienced something you will have no taste or smell memory of it.

Experienced judges should not be pressuring anyone to do anything but judge at a rapid pace.

All Things Food / Re: Big Green Egg
« on: July 12, 2013, 07:45:15 PM »
I used a digital for the smoker temp and a digital wireless for the meat temp. I forget the brands, I know the one used for the smoker temp is Pyrex brand, but most likely a Polder. I'm pretty sure the wireless is a Maverick.

The shrink wrap weight of the butt was 7lb, but I had it in the deep freeze for awhile. I'll bet I lost at least a pound of water weight by the time she thawed out. Keep in mind the temp also climbed up to 240F or so at one point. I'm not sure how long. It took some time to bring it back down to where I wanted it. That is one drawback IMO you cannot quickly lower the heat so you have to be careful to not let it get too hot.

All Things Food / Re: DIY Bacon
« on: July 12, 2013, 06:15:35 PM »
I gotta give makin bacon a whirl!

All Things Food / Re: Big Green Egg
« on: July 12, 2013, 06:13:13 PM »
So I have longed forever for a Komodo Kamado, but the price of admission has been far too steep for me to take the plunge.

Anyway I was in a Gander Mountain recently and noticed a CharGriller Kamado for around 3 bills and kept looking at it. It is a metal Kamado with insulated walls. The lid felt light and it appeared a bit like a gimmick so I kept on trucking. Later I checked the reviews and was surprised by how positive they were. There were some air gap issues, but later reviews indicated this thing was legit.

Fast forward to a Lowe's flyer and a $299 price tag. I had a $25 off so I ordered one online and had it shipped to my local store. The total weight is about 97 pounds and I put it together in a half hour to 45 minutes. The first thing you do is season the grate and so I fired up the beast with a few pounds of charcoal and burned it at 400-500F for over 3 hours. I was amazed it held the heat that well. I did two mods immediately, one was to get a Weber grate and the other was a Weber pizza stone. These are used as a heat shield above the firebox and work darn well for $25 worth of mods.

Next test was a 7 lb butt. I put around 8 to 10 lb of charcoal and lit it from one side. Before long I dialed in the heat around 220-230F and it got as high as 245F one time. The time I had in mind was about 7 hours and in that time I got to 195F and then closed the dampers. Unfortunately I should have pushed it to 200F before stopping the show. The butt reached 195F and held there and I would have liked it to climbed a few degrees higher. Now worries, when I opened the grill the butt was a thing of beauty so I wrapped it in foil and stuck it back on to just stay warm. For a 7 hour smoke I probably used 3 to 4lbs of the charcoal. I believe had I used all the charcoal in the firebox it could have went 15 to 18 hours.

I need to taco it out a bit more, but thus far I'm starting to believe this may have been one of the best purchases I've made in awhile.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Finals Scorecards
« on: July 09, 2013, 08:51:43 PM »
The scoresheets were not my favorite.  I found them difficult to provide decent feedback, so by the end I was writing on them anyway.  They definitely did not speed up judging, we were still running 15 minutes or so a beer.

Sounds like your group was unfamiliar with the score sheet or something else is wrong. An experienced judge should be able to fill out a traditional score sheet in an average of 10 min. If people are taking longer they need to work on their speed. The tick sheet is definitely faster as Denny noted. Now three people on a team ALWAYS is slower than just having two and if you are changing categories you may need to review the guidelines which takes time.

I did 11 beers in both rounds and in the afternoon had to completely fill in the cider score sheets. In the morning we were clipping along about 7 or 8 min per beer and also took some breaks and talked some smack. In the afternoon probably a similar pace, but were filling in the sheets cider sheets completely.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 08, 2013, 02:01:28 PM »

As a data point, I hand delivered my entries (assistant organizer, so I just walked them to the cooler) in KC. I entered 4 beers and advanced 2. 50%, not bad right? Anyway, I have a "clone" of Boulevard's Saison-Brett, a beer you likely cannot get outside of the Midwest. I enter it in 16E with the description, "Saison with dregs from Boulevard's Saison-Brett". In the Midwest, it cleans up in competition. At a recent comp, Stan H. commented something to the effect of "Excellent beer, the brewers at Boulevard would be happy to know that this is how their beers are being used." It placed first at the KC NHC Regional over 68 entries in Belgian & French.

It got a 30 in Philly. It averages a 40.3 in the comps it's been to here in the Midwest.

I have no idea if the judges in Philly were all from different areas or the same area who evaluated your beer. We get the Boulevard brews in NC, but I don't know if we get that one, I will have to look for it. As you know any 16E or 23 category is a crapshoot. If the judges don't have knowledge of the beers in 16E then the beer just won't take high marks. I seem to recall I did an Oerbier clone once upon a time. At that time most of the people in our area had probably never tasted the beer. It scored well, but not as well as it should have. Doesn't matter, I drank it and enjoyed it immensely.

Handling could be an issue with certain beers, but I've judged at several NHCs and the entries as a whole never shine bright. There are always standouts, but the vast majority just aren't better than average. In the final round they should be better than average!

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 07, 2013, 07:32:42 PM »
What is the point of raising the lower limit to 35 if scoring is arbitrary and if time can degrade entries?

What if a set of judges scores higher than everyone around them, and they're judging an IIPA. You will the score meet the criteria provided, but when the brewer doesn't rebrew it, you're still drinking a 4 month old IIPA at the final round of NHC.

There was a smiley after the time statement for a reason, it was a cider and it was awful as was the second bottle. Cider is generally not something which goes south in a short period of time.

IME a 4 month old IIPA should not be past it's prime unless it is marketed by Stone.

Sure a 35 might be arbitrary for a particular judge set. In an ideal world in the first round each judge team would have a BJCP judge on the panel, but often that judge may not be the most experienced and I typically find new judges either score extremely low or on the high end. I still feel moving the bar up would help alleviate having entries show up with no business in the final round.

At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 05, 2013, 02:48:17 PM »
I'm good with 3 entries advance if all go above 35. It may force judges to smack a finger to decide if the 34 moves up to a 35, but it should keep me from having to choke down and evaluate a beer which is awful even when you pull another bottle to double check. I suspect time was not on the entrant's side. ;)

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 05, 2013, 12:47:28 PM »
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the AHA GC Competition Subcommittee has put together a survey to gather AHA members' feedback on their priorities for the National Homebrew Competition, which will help in deciding what steps we will take for future competitions.

My suggestion is only the top two entries from each region move to the big show. (I'd actually suggest it be only one, but the natives might go crazy.) The problem as I see it is from each region you get one good to great entry, a lesser and a lesser. So one worth making the trip and two which really should have stayed back on the bench. I judged two flights of 11 and had 3 in one flight worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS and only 2 in the other worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS.

If the entries were cut by that third place entry in each region it would alleviate having to handle 1/3 of the entries which is not just a handful of bottles.

I know some would contend X region or Y region makes better beer and all three should advance, but sitting at the final round judging table and giving a low score is not how I really want to spend my time. I don't mind assisting a brewer with a flawed brew in making better beer, but I shouldn't have to detail that at the final round of judging. My $0.02.

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