Author Topic: Outdoor meat smoking  (Read 427 times)

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Online Chino

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Outdoor meat smoking
« on: June 04, 2018, 08:52:45 AM »
Sorry pervs, this thread is about food.

I've been smoking meat in a cheap charcoal/wood chunk smoker for two summers now. I dig it, but I'm ready to upgrade to something larger and easier to manage the heat of. I've been thinking about buying something like this;


However, I've been offered an electric pellet smoker with an automatic feed for what seems like a great deal. The guy is moving and can't take it with him. It costs $550 new and he said I could have it for $175 if I'm willing to drive out to his property and take it.


I've never smoked with electricity or with pellets. Is there any noticeable difference in taste?


Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 09:16:09 AM »
Brian....I'd consider my brother in law somewhat of a 'master' smoker. And by that I mean the guy is 54 years old and been smoking meats for decades and he now uses an electric smoker. I know you'll hear pros and cons from both sides but I can tell you he's said it's not only simpler to control the temperature(s) you desire.....you really cannot taste any difference. I think it'd come down to preference and what your comfortable with. For $175 that'd be a tough deal to pass up. Worse case scenario you use it a few times...don't like it and could probably re-sell it for $200.

I for one would put his ribs up against any professional or lauded smoke house. They're by far the best I've ever tasted.
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 09:38:06 AM »
Thanks Gary. Good to know. Do you know if he uses pellets as well?

Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 09:46:50 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2018, 09:50:07 AM »
Is it the same fuel used in the home pellet fuel heaters?  If so, in my experience it can be expensive, but it can be pretty consistent in terms of burn and heat produced.  My buddy uses one to heat his house and he and I think three neighbors go in on a bulk shipment once a year and stage it.  Cuts the cost dramatically (certainly enough to overcome the hassle).

Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 09:54:07 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 09:55:07 AM »
Is it the same fuel used in the home pellet fuel heaters?  If so, in my experience it can be expensive, but it can be pretty consistent in terms of burn and heat produced.  My buddy uses one to heat his house and he and I think three neighbors go in on a bulk shipment once a year and stage it.  Cuts the cost dramatically (certainly enough to overcome the hassle).

They appear to look the same, but I'm not sure. I've never considered buying an electric/pellet smoker until receiving this offer.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 10:05:20 AM »
Home Depot sells thirty different kinds of 20% bags for ~$20. The ease of using different types of wood would be appealing, but I have no freaking clue how many pounds you'd use smoking for a day. I've seen various reports suggesting something like 1lb/hr. Also, the heating pellets are oak and can be used for cooking. They're much cheaper if you don't mind cooking with oak.

Interesting topic. I honestly had no idea wood pellets for smoking or heating were even a thing.
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Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 10:08:16 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

I've texted my bro in law to see if he used the pellets....I'm thinking he does because the whole concept of the electric smoking is you load up the pellets....choose your temp and then avoid having to 'baby' it all day like you described. To EB's point.....there are so many different 'flavored' pellets and what not out there it's tough to discern cost.

But having listened to him and my other brother in laws (who both are smokers) talk.....he loves the fact it's just not as difficult to regulate temperature.
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2018, 10:08:35 AM »
Home Depot sells thirty different kinds of 20% bags for ~$20. The ease of using different types of wood would be appealing, but I have no freaking clue how many pounds you'd use smoking for a day. I've seen various reports suggesting something like 1lb/hr. Also, the heating pellets are oak and can be used for cooking. They're much cheaper if you don't mind cooking with oak.

Interesting topic. I honestly had no idea wood pellets for smoking or heating were even a thing.

I was thinking about that too. You could easily make different combinations of flavors; 10% hickory, 30% apple, and 60% mesquite all accurately measured out.

Offline Harmony

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2018, 10:40:25 AM »
We have a pellet grill but don't do much smoking TBH.  I love it for roasting and grilling.  On a larger cut of meat, I will occasionally add a smoke portion to the cook time, but no way would I consider myself a smoked meat expert.  But we do grill at least 1-2x/week.  FWIW, when on the smoke cycle the pellets drop much more slowly.  One 20 lb bag probably gets us through 4-6 weeks, but that is cooking at much higher temps.

We have tried many types of the flavored pellets and honestly I can't tell much difference in taste.  Maybe when used for smoking, it is more of a factor.  Also look around your local BBQ shops for off-brand pellets.  I have a source that is half the cost of what they sell at HD - same selection of flavors.

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2018, 08:43:03 PM »
I personally have never used one, all my smoking has been on old school smokers with the side firebox. Tastewise I don't see an issue, and as for temp control and whatnot, its pretty easy to maintain temp no matter what you're using, just takes a little TLC. The thing that I'd be worried about is mechanical breakdown, something that's never an issue with the old school types, but then again I have zero experience with them.


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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 07:47:40 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

I've texted my bro in law to see if he used the pellets....I'm thinking he does because the whole concept of the electric smoking is you load up the pellets....choose your temp and then avoid having to 'baby' it all day like you described. To EB's point.....there are so many different 'flavored' pellets and what not out there it's tough to discern cost.

