Father’s Day Flippers

These are called pigtail flippers, bbq turners, or I have also heard Texas toothpicks.  Whatever you call them, they are cool tools for the grill.  Here is me demonstrating their use on a set of serious pork chops for my father in law.

20180616_120333I wanted to try one of these tools, and my localish woodcraft had these new kits on sale.  Why not make one for myself and the dads in my life?  I picked up some thick maple dowel to make these handles.  I was building the handles for my mom’s bookbinding press at the same time, so it all worked out.

The first step is to drill out a hole for the threaded insert, and carefully thread it in.  I had an issue.  Most kits use 1/4-20 or 5/16-18 threaded inserts.  This one had an M6 insert for the metal turner rod.  I don’t have an M6 mandrel, and I couldn’t find one online.  Time to make one!  I played around, but ultimately a nut and bolt with the head cut off did the trick.


That let me thread the brass insert into the handle, but I would normally flip the part around and chuck the mandrel up so I could spin with no tail stock.  No such luck here, the bolt is too small for all of my chuck jaws (right picture).  I could try to chuck up the nut, but it has 6 sides and the jaws all have 4.  If I did a lot of these, I would have to figure out how to make my own mandrel.

Instead of holding it by the threaded insert I turned down a shoulder to accept a brass bushing, then chucked up that shouldered section.  It marred the surface, but that will get covered anyways.

With 4 different variations turned I remembered I was supposed to drill a hole in them for their hanging cable.  This would have been a lot easier when they were simple cylinders still.  Order of operations on the lathe is super critical.  I put the whole lot of them on little sticks and went to town with the spray polyurethane.

I pressed on the brass bushing with epoxy and threaded on the turner.  The wire cable as a hanging strap adds a nice touch.  I hadn’t broken out the lathe in quite a while, so this was quite satisfying to get these done with minimal screw ups.



One other minor experiment that happened when I had my lathe out was to try and smooth out my 3D printed can koozie.  It turns out that you can really shine that stuff up if you go through the grits.  There are minor voids that show through upon close inspection.  Still, that is a nice shiny looking part.  You could polish up most of a chess set this way!


I have been on a BBQ media bender.  I recently read the Franklin Barbecue Meat Smoking Manifesto, and have watched all available episodes of BBQ with Franklin.  The result is that I want to make a brisket so bad!  Traditionally I have done mostly pork, some chicken, and sausage on my smoker.  All of those are awesome, but after so many years of smoking, it is time to branch out.

I traded my beloved hickory for oak, my complex sugar heavy rubs for coarse salt and pepper, and my pork for a big hunk of brisket.


I got up at 6am to get this beast started.  I don’t like waking up early on the weekends, but this was totally worth it!  It went on about 6:30 and sat soaking up smokey goodness till about lunch time.

I started spraying it down occasionally with apple cider and checking for the level of bark.  I had some problems controlling the temperature on my smoker.  The base traeger I got has only 3 settings of temperature, low medium and high.  Low is lower than I want, and medium is higher.  Upgrading to a temperature controlled unit is high on my priority list.  I was getting through the stall and had the level of bark I wanted.  Next comes the wrap.  I went with the franklin method of paper wrapping instead of foil wrapping.


Once wrapped it went back to the smoker for the remainder of the afternoon.  I started poking and temp probing, and by 4:30 or so things looked done.  I pulled it and let it sit for a while still wrapped in paper.  I might unwrap next time, It took a long time to cool.  Finally, the cut.  I am no expert carver, and a really long knife would be helpful.  Still, I was able to identify the right side and carve properly.  This smells so good.



It was goooooooooood.  The temperature swings caused a few edges to be a little on the burned and dry sides, but otherwise it was a really good moist tender brisket.  Using only salt and pepper as a rub turned out great, why would you need anything more?  Not only does it provide some amazing dinners, we had brisket and eggs for breakfast.  Now that is a breakfast of champs!