Eric Van De Vens Blog

Not just another Word Press blog!

Fantastic Friday! :)

Today is a fantastic day on several fronts!

First, the fine folks at Weber have contacted me and hopefully, will be able to send me replacement parts for the mighty Ducane 4400, which, unbeknownst to me, has developed a rust issue, pictured below!

Next, I see that Zappos has sent my shoes and they will be arriving via UPS later on today! I also see that Mass Nutrition has sent my new no carb, gluten-free shake mix, which will also be arriving today!

And finally, the morning workout. I’ll start with the weight portion as today  is a “light” day.

EXERCISES Calories Minutes Sets Reps Weight
Strength Training
Standard Bench Press 2 15 135
Seated Biceps Curl 2 15 70
Triceps Pull-down 2 15 65
TOTALS: 448 44 6 45 270

An easy workout that was preceded by the cardio workout below:

Workout Summary
Workout type Manual Cool down
Equipment Stationary Bike Elapsed time 2
Date March 23, 2012 Average rpm 68
Time Maximum rpm 72
User Data Distance (miles) 0.33
Age 51 Calories 10
Weight 234 Totals
Workout Elapsed time 22
Elapsed time 20 Average heart rate 140
Average heart rate 140 Maximum heart rate 174  
Maximum heart rate 174 Average rpm 78
Average rpm 78 Maximum rpm 130
Maximum rpm 130 Distance (miles) 4.54
Distance (miles) 4.21 Calories 219
Calories 209

The bike was actually done after the treadmill, but I am posting it this way for a reason! 😉

Workout Summary
Workout type Manual Cool down
Equipment Treadmill Elapsed time 2
Date March 23, 2012 Average speed (mph) 2.5
Time Maximum Speed (mph) 3
User Data Distance (miles) 0.08
Age 51 Calories 10
Weight 234 Totals
Workout Elapsed time 22
Elapsed time 20 Average heart rate 126
Average heart rate 126 Maximum heart rate 175
Maximum heart rate 175 Average speed (mph) 3.8
Average speed (mph) 3.9 Maximum Speed (mph) 5
Maximum Speed (mph) 5 Average pace (miles) 15.21
Average pace (miles) 15.21 Distance (miles) 1.38
Distance (miles) 1.3 Calories 229
Calories 219

The reason that the treadmill results are posted last, is because this was a “milestone” day!

I was concerned that after yesterdays leg workout, I would have to take it easy today on the cardio portion of the workout. Learning from the mistake I made Wednesday, of starting to run without warming up properly, I decided today to warm up for 10 minutes. I also added 2% for the incline during the warm-up. After ten minutes, I increased the speed and returned the incline back to zero. There was no pain present in either calf! My Quads were a little sore, but that will pass.

The numbers that are bolded above are very important. First on the bike. I like to “sprint” to the finish so the last two minutes of the workout, I increase the work level, to 12 in this case, and go as fast as I can for one minute. That is the max revolutions of 130 rpm and the heart rate of 174 bpm. That number was down to 116 bpm by the end of the cool down.

On the treadmill, I was just happy to 1. do the entire workout without having to stop to stretch or anything else, and 2. to maintain a 12 minute mile pace for the last 10 minutes.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the progression of my running. I am pretty much pain-free and I have plenty “left in the tank”! 🙂

Tonight as a reward, chicken wings. I am going to try to make them so that the calorie count is down from other versions. I also have a good bunch of calories left to burn today.

One other note, as you can see by the tables above, the weight has stagnated at 234 pounds for the entire week. To some, that may because for alarm. To me, I know the cause of the stagnation, and it is simply the addition of a few pounds of muscle. I know this because my waist is smaller, my shirts fit tighter and I also had to adjust the brace for my leg.

The food diary will be posted tonight and I hope everyone has a Fantastic Friday as well!

