When I first joined this forum several years ago, I thought it was very clunky, cumbersome, and difficult to navigate. This new format is not much of an improvement, if any. But my point is that one can get comfortable with any format as long as the content is interesting, useful, and fun. But all that depends on the participants, who appear to be bailing out, or already have, because of frustration with the format. The logic is circular, and the spiral unfortunately points downward. I still believe a good CS forum is very much worth having. Just after the recent format change, some folks at CS were trying to make improvements, but that was apparently given up on, perhaps because the platform CS bought lacks flexibility. If CS values this forum, and I believe for the reasons given that they should, it would be nice to hear it from them, and have some discussion of what they believe can be done. If loss of forum participation is a leading indicator of sales loss for CS, and I believe it will prove to be so, I hope someone there starts to take notice.

Guys thanks for responding. I couldn’t agree more. When I bought my CS a few years ago it was quick and easy to look something up, get others opinions and/or results. And just to put it out there I love the smoker, that’s not the issue. It just takes so long to find anything it’s easier to go elsewhere. CS needs to address the forum issue soon or I too feel it is going to cost them sales/customers. As someone else mentioned if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Hopefully CS is reading this and makes a significant improvement, what was done here is definitely a downgrade not an upgrade. Happy smoking to all!!!

Agree with all the comments against the new forum.  I guess when they made the switch, I lost my daily digest that I used to read religiously so I was away from the forum for awhile.  When I saw the new format I couldn’t believe how bad it was.  Very hard to follow any discussion.  Hope they find a (better) solution.

BTW, is there a search function on this new format?  If there is I can’t find it.  That alone makes this format a showstopper. 

If one goes to any of the other bbq or smoking forums, and scroll to the bottom of the home page, you can see what company is responsible for the format of that forum.  Some are better organized than others but all are better than what CS ended up with.

As an aside, I contemplated getting another Amerique smoker and noticed that they did away with the large W shaped heating element  and large wood box and went to an elongated U, just like SmokinTex and Smokin-it.  I can only guess it was a matter of economics. Another change 

Qnorth, the location of the search button apparently depends on which browser you have and how it is set up. On my setup for Firefox. the "search" tab is at the top of the forum home page at the right end of a row of menu buttons like "HOME," "FORUMS," "COOKSHACK.COM," "CHATS," "MEMBERS," etc.

Followup to my post of 1/5/19. There has been no response from CS to members of this forum regarding their dissatisfaction, and certainly no response to me on my direct email to them regarding their need (IMO) to pay attention and do something if they want this forum to continue rather than die a slow death. I am at a loss to explain how a company with such a great customer service reputation can ignore what could be a vibrant, active, lucrative (for CS) Forum of committed, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful members, attracting new members and persuading potential CS buyers to make that choice (a description of the Forum as I remember it under the moderation of Smokin' Okie when I joined). I think and hope Smokin' is out there somewhere, and wish he would weigh in on this. How about it, Russ?  It seems all the great cooks who used to live here are leaving.

Not only did the forum change but the entire website.  The company that designed the forum format is gone and a new company, Hoopla was selected. While I like the layout of the website (everything that was on the old site is present in an improved format), I cannot say the same for the forum.  There are plenty of other forums, all lacking in information regarding the great products from Cook Shack so this is truly the only game in town.  Like it or not we are stuck with it and I am fairly sure that the folks at CS are not thrilled with the feedback and displeasure.  

I spent last night going through the forum and saw very little recent activity.  That is our fault.  We own it the members own it.  Today I am doing a small brisket.  I SHOULD be enthusiastically taking photos of prep, the smoker, and the results.  Yet I will not because old format or new, I have a tough time posting photos.   But beyond that, we seem to lack folks asking questions, how to questions which the seasoned among us can answer.  Maybe folks are not as helpless as in the past.  Maybe they are too busy smoking and just don't have time  or desire to sit and post comments on their exploits.  I don't know.

 What I do know is that is that this forum is no longer the watering hole it used to be with an exchange of all manner of information from the exploits at the smoker or grill to a new rub or a Q road trip or a new piece of gear or the birth of a new offspring.  The "family" atmosphere is gone. We can bring it back, if we want to or we can continue to complain and whine.  It is up to each one of us.

