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Detroit Style Pizza Techniques

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  • Huskee
    Pit Boss
    • May 2014
    • 14901
    • central MI, USA
    • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

      Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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      About me
      Real name: Aaron
      Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

      Occupation:
      • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

    #16
    Totally the wrong post for me to read being on a diet..... Detroit Style is my favorite pizza, I love it so much I even love the heck outta some Little Caesar's deep dish. Yuuuum.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      FireMan I always thought Jet's took a backseat to Little Caesar's, seemed like the sauce was too sweet for me. My buddy odered some Jet's a while back from a different town and it was incredible. Don't know what to make of the difference, but they've redeemed themselves in my eyes, having a more savory sauce like Little Caesar's last time I had it.

    • JeffJ
      JeffJ commented
      Editing a comment
      Exactly. I'm eating really healthy right now trying to lose weight and these pics and this discussion are killing me. As for Jet's, I've found their pies to be incredibly inconsistent. But man, when they are good they are REALLY good.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      With you 110% on both counts, JeffJ
  • FireMan
    Charter Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 7615
    • Bottom of Winnebago

    #17
    Your use of CI is a nice touch. It eliminates the use & need of stones. The original pizzas were made in used metal auto associated pans, that’s why they wuz rectangaler.

    Comment


    • coreyo
      coreyo commented
      Editing a comment
      I believe that they were originally blue steel oil drip pans. The rectangular shape is what makes it so hard to get the center of the crust done evenly. However, the unintended side-effect of this style was that corner pieces of the crust are amazing.
  • Jon Liebers
    Club Member
    • May 2018
    • 198

    #18
    hey great write up and good job on the Pizza. I strongly suggest you get yourself a copy of the book The Pizza Bible , also check out their website. At the very least search for a copy of the directions to making Detroit style pizza from The Pizza Bible.
    A lot of research went into perfecting the dough and I would also suggest a Detroit pizza pan would enhance your game. It is not just a deep dish pan, the sides also flare out on all sides. I totally get you're happy with what you are doing, but hey, if you enjoy making pizza you will enjoy The Pizza Bible.

    BTW I use Munster Cheese instead of Brick and a white aged chedder. Works great.
    Also read up on pizza dough, your missing a vital ingredient which is Diastatic Malt.
    Last edited by Jon Liebers; April 18, 2019, 01:20 PM.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Little Caesar's uses muenster & mozzarella, and a local place here uses mozz & provolone. I think a key is not limiting your pies to mozzarella alone, it's rather tasteless IMO, it adds the goo effect, but you need another for flavor.

    • coreyo
      coreyo commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jon, I'll look it up.

      Huskee, I've been mixing provolone and mozzarella for years on all of my pizzas. I find that the provolone is what gives the melted cheese mix that extra stringy consistency.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      coreyo I love the stringy cheese with a good bite myself. The more the better!
  • JeffJ
    Charter Member
    • Feb 2015
    • 2405
    • Michigan
    • Jeff

    #19
    Hey mods...How about considering making this a sticky thread? Huskee Spinaker Henrik

    Comment


    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Certainly worthy!
  • Huskee
    Pit Boss
    • May 2014
    • 14901
    • central MI, USA
    • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

      Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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      • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
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      • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

      Thermometers
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      Beverages
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      • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
      • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
      • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
      • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
      • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

      About me
      Real name: Aaron
      Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

      Occupation:
      • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

    #20
    Done diddit! JeffJ

    Comment


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      If’n we make it a sticky, there was quite some discussion on a thread or two about the Deetroit Pizza. Maybe they could be added. Just wonderin. Not savvy enough to quickly find em.

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Me either FireMan If we find them and they have the substance of this we can sticky.
  • coreyo
    Club Member
    • Aug 2015
    • 38

    #21
    I was doing some more research on pans. I could not find a good stainless steel 8" or 9" square pan. However, I have found multiple references to a 8" x 10" "Detroit Pizza Pan" (you can also see these on one of the videos in the original post). This is roughly equivalent to a 9"x9" pan and a good corner to surface area ratio.

    You can find a couple of them on Amazon. While not stainless steel, I did see customer references to the following pans with glowing reviews:
    https://lloydpans.com/pizza-tools/re...yle-pizza-pans

    You can also find them on amazon, but for some reason the smaller pans do not have PRIME shipping. Just check out the reviews!: https://smile.amazon.com/LloydPans-K...mazingribs--20

    My birthday is next month, and I think that I'm going to ask for a couple of these bad boys.