And, here is the food diary:

March 23, 2012

FOODS Calories Carbs Fat Protein Cholest Sodium Sugars Fiber
Bsn – N.O. Xplode, 1 scoop 25 6g 0g 0g 0mg 235mg 0g 0g
Centrum – Centrum Silver Supplement, 1 Tablet 5 2g 0g 0g 0mg 0mg 1g 0g
Lipton – Decaffeinated Tea Bags, 2 Tea Bag 0 0g 0g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
Eric’s burgers – hamburger , 1 patty 200 0g 11g 22g 75mg 75mg 0g 0g
Crystal – Hot Sauce, 0.5 container (35 tsp ea.) 0 0g 0g 0g 0mg 2,363mg 0g 0g
Smart Balance Light, Buttery Spread W/Omega-3 – Butter, 0.25 container (32 tbsp or 13gs ea.) 400 0g 40g 0g 0mg 640mg 0g 0g
Purdue – Whole Chicken Wing, 9.5 pieces 998 0g 71g 90g 546mg 356mg 0g 0g
Lipton – Decaffeinated Tea Bags, 3 Tea Bag 0 0g 0g 0g 0mg 0mg 0g 0g
Nature’s Best Perfect Zero Carb Isopure Creamy Vanilla – Creamy Vanilla, 2 scoop 210 0g 1g 50g 5mg 320mg 0g 0g
Kraft Natural Cheese – Extra Sharp Cheddar, 1 oz or 28g 120 0g 10g 6g 30mg 180mg 0g 0g
Peter Pan – Crunchy Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp (32g) 200 6g 16g 8g 0mg 110mg 3g 3g
TOTAL: 2,158 14g 149g 176g 656mg 4,279mg 4g 3

The Isopure shake arrived and all in all, it isn’t too bad. I chose the vanilla flavor, but next time, I’ll get the cookies and cream! I’ll have a review of that product in a week or two.

On the shoe front, one of the three pairs of shoes I ordered fit properly, so I now have a pair of walking around shoes. I am waiting for Zappos to carry other colors of my running shoes for night-time use!

Tomorrow will be an off day with the exception of mowing the lawn and Sunday is Sunday morning golf.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


March 23, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running, The Ducane 4400, Weight Training | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ducane 4400 and the Weber Q-200 get some new parts!

After two years of ownership, I am quite happy with the Ducane 4400 grill. As it appears the fire-box has some rust on it, I may have to address that at a later date. The cause of the rust is pictured below.

I finally found a place on the web, All Parts Grills,  that had the stainless steel versions of the stock porcelain flame tamers or “flavorizer bars” as Weber calls them. I knew these wouldn’t last since the first day I fired up the grill! While I was at it, I decided to clean out the inner box of the grill with a scraper and then just hose everything out. Now that that is done, time for the new parts.

If you look closely, you can see the rust under the far right flame tamer. Now that the rusty ones are gone, hopefully I can get a few more years out of the box. It is under warranty for five years, so, I have some time.

Meanwhile, the tried and true Weber Q, also needed a little service. The drip pan was all pitted when I got it and some pin holes developed in it. I decided, for 15 bucks, I might as well replace it and get some new tin liners.

Here is the new drip pan and liners.

I always like it where there are new shiny parts around! Now the grills should be good for another 2-3 years before I have to do anything major.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | The Ducane 4400, The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Garlic Infused Roast Beef on the Rotisserie!

This is a recipe that I saw on a cooking show, it may have been the Galloping Gourmet, and decided to try it on the Ducane.

The first thing you need is a decent sized roast. This one was a couple of pounds.

You next, take a knife and stab the roast just to the thickest part of the blade. Use a paring knife or a smaller knife. What you are trying to do is to get the garlic in as many places of the roast you can, without destroying the roast!

Peel and cut as much garlic as you like. Cut the garlic into roughly, 1/8 of an inch pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact!

Place the garlic in the slits you have made, then, close up the slits.

Now, you can add salt, pepper, and olive oil and let the roast sit for a while, or just put it on the rotisserie, season it, and cook it.

Fire up the rotisserie burner, if you have one, and place the control on “low”. You are trying to get a temperature of around 350 degrees. If you do not have a rotisserie burner, fear not, there is a solution!

North-South burner configuration: When looking at your grill, the burners run from the bottom of the grill to the top of the grill.

