How To Use Kettle Grill To Smoke Food


Grilling in the backyard with a kettle grill will always have a special flavor that you just can’t get using an electric or gas grill. Typically, you’ll have plenty of smoky flavors just by adding a bit of hickory or applewood sticks to your charcoal. When it comes to smoking meat using traditional and untraditional methods, you can still get that smoked flavor using a few nifty tricks you might not have heard about.

What Makes A Kettle Grill Work As A Smoker?

Man preparing kettle grill work as a smoker

Everybody knows that a kettle grill is perfectly shaped to circulate heat which is perfect for cooking burgers and various foods on the grill. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a smoke flavor since charcoal burns a lot cleaner than wood does. Charcoal also burns at such a high temperature that it makes sense to open the airflow vents to control cooking temperatures if you intend to do any smoking within your grill.

Create a Direct and Indirect Cooking Zone

This is why you’ll need to add wood chips that are sometimes soaked beforehand so the wood itself lasts longer and gives off low levels of smoke as it burns on top of hot coals. To make a kettle grill work as a smoker, you also need to separate the grilling space into two sections. One section is going to be the direct heat and the opposite side is reserved as the indirect cooking side.

This makes it possible to slow cook food that isn’t sitting right over a heat source and will allow you to smoke food for longer periods while food is being cooked. On the opposite side of your grill, you also need to add a shallow container that will act as a container for catching food drips but also holds a small amount of water so your kettle grill isn’t too dry. As the water gets warm from the heat, it slowly evaporates water, keeping humidity balanced. You could pick up a device called a Slow ‘N Sear which is a pan you can place in your kettle grill which will partition your grill perfectly and it makes a great gift idea for anyone who loves to grill.

What If You Don’t Have A Kettle Grill?

Smoke tube On Grill

It’s not always a big problem if you don’t have a kettle grill or a standard backyard grill for that matter. If you don’t BBQ that much, you’re likely one of a growing number of people who don’t own one of these items. With the growing trend toward ordering food from online restaurants, it’s often a choice of what seems more convenient. That doesn’t mean some actually like cooking and getting that home-cooked BBQ flavor!

Generating Smoke

If you do own a kettle grill or covered grill, you can use a method that is getting pretty popular among BBQ enthusiasts. It’s so simple and also a practical way for most folks to get a smoky flavor while they cook on their grill. This item is called a smoke tube and usually looks like a weird-looking cheese grater. It’s a metal tube with small holes all over the surface so smoke can come out as wood pellets slowly burn.

These smoke tubes also come in a variety of shapes so they fit right on top of your grill surface. Even if you’ve cooked something in your kitchen oven, you can use a smoke tube inside an outdoor grill and cold smoke meals in less than 10-15 minutes but can allow for periods to last up to 6 hours or more. This is especially handy when you want to smoke cheese you’ve bought or sausages that you’ve made recently.

The best part is that a smoke tube will even work in a standard gas grill so those smoke flavors are part of your BBQ experience. If you’ve ordered food online that doesn’t have the right amount of smoky taste you enjoy so much, it can also be smoked just as easily with a smoker tube for a few minutes -or longer… If you don’t have a kettle grill you can modify an outdoor pizza oven or bread oven so it works as a smoker.

As long as you can place your food inside an area where it can be smoked for a short time, this won’t be an issue. The best place to do any smoking is always going to be on your BBQ grill as long as there’s some kind of lid that can cover the top so you don’t lose all that flavorful smoke.

How Roofing Companies Scam You


After my initial experience with getting scammed, I happened to have some across-the-fence chat with our next-door neighbor Susan. She had noticed that I had two roofers doing repairs on our roof and made an off-hand comment I didn’t expect to hear at all. She just blurted out “Oh- did those Storm Chasers’ hoodwink ya?”

Well- honestly at that point I was kind of confused and told her what happened and she didn’t seem at all surprised with what happened and started to tell me even more. Since we’re new to this neighborhood we’ve only had our home for 3 years now. Our next-door neighbor has been living in her home for more than 30 years.

She told me all sorts of things that I’ve decided to add to my personal roofing experience blog. The first issue she brought up was her Storm Chaser story. It was during the rainy season (which is the worst in July out here in Arizona), and that’s when she started getting hit with pamphlets in her mailbox every day.

She just looked at these and didn’t think much about it. But every day there was another new offer from several roofing companies offering emergency service. She said that this is how they get in your head. Getting all those flyers is kinda like brainwashing since they know you’re going to be thinking about the rain and what would happen- if…

Sneak Boy Scout tricks

man repairing roof

Then- that’s when it happened. She was out front doing some trimming on her hedges and a very nice guy driving by slowed down to get her attention. He was just driving by and happened to notice there was something that looked a bit off about her roof. And to her surprise, he had seen these signs before, since he was also a professional roofer.