    Comment

  • lostclusters
    Club Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 314
    • Oceanside, CA
    • Mak 1 Star
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    #22
    For a good primer on pizza dough I recommend Alton Brown's "Flat is Beautiful", S3E9, most likely on YouTube.

    Comment

  • jtw
    jtw
    Club Member
    • Sep 2018
    • 13
    • Farmington, MI

    #23
    Coreyo - awesome post, and the photos look even better than a real Detroit pizza (and I'm from Detroit). Disclaimer: I don't love Detroit pizza, although I enjoy it occasionally.

    Buddy's is generally regarded as the standard of excellence. Shield's is supposedly good as well, although I don't think I've had it in about 15 years. As far as the cheese, it could be cubes, possibly a provolone/mozzarella/munster mix. I wonder if string cheese might work well?

    Comment

    • coreyo
      Club Member
      • Aug 2015
      • 38

      #24
      Hey guys. I appreciate all of your feedback and suggestions. I just wanted to check in on my progress. I did some more experimentation and my initial findings are as follows:

      I definitely think that the cubed cheese is the way to go. It takes significantly longer for the cheese to melt uniformly over the crust. As predicted, this adds a buffer against the longer time it takes to fully cook the crust. I think it has a creamier, stringier consistency than when it melts quickly and sets on top. I'd say between 1/4" and 1/2" cubes are a good size. Here's my first pizza out from a 16 minute total bake in my Lodge cast iron skillet (before I topped it with sauce):

      Click image for larger version  Name:	pizza1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	370.2 KB ID:	668778

      I think that 550F degrees is probably the minimum for a good Detroit style pizza. We have a provisional kitchen oven that barely reaches 500F and it requires bake times in excess of 20 minutes for the crust to properly set. I fired up my camp chef 16" pizza topper this weekend: https://www.campchef.com/artisan-piz...accessory.html . The main flaw in its design is that all of the heat is provided from 2 stove-style gas burners below. This results in a large differential between a hotter floor temp, and a lower ceiling temp. I thought that this might actually be a good thing for the purposes of Detroit style pizza. My final floor temperatures ended up being between 580F at the opening, and 690F toward the back of the oven. I did my standard 8 minutes dough and cheese, then 8 minutes more with toppings. The heat was awesome, but definitely a bit too high. The end result was an overly dark bottom and the crusty Cheez-It layer was also a little darker than is ideal.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	pizza2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	171.5 KB ID:	668779

      Despite the dark spots in the center, it was actually quite good. I didn't notice any burnt taste and the higher heat was a boon to the toppings. I was surprised to find that it was one of my better experiments over the past several weeks.

      I attempted to make a "cheeseburger" pizza for my second project. I sprinkled some browned ground beef between the dough and the cheese and then topped it with onions and some seared mini meatballs that I made using bread crumbs, beef, parmigiano reggiano, and an egg for binder. It definitely could have used some peppers and maybe some bacon ... At any rate, I did this second pizza in a generic 9" x 9" dark metal cake pan. The results were definitely not as good. I ended up doing only a 6 minute bake for the dough and cheese phase and about a 5 minute bake for the toppings phase. By the end I could already smell the dough burning on the bottom. The oil in the pan had all burned up and a few little places even stuck to the underside of the pan:

      Click image for larger version  Name:	pizza3.jpg Views:	1 Size:	259.9 KB ID:	668780

      This definitely had a distinctly burnt flavor to it. However, the overall concoction was decent. It looks like the cast iron actually acted as a buffer to slow and even out the heat from the floor of the oven in the first bake (kind of like a flame tamer on a gas burner).

      For my experiments this coming weekend, I will stick with the cast iron. I will try lowering the heat on my pizza oven to somewhere between 550 and 625F, and I will experiment with a slightly shorter baking time.

      That having been said, the cast iron definitely takes longer to heat up during a bake. I would hypothesize that a thin metal cake pan might yield better results if you are stuck with an oven that won't go past 450F - 500F degrees.

      Lastly, I have experimented with half a dozen canned tomatoes to see which ones yield the better sauces. Out of everything that I have tried, I recommend the following:

      1. Carmelina Whole Peeled Tomatoes (San Marzano Style): These were actually the cheapest name-brand "San Marzano" style tomatoes on the shelf. When I first opened the can, I noticed that it was packed with less sauce and the tomatoes were softer and mushier. This would usually be a bad sign, but I was pleasantly surprised. Out of all of the tomatoes that I tried, these had more natural sweetness to them and lower acidity than the other brands.