East-West burner configuration: When looking at your grill, the burners are left to right.

Rotisserie instructions for “North-South” burners.

Place the roast on the spit rod all the way over to one side. Turn the burners on high under the roast. Let the roast spin for 15 minutes, checking it every five minutes. If the outside of the roast is getting charred, turn down the heat. Once there is a “crust on the fat”, now you can shut off the burners and turn on the other side burners. Turn on as many as you need to get the temperature to 350 degrees. Cook for approximately one hour and then check the internal temperature. Once it gets in the 120 degree range, check the temperature every 10 minutes until it is 145 degrees. It is now ready to remove from the grill.

Rotisserie instructions for “East-West” burners.

Place the roast in the center of the spit rod. Turn on the burner that is furthest away from the center or in some instances, the rear burner. Set the control to low and cook for approximately one hour trying to keep the temperature at or near 350 degrees. In order to get the temperature to 350 degrees you may have to turn on another burner. If so, set it to low as well. Do not turn any burners on high. You will burn the roast. There is more control when using two burners on low than one burner on high.

If you want a slower cook, temperatures around 250 degrees, you may be able to use one burner with a drip pan on top of it filled with water to control the heat. This is a similar method used when smoking meat to control the temperature. Most rear rotisserie burners will not let you cook below 350 degrees. With the Ducane 4-burner grill I have, If I want a slow cook, I can turn one burner on low and it will get to about 260 degrees.

Once the meat has reached 145 degrees internal temperature, take it off the grill and let it rest for at least five minutes.

After the meat has rested, you may now slice it any way you want. We have an electric meat slicer that is similar to what you can find in most delis. I cut some of the meat about 1/4 of an inch thick and then the rest, thinner for sandwiches or beef and cheese rolls.

We prefer our meat “medium rare” which is exactly how this roast came out after about 1 hour and 45 minutes of cooking. Below all of the roast is sliced. The one piece to the lower left would be for my Father in Law, if he were here. He loves the end pieces!

Every grill is different and cooking times will vary depending on grill type, grill size, desired level of doneness, etc. This recipe is just a guideline. You will have to experiment in order to get your perfect roast! One word of caution, low and slow gets it done! You can always cook your roast more if you need to. As the expression goes, “You can’t un-ring the bell”!


March 7, 2011 Posted by | Beef, Home, The Ducane 4400 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of the Ducane 4400

As promised, here is my review of my new grill.

I purchased this grill from Grillsdirect (Hayneedle) and after all was said and done, the price paid was $495.00 including shipping.

The grill arrived at 3:00 pm Friday. As others have noted, it came on a pallet. The bottom of one side of the box was damaged and I feared the worst. After going through the shipping issues, I would really have been upset if the grill arrived damaged. I ripped the box apart before the delivery person could leave to make sure there was no damage. Fortunately, there was none!

It took roughly one hour to assemble the grill. The instructions are nothing more than a bunch of pictures. A few pointers for those who purchase either the 3400 or the 4400.
There are 16 black bolts in one bag and 4 black bolts in another bag. All of the bolts in the 16 bolt bag are for the base/wheel installation. The 4 longer bolts are for the top of the grill.
Speaking of which, do not tighten any of the bolts for the frame until the doors are in. Also, when securing the top to the frame, place one bolt in and put the nut on just a couple of turns. Then put the other side bolt/nut in. After they are both in, then tighten them so the top is centered in the frame.
Another assembly tip, unscrew the bezel that holds the ignitor in place. Then, remove the ignitor and install the wires. Then, reinstall the ignitor. It is much easier to take it out and put it back than to try and attach those wires in a small space.

Firing up:
As I was putting the side trays on, I heard a loud bang from my garage. It appears as though the main spring for my garage door broke. I had to cut the broken piece off, re-thread the remainder of the old spring on to the new cone, and readjust the spring. This took about a half hour. Just enough time to burn in the new grill!
The grill fired right up (burners) and got to over 600 degrees in about 10 minutes. Heat doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Cooking the first meal:
The first meal was a few strip steaks. The grill cooked evenly and seared the outside and as you can see from the pictures, was cooked to perfection. My son seemed to enjoy it as it was the first thing he ate on his plate!

