by PETE KRUER Rockford Ace Hardware Last time, we looked at the history and the different styles of BBQ,so our next step is to delve into the original BBQ technique: wood (charcoal). There are two types of charcoal: lump and briquette. Lump charcoal has been made for thousands of years and is consider the purest form. Briquette charcoal is basically sawdust bound by starch and other binders. Henry Ford did not invent briquette charcoal, but he put it on the map as the most popular charcoal used by American consumers. That’s right, Henry Ford of Detroit! You wonder why would Henry Ford be involved in charcoal production? Well most automobiles used a lot of wood in their bodies up to the early ‘30s. Ford was camping in northern Michigan and was telling Thomas Edison he had all this sawdust in his Kingsford, Michigan sawmill. So, Ford got the idea of making charcoal briquettes and marketing for barbequing. That’s right: Kingsford charcoal! Kingsford is not in Kingsford, Mich. or owned by Ford anymore, but it is one of the top selling briquette charcoal in the U.S. Briquette charcoal burning temperature is around 810 degrees Fahrenheit, while lump charcoal burning temp is up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Briquette charcoal burns longer, but lump is easier to control temperature and does not have any additives. In starting your charcoal, you have many options, such as a chimney, charcoal lighter fluid and alcohol jell. The preferred methods are charcoal chimney (newspaper) or jelled alcohol, and both are odorless. The flavor comes from the juices of the food dripping on the coals and vaporizing, and also from any flavor wood you add for smoke. There are many type of grills that use charcoal, from kettle or box to kamado style. You can smoke with all styles, but box and kamado are the most popular for that cooking technique. Most smoking purists use the box style, but the kamado does a wonderful job. Floyd Havemeier at Herman’s Boy has done a great job with the Green Egg, and I also have had success with my Kamado Joe in smoking food. Cooking with charcoal is much easier if you have a thermometer in the cover of your grill. That way you know […]
Rockford Ace Hardware
by PETE KRUER Rockford Ace Hardware Americans love to cook and entertain outside. Some people think the reason is that we have so much outdoors to enjoy. Europeans are starting to cook outside more, but they just don’t get into it quite like Americans. Some of the best memories with family and friends are at barbeques! We are going to explore the fun and flavor of barbecuing and grilling. So is barbecuing and grilling the same? Well, not exactly; they both use fire, just in a different way. Barbecuing is cooking on indirect heat and with a cover over the food. Also, barbecuing is done at a lower temperature than grilling. Grilling, on the other hand, is over direct coals (heat) and at a much higher temperature. Barbecuing is seldom impulsive, but is planned out and done at home. Whereas, with grilling, you can be camping and you can make a fire and cook relatively quickly. Barbecuing and smoking are very similar. Outdoor cooking was changed forever by a man named Stephens from Chicago in the 1950s. Stephens was an engineer for Weber Co., and they made buoys for use on the great lakes. That’s right: BUOYS! Suburbia was exploding and people had bigger yards to enjoy being outside. Stephens had his friends over and was cooking on an open grill. He thought there had to be better way to control the heat and get more flavor when cooking. So, the next day at the shop, he took a buoy—yes, a buoy—and cut off the top, put grates, vents, a handle and legs on, and you have the Weber kettle grill! Mr. Weber saw no future in making grills, so he told Stephans that if he wants to make grills to buy him out. Stephans bought Weber Co., changed the name to Weber-Stephens, and began to make only grills. Wow! The Weber kettle grill started the American love affair with cooking outside and a whole new industry. Even though barbecuing has been part of the American family experience for hundreds of years, it has gone to a whole new level in the last 20 years. The southern U.S. is really the home of American barbecuing. Barbecuing has become as American as apple pie. The ethnic […]
by PETE KRUER Rockford Ace Hardware Well, we just had summer in March! Wow! Now we are having a reality check with April. Believe it or not, we are having average to slightly above average temps and below average on precipitation, but that is about to change. Precipitation is going to be slightly above average for the next eight days. Temps will be about average (50 to 61 degrees). We need to remember not to get to anxious with planting frost-sensitive plants, because lows are going to be around the frost mark. The average last day for frost in Kent County is about the 15th to 17th of May. It is easy to forget that the weather can change quickly in West Michigan. If you have some plants that you would like to protect and give three to four degrees advantage, you can use a product called N-SULATE to cover your plants. Also sprinkling water overnight on the plants can help, depending how bad of a frost. Regarding the use of crab grass preventer, we are getting to the end and broad leaf prevention will be starting soon. Always try to wait at least four weeks between fertilizer applications. So, have patience and enjoy the head start we got this year!
There were over 200 customers in the first hour of Rockford Ace Hardware’s storewide sale last Tuesday, November 23. According to Inventory Coordinator Katie Buick, the Edenpure heaters on hand were gone in the first minute. “I love this sale, it’s my favorite,” Buick said. An employee at Ace for four-and-a-half years, Buick said she likes the excitement and fast pace of a big sale and this one was no exception. “I like it when it is busy—time flies and it gets people in the holiday spirit.”
During the second week of August, a group from Kent County installed 75 computers divided among eight community youth centers on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Home of the Lakota (incorrectly called Sioux) people, most of the reservation is in Shannon County, which is known as the poorest county in the United States. The project was a joint effort involving six people, Grand Valley State University (GVSU), the Rockford Rotary Club, Bostwick Lake Congregational UCC, Rockford Ace Hardware, and Van’s Delivery Service of Comstock Park. Two years ago, GVSU planned to replace many of its personal computers. Since the disposal cost runs as high as $100 per computer, GVSU looked for nonprofit organizations that could use the computers. Paul Jorgensen, of the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU, had been taking church groups to Pine Ridge since 1999, and he knew how to get things started. He contacted Carolyn Tail, wife of Eli Tail, a respected Lakota Elder. Carolyn originally lined up seven community youth centers, and in June of this year, Jorgensen visited each of them. Word spread, and an eighth community center was added (see the map). Through much of July, Jorgensen and David Lange (also of the SCIS) transported the PCs from GVSU to a warehouse at Van’s Delivery Service, where they took each computer apart, removed the hard drives and replaced the BIOS batteries. They also used a shop vacuum to blow the five-year accumulation of dust out of each PC. Also in July, Jorgensen and Todd Olson, vice president of Van’s, made a presentation to the Rockford Rotary Club, where both are active members. The result was a generous gift to rent a 16-foot truck from the Rockford Ace Hardware store. Pete Kruer, owner of the store, and another Rotarian, gave the group a rental truck at a discount price. The physical work began in the first week of August, when Pat Bailey, a professor at Calvin College, and Dan and Dave Davis of the Bostwick Lake church, joined Jorgensen and Lange to inventory 80 monitors purchased from CompRenew in Grand Rapids. The monitors and PCs all had to be packed on pallets. The first try didn’t work too well, so all the monitors were removed […]