      2. Muir Glen Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes: I usually stick with whole peeled tomatoes as they tend to be closest to the fresh tomatoes in taste and texture. However, this is one exception. They didn't contain very many seeds, and in addition to having one of the better tastes, the convenience of starting with crushed tomatoes meant that there was a lot less effort involved in making the sauce.

      3. Muir Glen Whole Peeled San Marzano Style with Basil: I did not like their basic organic whole peeled tomatoes very much. However the San Marzano style tomatoes seemed to be much better. I couldn't find them without the basil, but it ended up being a welcomed addition to the sauce. These will require a little extra sweetness to counteract the acidity.
      Last edited by coreyo; April 23, 2019, 01:46 PM.

      Comment


      • FireMan
        FireMan commented
        Editing a comment
        What you are doing is very cool!

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        I have found these to be the best tasting tomatoes for pizza sauce. ATK did a blind taste test, including some of the Muir Glen, and the judges were unanimous in their preference for the SMT. I'll still cook with MG and other quality brands, but this is all I'll use for pizza sauce.https://www.svtea.com/SMT-Diced-Toma...uctinfo/F1816/
    • coreyo
      Club Member
      • Aug 2015
      • 38

      #25
      CaptainMike That's interesting. The SMT brand tomatoes were hands down my least favorite brand. I actually ended up throwing away the small batch of sauce that I made because the acidity was so high. My wife originally loved them, then began to make faces at the aftertaste. The Epicurious link in my original post lists the SMT brand as their second runner up because one of their editor's proclivity for that acidity. Perhaps we can chalk this one up to personal preference.

      The Carmelina brand was not mentioned in any of the lineups that I found. That coupled with the fact that it looks like a cheaper brand led me to just leave it on the shelf initially. However, I came across several references to it in other people's Detroit style pizza recipes and decided to give it a shot. Maybe it would best to say the following:

      1. If you like an acidic bite to your tomato sauce (it seems that many people do), go with the SMT brand.
      2. If you prefer a sweeter sauce with lower acidity, go with Carmelina.

      Comment


      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        Great feedback. We grow and can a lot of our own so are probably accustomed to and prefer (conditioned?) the acidity. Part of the canning process requires about 2 tbsp of citric acid (lemon juice in our case) per Qt of tomatoes. Goes to show that everyone's tastes are different, thank goodness.

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        BTW, I did the German style brick cheese last week. It is basically a Limburger and if you can get over the smell while preparing it it's pretty good. Gawd, it makes me wonder who was the first person to ever smell that stuff and say "Wow, this smells good enough to eat!" Too pricey to continue ordering it when there are very good options available locally.

      • coreyo
        coreyo commented
        Editing a comment
        yeah, I saw the limburger comment on the description and it gave me pause. I've never tried the stuff. I'm told that, despite its strong and terrible smell, it's actually quite a mild cheese.
    • au4stree
      Club Member
      • Aug 2018
      • 552
      • Birmingham, AL
      • Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC), PK360(graphite), Jumbo Joe and PBC. Weber kettle @ the hunting camp.

      #26
      This is a great thread. Thanks for sharing...

      Comment

      • coreyo
        Club Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 38

        #27
        Alright, another week and another batch of pizzas. This weekend I had a nice new Bayou Classic Cast Iron 8" x 8" baking pan:

        Click image for larger version

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        In my opinion this is the the perfect size for making Detroit Style pizza. It's also a nice thick-walled pan which seems to help evenly distribute the heat. As with any new piece of cast iron, I oiled it up inside and out with flaxseed oil and baked it in a 450F oven for an hour. I repeated this step a second time for good measure. After my first bake, the pizza released from the sides of the pan pretty easily, and I was able to pull the entire pizza out of the pan with minimal effort and no sticking or tearing.

        This time I oiled the pan, stretched the dough from edge-to-edge, covered the pan with a wet towel, and allowed the dough to proof for about 3 hours before adding any toppings. I'm still unsure about this step. As you will see, the crust has a spongier, more focaccia-like quality to it. On the other hand, I did not achieve any of the nice big bubbles that I like to see form in the dough.

        I've also been playing around with placing pepperoni between the cheese and the dough. I use the very large, thinly sliced deli pepperoni for this, and I believe that is a mistake. It forms a pretty impenetrable barrier between the crust and the cheese that I do not like. I also think that this step is completely unnecessary if you're going to load the pizza up with pepperoni on the top. If you're going to do this step, use smaller, thinly sliced pepperoni with plenty of space between each pepperoni so that the dough and the cheese can properly meld together.