Second meal:
Rotisserie chicken. I put the chicken on the rotisserie, seasoned it, and let it spin for an hour and a half. The skin did not get a crispy as it did with the other grill, so, I decided to crisp it up a little by turning on the two bottom burners for 5 minutes. Do not repeat this mistake! There is no picture as the skin was burnt in a short period of time. Fortunately, the interior meat was still tender and juicy. I got lucky…again!
Third meal:
Hamburgers. I go to the meat market and get a bunch of ground chuck, add my seasonings and then place the meat in zip lock sandwich bags. One burger per bag, then freeze them. I usually have 10-15 burgers in the freezer at any given time. You never know who may show up!
I placed the frozen burgers on the grill and they cooked evenly on one side, flipped them over, cooked on the other side, flipped over again to get the “diamond pattern” on the burger, flipped over again.
Toasted the bun, and on they went. They were cooked perfectly, for me anyway, medium rare, just a pink line in the center of the burger, and were delicious.
Side burner:
Last night I made spaghetti with meatballs. As we got home a little late, and I took out too much meat for the normal number of meatballs, I had to cook two batches of meatballs. To boil the water for the pasta, I decided to use the side burner on the grill. It took about as long as it does on the stove to get the water to a boil, but, the grate on the burner is sturdy enough that when the 10 inch pot was put on it, it didn’t move around.

After using the grill it was time for its first cleaning. Everything on the exterior cleaned up easily. The grates cleaned up fairly well. I may have to do a little more brushing.

For grilling, this grill we do everything I want it to do. It is well designed (mostly, see below), easy to maintain, and after some modifications are made, will probably be the last grill for quite some time.

The placement of the rotisserie burner ignitor.
Where the line comes out on the burner, it gets red hot when the burner is on and actually bends upward. I can see this failing in short order. As it is, the spark is very poor and I suspect that this is a wire issue as I switched the wire to several positions on the back of the ignitor. I’ll be calling Weber Monday regarding this issue.
The tube that feeds the rotisserie burner is exposed and all of the drippings land directly on it. This cannot be good in the long term. I plan on correcting this issue.

The side trays are an extra set of burners!
The side trays, as others have noted, get very hot. Too hot to touch! I have read about the heat sink modification, but, I am going to call Weber and see if they have a ready made solution for this.

Heat loss out the back.
Others have pointed this out and I plan on calling Weber to determine why they didn’t just extend the back metal piece up two inches to keep the heat in.

Planned modifications:
Depending on what Weber says, I will block off the rear panel to keep the heat in.
I will add some protection for the rotisserie burner tube.
I will add, again, depending on what Weber has to say, the heat sink modification for the side burners.
I like the way the lower portion of the grill, the drip area, is constructed and angled to the opening for the drip pan. I think that adding an inner liner of say one of those aluminum baking pans, to the bottom should keep that area from getting dirty.

As the paint has already splintered on the flavorizer bars, when I get a new set, I may convert this to a rack with lava rocks.

Favorite feature, a toss up between the drip pan and the “backstop” at the rear of the grill.

This grill is actually a little bit smaller than the Charmglow 4 burner. But, the cover still fits!

My one year review, which is overdue, will be coming out around the same time as the “Q” review.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Food, The Ducane 4400 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Barbecue Ribs

This is a recipe that requires little skill and a much smaller time-frame to prepare.

The first thing you need is a rack of ribs. You may cut these every six ribs which should give you three fairly equal sized pieces.
Fill a large pot full of water and some barbecue sauce or, any other spices you like. Bring the water to a boil. Let the ribs boil for 5 minutes…no more!
Turn off the heat and let the ribs sit in the water for approximately one hour.
Before we go on, you have to differentiate between boiling something, as in hard-boiled eggs, and par-boiling something, which is designed to loosen up the fibers of the meat. What you are doing here is the latter.

Place your ribs on one side of your grill if you have “north-south” burner configuration. If you have an “east-west” configuration, place the ribs at the top or bottom of your grill. If you have a charcoal grill, make the fire on one side and cook the ribs on the other.