He said that with all the rain they’re getting, he was sure that she probably wouldn’t see any signs inside her home or water stains on the ceiling. But he was sure it would get worse if it wasn’t fixed right away. Then he started to say that he had just finished a job up the road, and had some leftover supplies. Susan then said- I should have trusted my gut until I glanced over to look at the spot on the roof this guy was talking about.

Used-car salesmen pressure

man sitting on car with loud speaker

It was just a dark spot up on the second-floor dormer along the top edge. She wasn’t sure if it was really damage or just a soggy leaf bunched up against the asphalt shingles. But this guy was persistent in telling her that it might get worse by the next storm, but for a couple hundred, he could fix it right away since the previous job had already paid for the supplies. He said it was just a patch-up repair that she was paying for -so she didn’t need a receipt.

She could see that he didn’t have any company name on his car but there was a ladder and tools in the back of the truck he drove, and it did look like he had leftover supplies. Susan asked him why he didn’t have and company name on his truck and he said- oh, I was finished with the job and the sign is magnetic, so I put it in the backseat. Then he said he always does this and showed her the sign which was in the back seat.

It had all the company info and license number, so this seemed legit. Then he said that this is his own vehicle and not a company truck, so he takes the sign off when he finishes for the day. At that point, everything seemed fine and he was even grabbing his ladder. Oh what the heck she said, and let him make the repair. It didn’t take long at all and she paid him cash on the spot.

Mystery damages

contractor replacing damaged shingle

He then showed her a portion of shingle that did look pretty damaged, but she wasn’t sure. He assured her it would only have gotten worse and she’s lucky he got it in time. After that, he had to leave since he said he needed to get home to the wife and kids and drove off. She looked at the part where he said her roof needed repair and it looked fine, but then- the next day it rained pretty hard and that’s when she immediately saw there was water leaking.

No big surprise that it was in the bedroom where the dormer window was and made a big mess all down the wall. Who knows how much damage there was now? Then she called the roof repair company since she remembered the sign he showed her. She was furious when she talked to them and told them how one of their guys made a repair that got even worse.

She told them what happened, mentioning how one of their repair guys finished a job right up on her street and came just in time to fix her roof using leftover materials. That’s when she was even more shocked to find out they didn’t have any employees working in her area on that day. But then she mentioned the company’s magnetic sign and they then told her something that made her turn white.

The Storm Chasers

professional guy doing roofing work

They said that one of their company trucks did report having a sign missing and just thought it was some kid’s prank. But it sounds like she got scammed by someone posing as one of their contractors. Then she found out that their employees never offer services using leftover materials or take cash without giving a receipt. The roofing company genuinely sounded concerned that she was cheated and offered to fix her roof with a discount price.

Well, Susan was very happy to hear this and the discounted price did sound very attractive. So they arranged for a contractor to come and take a look to get a better idea of the damage she described. This time a very official truck arrived and the repairman wore a nametag on their company shirt complete with the company name. And they looked at the damage inside and out but this time the repair guy had bad news.

He said whatever the previous scammer did was more damaging because of where the dormer window leak was located and they could do their best to patch the area but it wouldn’t match with the rest of the shingles since they were older. Then they told her they could replace the entire roof with new shingles. They gave an estimate which was obviously too much for her to afford which then the contractor told her that it wasn’t a problem.

Tempting starting bids

toy home and house insurance documents on table

Then he went on to tell her that because they’re able to do the work and they can do this through her homeowner’s insurance. But this was long before the insurance policies had changed so the replacement did fall under storm repair and wouldn’t cost her anything. So that sounded great to Susan, so she got an immediate quote on that day. All Susan needed to do is contact her insurance company to request a storm damage claim using her Replacement Cost Value (RCV) portion of her insurance.

They sent out an adjuster right away which took one look at her roof damage and gave the go-ahead since it looked like storm damage, and it was the height of the rainy season. They cut Susan a check based on the estimate the roofing contractor supplied. Later, she deposited this check and the roofing company changed her roof in record time.

They gave her the final invoice which was much cheaper than she expected which was a plus for Susan since she thought this was a good thing and signed a check for the roofing company. This only made things worse when she went to the insurance office to drop off the roofing invoice.

Her insurance company immediately spotted the difference between what the roofing company charged and what was given to her as a payout. It wasn’t more than a week since the roof work was finished and the amount she kept was only a few hundred. But the fact that it appeared she was pocketing the amount was a serious offense and she could have been charged with fraud.