        For my next point, I just wanted to thank Pequod for his post on Chicago Style pizza (also sticky in this thread). I tried microwaving my pepperoni for about 45 seconds and wringing them out between paper towels before placing the pizza in the oven. I do recommend this step. It accomplishes 2 things: It allows you to get crispier, bacon-like pepperoni more quickly without long bake times, and it drastically reduces the standing grease in the final product. You won't see large pools of grease in this one:

        Click image for larger version

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        I set my Camp Chef 16" pizza oven topper to about 580F in the center of the oven stone, and 620F at the back of the stone (as measured by my IR thermometer gun). The integrated dome thermometer read about 650F. As far as I can tell, this is the perfect temperature for cast iron Detroit Style pizza. I reduced my cook time to 12 minutes total (6 minutes for the dough and cheese phase, and another 6 minute for the pepperoni bake phase). The oil began to bubble after only 4 minutes. The last 6 minutes was more than enough time to achieve some nice, crispy pepperoni. Behold the finished crust:

        Click image for larger version

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        Click image for larger version

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        You'll note that the fried Cheez-It crust around the outer ring is perfectly golden brown without being overly dark. The bottom of the crust is perfectly browned as well. Because of the 3 hour rise, you can see just how focaccia-like it was. Cutting the pizza into quadrants also produced a very pleasant crunch sound.

        The last thing that I'd like to mention is the sauce. In past batches, the sauce has been too thin. This time, I accidentally left the sauce to simmer for an extra hour and the result was a very thick, very sweet, very pleasant caramelized tomato paste. When I did the final re-heat of the pizza sauce, I also added a little bit of shredded parmigiano reggiano to the sauce for some added flavor. Here it is loaded onto the top of the pizza quadrants:

        Click image for larger version

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        While the sauce was great by itself, it did not work for the pizza, and I instantly regretted it. It was too thick and the flavor was too intensely concentrated for the pizza. It detracted from the other elements of the pizza. This is why the sauce should be kept simple. You want to highlight the fruity "tomatoey" qualities in the sauce and the final product should be light and not overly thick, dense, or overwhelming.

        That's it for this week. I've already bought my cheese blend for the next pizzas that I will make. Next week I will experiment with muenster cheese as a replacement for provolone and see what it does. I may also try using shredded cheese again now that I have a good target oven temperature. Let me know if there are any other suggestions, and thanks again for all of the input that I've already received.

        Comment


        • JeffJ
          JeffJ commented
          Editing a comment
          It looks like you really nailed it. Nice work!
      • klflowers
        Club Member
        • Sep 2015
        • 3126
        • Tennessee

        #28
        You need to move to Detroit and open a pizza joint. I am originally from Detroit, I'll move back and be your helper. Just pay me with a slice or two

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Heck yeah, I'd wash dishes for a taste of that pie!
      • coreyo
        Club Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 38

        #29
        Another weekend, another experiment (or two). My previous attempts have mostly been fantastic. However, as always, I know that I can do better. After focusing on technique, ingredients, and equipment, I decided to work on my composition. Up until now, my pizzas have seemed a bit to heavy and dense. After 2 pieces, I'm pretty full. 3 pieces and I'm uncomfortable. 4 pieces ... well only after taking a break. As much as I enjoy eating it, I'd like to enjoy eating more of it. Here is was the focus of this weekend's experiments:

        I've been looking at the resources here: https://detroitstylepizza.com/at-hom...-pizza-recipe/ . They give dough and cheese measurements for a 10" x 14" pizza. I noticed that they were significantly less than what I typically use (ratio-wise), and I decided to give it a shot.

        1: The Dough:
        They use 18 oz of very wet, sticky dough for a 10" x 14" pizza. Then they let the dough proof for 3 hours in the pan before building and baking the pizza. In my last attempt, I let the dough rise during my afternoon nap before baking the pizza. The texture was a bit different, but I didn't see a huge rise or increase in fluffiness. This week, after reducing the dough amount significantly, the lower weight of the dough seems to have allowed for a much higher lift making the crust lighter and spongier. I used 9oz of dough for my 8" x 8" cast iron pan and allowed the dough to rise for about 3.5 hours. Now that I had a clear dough weight for my pizza, I decided to splurge on a slightly better dough recipe: https://altonbrown.com/pizza-dough-recipe/ . I cut all of the ingredients in half and I still had more than enough for 2 8" x 8" pizzas. I made a second pizza in the same pan and did not allow the crust to rise. This would give me a good comparison.