But having listened to him and my other brother in laws (who both are smokers) talk.....he loves the fact it's just not as difficult to regulate temperature.

Brother ever get back to you by any chance?

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 08:10:37 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

I've texted my bro in law to see if he used the pellets....I'm thinking he does because the whole concept of the electric smoking is you load up the pellets....choose your temp and then avoid having to 'baby' it all day like you described. To EB's point.....there are so many different 'flavored' pellets and what not out there it's tough to discern cost.

But having listened to him and my other brother in laws (who both are smokers) talk.....he loves the fact it's just not as difficult to regulate temperature.

Brother ever get back to you by any chance?

He did. He uses the chips and not the pellets then he texted me this..... "sorry i didn't get back to you. was in a golf tourny all day. On mine I just set the digital timer and temperature and that's all"   I told him thanks then he texted  "I've heard the Traeger smoker grill is a good one. It's pretty expensive though, around $300-900 depending on what size you get. It's a pellet smoker"
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2018, 08:14:59 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

I've texted my bro in law to see if he used the pellets....I'm thinking he does because the whole concept of the electric smoking is you load up the pellets....choose your temp and then avoid having to 'baby' it all day like you described. To EB's point.....there are so many different 'flavored' pellets and what not out there it's tough to discern cost.

But having listened to him and my other brother in laws (who both are smokers) talk.....he loves the fact it's just not as difficult to regulate temperature.

Brother ever get back to you by any chance?

He did. He uses the chips and not the pellets then he texted me this..... "sorry i didn't get back to you. was in a golf tourny all day. On mine I just set the digital timer and temperature and that's all"   I told him thanks then he texted  "I've heard the Traeger smoker grill is a good one. It's pretty expensive though, around $300-900 depending on what size you get. It's a pellet smoker"

Much appreciated, Gary. I've seen that Traeger name all over the place. They seem pretty reputable.

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2018, 08:19:07 AM »
I can certainly see the pros and cons. Steady, reliable temperature would be a big plus. Not sure I'd want to be limited to expensive pellet fuel, though.

This is what I'm most interested in at this point. Even more so than pellet cost. My biggest issue at the moment is not only holding a steady temperature, but sustaining it for more than 20 without it dying out or flaring up. Like I said, my current smoke was cheap and I got it just to see if I'd like the hobby. The airflow in it is terrible and I've had to make a few modifications so it could breathe a little more. I can't just let it run. I have to constantly baby sit the thing and check its temps every 15 minutes.

I've texted my bro in law to see if he used the pellets....I'm thinking he does because the whole concept of the electric smoking is you load up the pellets....choose your temp and then avoid having to 'baby' it all day like you described. To EB's point.....there are so many different 'flavored' pellets and what not out there it's tough to discern cost.

But having listened to him and my other brother in laws (who both are smokers) talk.....he loves the fact it's just not as difficult to regulate temperature.

Brother ever get back to you by any chance?

He did. He uses the chips and not the pellets then he texted me this..... "sorry i didn't get back to you. was in a golf tourny all day. On mine I just set the digital timer and temperature and that's all"   I told him thanks then he texted  "I've heard the Traeger smoker grill is a good one. It's pretty expensive though, around $300-900 depending on what size you get. It's a pellet smoker"

Much appreciated, Gary. I've seen that Traeger name all over the place. They seem pretty reputable.

I asked him which one he uses and he sent me this





He said his is the 40" model
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Offline Tick

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2018, 08:58:51 AM »
I'm old school like RJ. Just a big barrel with a small side barrel. I've been using the one I currently have for 12 years. It works fine but I would jump all over that deal for 175.00
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2018, 09:02:45 AM »
I'm old school like RJ. Just a big barrel with a small side barrel. I've been using the one I currently have for 12 years. It works fine but I would jump all over that deal for 175.00

I use something similar to this. It works okay, but it has airflow issues and the coals end up smothering themselves in no time. I struggle to get it above 230F, even on the hottest of days. I use it primary to smoke jerky at this point since it's too unpredictable to do anything else.



I have two friends that do the barrel method, and I've never complained with any of their stuff. If it wasn't for the price tag on this thing, I'd be looking at a charcoal one for sure.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2018, 11:51:34 AM »
Smoked meat is so incredible
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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 07:34:09 AM »
Bought my pellet smoker last week and have been smoking up a storm. This thing is infinitely easier than my charcoal smoker. Flavor was awesome given how 'set it and forget it' it was. I think I'm pretty sold on using pellets.




My new one is on the right. Buddy's offset charcoal smoker is tool the left.


Smoked some of the giblets for the dogs




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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2018, 07:59:57 AM »
Very Cool!  :tup    I think once we get our house sold and settled in to the next place I may begin to delve into the world of 'smoking'. There's no denying how good the food tastes and then I wouldn't have to rely on my bro in laws for good ribs  :lol
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2018, 10:13:31 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

And the pork belly is an interesting idea. Nobody does that down here.
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Offline Podaar

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2018, 10:18:09 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

It's a pellet tube smoker. You fill it with smoking pellets. Usually you use those with gas or charcoal grills to add pellet smoke to the process.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2018, 10:36:54 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

It's a pellet tube smoker. You fill it with smoking pellets. Usually you use those with gas or charcoal grills to add pellet smoke to the process.
So that's secondary to the normal heat/smoke from the GMG?
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2018, 10:46:35 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

It's a pellet tube smoker. You fill it with smoking pellets. Usually you use those with gas or charcoal grills to add pellet smoke to the process.
So that's secondary to the normal heat/smoke from the GMG?