Susan showed her account and the money was still listed in her checking account. She didn’t want to be convicted and was in tears while she talked to her insurance company office manager. She was very lucky they saw she was being honest and didn’t charge her with fraud. And she returned the left-over money the same day by writing a check right away. After that she said, she’s always been careful with her insurance ever since.

Another clue in the mailbox

mailbox in front of house

It wasn’t until she finished her story that I realized that I was getting roofing ads in my mailbox too. I also noticed on that same day, a pick-up truck driving around putting these ads in each box down our street. It wasn’t from any roofing company that had any signs on the side either and it got me thinking that something was off about this. They just looked like some guy n regular clothes.

What if this was part of a larger scam that purposely made roof damage on homes where the roof didn’t even need repair at all? I told Susan this and she said they do this every year in certain neighborhoods. These sneaky tricks usually target older folks trying to get you to replace your roof.  They rarely get caught, but after my run-in with roof repair guys, I’ve learned my lesson. Now we’ll look to do simple repairs ourselves and when things seem more serious, we’ll be on the lookout for said Storm Chasers.

When I shared this with Susan, she agreed that it sounded pretty fishy and wouldn’t doubt that this is part of their scam. They even changed the way homeowner insurance pays out storm damage claims so there’s less risk to the owners being charged with fraud! But I sure hope this story will help other people out there learn about what happened to my neighbor. You never know what kinds of tricks you might expect these days.

How Clutter Affects Us

How Clutter Affects Us

Clutter Can Be Bringing You Down, And You May Not Even Know It

Clutter is more than having a little too much “stuff” in your home. It is not about having too little space or not enough time to keep your belongings organized.

Being surrounded by clutter usually originates from an inability to throw things away. Over time, if left unchecked, what started as “a few too many things” can grow into compulsive hoarding.

Living surrounded by clutter is very different to being a collector of something. Scientific evidence shows that clutter or hoarding can be a symptom of a specific internal mental disorganization. It is a subtle form of procrastination and usually comes at the expense of a functional living space.

Home Clutter

You may think that the messy piles of papers gathering dust on your desk, and your kitchen filled with unused knick-knacks, are worlds apart from hoarders who cannot access rooms in their house due to stacks of newspapers going back to 1972. However, studies indicate that all of these traits derive from the same place.

Because de-cluttering is a cognitive process, hoarders are usually good at justifying why something should be kept. Perhaps it’s by putting additional nostalgic or emotional value upon items, making them harder to part with. Or maybe it’s due to the practical reasons why something may come in useful someday.  From mementos, to clothing, to gadgets, hoarders are very good at not throwing anything away.

Many times it’s unintentional. The classic example of this is when you use your garage for  a storage area. After a while, you can end up with a hoarders paradise: two old fridges, that old sectional, mattress and kitchen table you didn’t want to put on the curb. It’s time to let go!

What’s the Big Deal Anyways?

So, it may be messy, but is there really any harm? Well, yes. Clutter can be very bad for both your physical and mental health.


Firstly, clutter can be a real safety concern. Excessive amounts of clutter can harbor mold, mildew, and accumulate dust, causing respiratory issues. A home filled with flammable stacks of magazines, or cardboard boxes of documents, or old electrical devices, is more of a fire hazard. Narrowing passageways become more difficult to traverse and can cause injury. All of this leads to an unhealthy living space.

An uncluttered environment is not only very important for your physical wellbeing, it can have a drastic impact on your mental state too. Living with clutter has been found to raise levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, leading to heightened anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

Living in a home filled with clutter with inevitably lead to disorganization. Time will be wasted looking for lost things. Frantic searches for keys can become a daily occurrence. In addition, costs can mount up as lost items need to be replaced. If bills are mislaid, late fees on overdue payments can arise. All of this causes more stress unnecessarily.

Clutter can also be distracting

Clutter can also be distracting. You may not realize it, but constantly being surrounded by excessive clutter can get in the way of your ability to focus. Piles of laundry, stacks of papers, junk drawers crammed to excess, all of this may be over-stimulating your visual cortex causing you to be more distracted.

Donate to a charity shop. Throw out old newspapers. Go through those storage boxes. Call up a hauling company who can haul away all your stuff. Buy a Bagster from your local Home Depot. Or contact a company like AZ Junk who will do both: haul away unwanted items, or pickup your Bagster. Not only will your home be a more pleasant place to spend time, your physical and mental health with greatly benefit from removing the clutter from your life.