        2.The Cheese: I went all the way down to 8 oz of cheese this time. This dramatically cuts the cost of the pizza. I did one pizza with shredded cheese, while I did the second with small cubes of cheese. Again, this was for comparison. The shredded cheese was much easier to apply to the fully proofed pizza dough without accidentally compressing it or weighing it down. The cheese went on evenly, except around the border of the pan where I piled it twice as high as the center.

        The Result (you really have to click on the pictures to zoom in):
        Click image for larger version  Name:	pizzacrust1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	1.21 MB ID:	675023
        Click image for larger version  Name:	pizzacrust2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	515.8 KB ID:	675024

        This was probably my best pizza yet. It was undoubtedly my best crust yet. How do I describe it? Have any of your ever had pan pizza from Pizza Hut? Right ... I would never order pizza hut either. But if I had, the one thing that I would have noticed about it is how they use some chemical wizardry to achieve light, spongy fried crust with golden flaky brown spots all around. Well this was some deep dish Pizza Hut-level light fried crust! As you can see, there were fried golden flaky spots all over the bottom of the crust. It was as if focaccia bread and angel food cake had a fried love child. The golden fried outer layer gave way to a light, fluffy, airy, spongy crust that disintegrated somewhat on my tongue. Even though I still put a stupid amount of pepperoni on top, the overall feeling of the pizza was significantly lighter and more binge-worthy. I managed to eat 4 slices in 20 minutes. This was something that I could not have done in my previous experiments.

        The second pizza was made after cleaning out the pan and reassembling all of the ingredients. The crust was certainly not bad, but having only 15 minutes to rise, it was not nearly as light and flaky as the first one. Likewise, I found that I had a very difficult time evenly covering the pizza with only 8 oz of cubed cheese. After the first bake phase, there were multiple spots where the bare crust was poking out through the cheese. With such a high temperature and such short bake times, the shredded cheese did very well. I think that, at higher temperatures, the cubed cheese is not necessary.

        Some Final Thoughts:
        This time I substituted Muenster in my cheese mixture instead of Provolone. I did not have a side-by-side comparison, but I didn't really notice any apparent difference. I'd say that you can use either of them with almost identical results. The cheese was still a bit stringy and melted nicely. the flavor was, for all practical purposes, identical.

        I went with a thinner pizza sauce than last time as part of my attempt to create a lighter pizza. I still had water leaking from the sauce after I applied it to the top of the pizza, causing some soggy pool under the crust after the pizza was cut. I'm still trying to find the right balance between a thick paste and thin runny sauce. As for applying the sauce, I found that I could apply the sauce in small drips to each section of the pizza to achieve what looks like a big dollop of sauce that is much thinner. You do not want a thick layer of sauce or it will take away from the magic of the rest of the pizza.

        If the oven gets a little too hot, the olive oil on the bottom will burn up. If this happens, part of the bread might stick to the bottom of the pan. If your pizza does not pull cleanly out of the pan once you've released the crusty cheese layer around the sides, you probably need more olive oil or a slightly lower heat.

        Focus For Next Time:
        I have ordered a Lloyd 10" x 8" Detroit style pizza pan (with mini pizza peel and matching lid). I'm very excited to try it out and compare it with the cast-iron. I'll otherwise be attempting to hone the same technique that I used this weekend to refine the final product just a little bit more.
        Last edited by coreyo; May 6, 2019, 12:46 AM.

        Comment


        • au4stree
          au4stree commented
          Editing a comment
          I gotta tell ya, I've subscribed to this thread and enjoy getting your weekly updates. It is appreciated, at least from this guy. I'll be purchasing a pan and giving this a go soon. Thanks again!

          Best quote: "It was as if focaccia bread and angel food cake had a fried love child." LOL

        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Another great, entertaining, and informative write-up Corey. You have a nice way with words, keep 'em coming!

        • coreyo
          coreyo commented
          Editing a comment
          I appreciate the support guys. Let me know how yours turn out. Let me know what equipment you are using and what works and what doesn't work for you. Post some pictures! Once I am reasonably satisfied with my experiments, I will completely rewrite the first post and add a lot more pictures.
      • JeffJ
        Charter Member
        • Feb 2015
        • 2405
        • Michigan
        • Jeff

        #30
        coreyo Please don't post any more pictures. I'm on a diet and the pictures you've already posted are killing me. :-)

        Comment

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