Secondary smoke, correct. They give off virtually no heat. A lot of guys will use those in a closed grill with no heat source to cold smoke different types of cheeses without melting them.

Also, for some reason I always envisioned Texas to be all about pork and its belly.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2018, 11:08:26 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

It's a pellet tube smoker. You fill it with smoking pellets. Usually you use those with gas or charcoal grills to add pellet smoke to the process.
So that's secondary to the normal heat/smoke from the GMG?

Secondary smoke, correct. They give off virtually no heat. A lot of guys will use those in a closed grill with no heat source to cold smoke different types of cheeses without melting them.

Also, for some reason I always envisioned Texas to be all about pork and its belly.
How do you heat the pellets in the tube?

And Texas is beef country. Brisket is king. You mostly see pork down here as ribs and sausage (whole lot of German settlers down in the Hill Country).
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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2018, 11:11:30 AM »
What's the story with that hexagonal bar?

It's a pellet tube smoker. You fill it with smoking pellets. Usually you use those with gas or charcoal grills to add pellet smoke to the process.
So that's secondary to the normal heat/smoke from the GMG?

Secondary smoke, correct. They give off virtually no heat. A lot of guys will use those in a closed grill with no heat source to cold smoke different types of cheeses without melting them.

Also, for some reason I always envisioned Texas to be all about pork and its belly.
How do you heat the pellets in the tube?

And Texas is beef country. Brisket is king. You mostly see pork down here as ribs and sausage (whole lot of German settlers down in the Hill Country).

The tube has one end open and you just take a propane torch to it for about 30 seconds. Stand it up on the closed end for about 5 minutes and let it burn like a big candle. After 5 minutes is up, just blow the flame out and let lay it on its side in your grill. It just smolders until the pellets are gone. I'm getting about 4 hours of smoke per tube.

I can't wait to try a brisket. I've never made one before.

Offline Tick

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2018, 11:21:03 AM »
Nice pics!

I did a first yesterday. I have never cooked a duck before so I smoked one!

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Offline El Barto

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2018, 11:52:09 AM »
I can't wait to try a brisket. I've never made one before.
It's really an art form. Texas is inundated with pretty good brisket. When you get great brisket it's really magical, though. The real masters down here are using something called the Texas Crutch. You might look into it.


Nice pics!

I did a first yesterday. I have never cooked a duck before so I smoked one!
And how was it?
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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2018, 11:57:35 AM »


Nice pics!

I did a first yesterday. I have never cooked a duck before so I smoked one!
And how was it?

It was excellent! I just am not on board with cooking it medium rare like chefs do. I wanted it more the temp I make poultry. That's more to my liking.
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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2018, 05:49:48 PM »
It was excellent! I just am not on board with cooking it medium rare like chefs do. I wanted it more the temp I make poultry. That's more to my liking.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooo.................................



 I kid, usually with smoked duck we'll go all the way. I had a recipe I used to do years ago where instead of wood we used a smoke mix of rice kernals, lemongrass, ginger, limes, and a hearty black tea. Shit was hella dope dude. Next time maybe smoke just the legs/thighs, and sear the breast MR, and do a nice two way presentation. I really can't overstate the epicness of a properly seared medium rare duck, it's a divine experience.
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Offline Tick

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2018, 03:28:41 PM »
It was excellent! I just am not on board with cooking it medium rare like chefs do. I wanted it more the temp I make poultry. That's more to my liking.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooo.................................



 I kid, usually with smoked duck we'll go all the way. I had a recipe I used to do years ago where instead of wood we used a smoke mix of rice kernals, lemongrass, ginger, limes, and a hearty black tea. Shit was hella dope dude. Next time maybe smoke just the legs/thighs, and sear the breast MR, and do a nice two way presentation. I really can't overstate the epicness of a properly seared medium rare duck, it's a divine experience.
I just grew up eating duck a different way. I knew you would school me on that post!  :lol
I will only say it was juicy and delicious. Not dry.
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Online Chino

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2018, 09:46:23 AM »
I have enough meat for the next two weeks. This week was my first attempt as using injectors with my meat. I'm blown away by the difference it makes.



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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2018, 09:54:12 AM »
Note to self:

Stay the hell out of this thread when hungry.
I just don't understand what they were trying to achieve with any part of the song, either individually or as a whole. You know what? It's the Platypus of Dream Theater songs. That bill doesn't go with that tail, or that strange little furry body, or those webbed feet, and oh god why does it have venomous spurs!? And then you find out it lays eggs too. The difference is that the Platypus is somehow functional despite being a crazy mishmash or leftover animal pieces

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Offline Stadler

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Re: Outdoor meat smoking
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2018, 03:48:51 PM »
This is also not the thread for a person with the sense of humor of a twelve-year old boy.