 

David

While the format mat not to be to everyone's liking, as OLDSARGE has said if we let it die it is our fault.

I clearly would not like to see that happen as there is so much great information here.

In a week or two when I do my first buckboard bacon project, you can be sure I'll be searching the form for information,

I have been making bacon for about a year.  Don't get the store bought mixes, they tend to be on the salty side.  I use the Equilibrium curing method.  This cure is based on the weight of the meat in Grams.  I use the calculator at:  http://www.diggingdogfarm.com/page2.html .  Input the weight of the meat, and calculator will give you the weight of salt, curing salt (cure #1, Prague Powder #1, "Pink Salt"), and sugar.  I do a dry cure in vacuum sealed bags.  Don't pull a complete vacuum on the bag.  Buckboard bacon will take 14 days or more to cure.  The nice thing about this curing method is Once the meat comes to equilibrium, it will not absorb more salt, or liquids.  Use the percent of salt and sugar set in the calculator for your first attempt.  Don't forget to do a taste test once the meat comes out of the brine, and before it is smoked.  If it is too salty, soak the meat in cold water until the salt level comes down to an acceptable level.  Keep good notes as you go through this.  You can look back at your notes on the next bacon and adjust the percentage of salt and sugar.  Don't mess with the amount of cure.  You can use the method for any kind of bacon you want to make.  I currently have close to 40 pounds of bacon getting ready to come out of the cure.  This is belly bacon.  I have the straight cure, the cure with orange blossom honey and Bourbon, The cure with powdered Black Rifle Coffee, and the cure with sweet heat.  This was my last bacon.

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Not to be critical BUT!  If there is an ADMINISTRATOR, then the topic of making bacon belongs somewhere else other than the forum complaint section and the ADMINISTRATOR  should do the moving.  Maybe the bacon and ham forum section?

IDAHOMIKE - Maybe you could post this in another more appropriate section.  You have good info and I would hate to see people miss it.

OldSarge:  It was tasty.  Took a couple of tries using the method, The 2% salt setting wasn't salty enough for use.  2.5% salt was too salty.  I hit the sweet spot at 2.25% salt.  Everyone's taste is different, and what I like may not be what you like.  This is why this method and calculator works for me.  Once you hit the sweet spot, you can repeat it over and over again.  Making bacon of any kind takes time for the curing process to work.  This isn't a " I bought a belly and have to provide bacon for some affair next week" type thing.  I figure on 25 to 30 days from when I put it in the cure.to eating fried bacon.  Is it worth it?  Oh heck yes. 

Oldsarge:  I doubt this will happen like it did with the old forum.  I didn't mean to highjack this page, I just saw that 2 people want to start making bacon. and hoped to save them from jumping through the hoops I did.  In the old forums, I would have been able to fix this, or Smokin Oakie , or one of the moderaters  would chastise me, and make the change

I sure hope I did not offend you.  I think that you should be able to copy your post and then paste it in the bacon and ham section, found under other topics or some such thing on the forum home page.  Actually, if there is a moderator or administrator I had hoped the bold caps would grab their attention and they would take care of things.  

Smokin' Okie retired as Forum moderator and took off touring the country in his RV with his lovely wife a few years ago. He left a void that CS has chosen not to fill, not even by asking current Forum members or frequent posters to volunteer (I wouldn't want that job). BOBBYHULL, you are not hijacking the thread but returning it to its focus. Thanks. Whatever else is wrong with this new Forum, it is still easy to post to a specific existing topic.

Been a few years, but treat it like a chicken. Favorite rub, 275 or so til it hits 160-165, sauce or no sauce at the end. Daughter and I thought it tasted like a cross between chicken & turkey.

Good thing Smokin' isn't here, we'd all have 50 lashes by now.

oldsarge posted:

BOBBYHULL - Smokin Oakie?  Russ Garrett?  He retired and left the forum sometime back.  He checked in a few times regaling us with his exploits.  Haven't seen anything recent. 

Last I saw on FB, he and Mrs Smokin are living in McAllen, TX down by Mexico way. Dunno if they still have the motor home but it sounds like they've settled in there.

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