Try to keep the temperature around 300-325 degrees for one hour. Check the ribs. The meat should be starting to come off the bones. If so, add your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for 15 minutes, flip the ribs and cook for another 15 minutes. Flip again, add more sauce, cook for another 15 minutes, and repeat on the other side.

This method is for those who like their ribs “saucy”. The heat will caramelize the sauce and add some more flavor. You can also add wood chips or soaked wood to the fire to add another layer of flavor.

I use this method when it is just me or for the wife. she likes them this way as opposed to the dry rub method. In fact, most people prefer their ribs with sauce.

This is wood wrapped in foil on the burner side of the grill.

Here are the finished ribs.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Food, Pork, The Ducane 4400 | , , , | Leave a comment

Rotisserie Ribs

I have always enjoyed a good rack of ribs. I have cooked them several ways and some of those other methods will be on the blog shortly. In the meantime, here are rotisserie ribs.

The first thing I do is add some dry rub. The McCormick Pork Rub is pretty good. There are other rubs out there, but most have the same ingredients. I liberally sprinkle the rub on all areas of the ribs. I then wrap them in Saran Wrap and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

I also take one chunk of hickory wood and soak it in water overnight. There is a raging debate as to how much water is absorbed, to soak or not to soak, etc. As a matter of personal preference, I prefer to soak the wood for this recipe and for smoking. In the picture below, you will see a bunch of wood chips. My grill has a “smoking tray”, which after using it once, I determined that it was not an effective method and now, use the soaked chunk of wood method.

Now that they are ready, I weave the spit rod in between every three ribs. I then add the clamps and place the whole assembly on the grill. Next, I add the chunk of soaked wood wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil on top of one burner, in this case, the far left burner.

I also have an old cookie sheet that I use for specific things. One is to cook chicken wings on and another is a drip pan for rotisserie cooking.I place the pan under the ribs and add as much water as the pan will hold.

I turn the one burner on high for 1/2 half hour to get the wood smoking. I also flip the switch on the rotisserie motor and now, everything is cooking. You have to know how your grill heats when using this method. I know that with one burner on, my grill will only get to 350 degrees, which is probably the limit for this method.

After a half an hour, I turn the burner down to low, which yields a temperature of 225 degrees. I now let the ribs cook for 2 or 3 hours checking the temperature every so often and the water level in the drip pan.

During the cooking process, it may be necessary to quench your thirst!

After three hours, the ribs are usually starting to break away from the bones. Now is when you add the sauce..or…some purists won’t! 🙂

After cooking for another hour, you are ready to eat. The ribs should pull off the bone with little resistance. If they do not, keep cooking! There is nothing worse than having to gnaw your way through tough ribs!

This particular meal had a few sides. Buschs Grillin beans that have been “enhanced” , cole slaw, and corn on the cob.
I soak the corn in its husk for a few hours and then wrap it in aluminum foil. After you turn the temperature down to 225 degrees is when you add the corn. I add it to the warming rack that is partially hidden in the pictures. If you do not have a warming rack, you can place the corn on the cookie sheet lengthwise so it is not in the water.The corn should “pop” when you eat it and will absorb some of the rib and wood flavor.

Here is everything all plated up!

If you cook your ribs using this method, I am sure you will be happy with the results.

Special thanks to the gang over at the BBQSource for this method!

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Food, Pork, The Ducane 4400 | , , , | Leave a comment

Steak, Portabello Mushrooms, and Eggplant dinner

Tonight’s dinner was Steak, actually, the ends of the big Fillet Mignon I got, Portabello mushrooms, and some grilled eggplant.
Here are a bunch of pictures…the preparation, cooking, plating, and Marshall..with desert..homemade Popsicle!

This was just for effect. Nothing got burned!

Everything on the grill:

Marshalls plate:

Mommy and Daddys plates:

Apparently, everything wasn’t too bad!

And, Marshall gets dessert…

August 21, 2010 Posted by | Beef, Food, The Ducane 4400 | , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: