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Wizard of Oz
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Well done Michael. I've always gone to Stevens when I want quality props and effects. They have always been selective with what they carry, being careful to research and only stock what they could proudly put their name on. Very impressive to see such high praise from such a discerning dealer.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Michael Baker
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Latest item...

Astro Ball Cabinet, two styles...

Both are available on my website.

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~michael baker
The Magic Company
barneyfife
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Awesome work Michael as always. And your close-up miracles and sleight of hand are remembered fondly in B'ham
Always in motion is the future
Michael Baker
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Well, thank you, sir! I hope things are well for you and the rest of Ring 35!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Wizard of Oz
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More lovely work Mr. Baker. I call you "Mr." with respect as it would pain me to even imagine building such fine props, let alone going beyond the imagination stage and actually creating them.

Your decal work (in research and application) is becoming more exquisite with every project, and the painting looks perfect as usual.

So, this Christmas, Santa... I wish that all of Michael's future projects are magically shipped to me. Thank you. Signed, WOZ.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
StevieDee
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You're making me cry, Michael! I love the graphic detail on the inside of the box. It lightens things up while helping to hide "that which must not be seen". Great idea.
Michael Baker
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Merry Christmas to all!

Here's a recipe you can try... maybe if you still need to have something decadent New Year's Eve.

Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 9" unbaked pie shell (I used refrigerated pie crust to save time.)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3 large eggs
3 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP good quality bourbon
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F

Cover bottom of pie crust with pecans. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, adding melted butter slowly. Add corn syrup, sugar, bourbon, and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Pour mixture over pecans in pie shell and place on a heavy duty cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for another 35 minutes, or until filling is puffed and set in center.

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~michael baker
The Magic Company
Ray Tupper.
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I just put on three pounds reading that..That's something I can barely afford to do. Smile
Have a great Christmas Michael, and also, best wishes to the rest of the crowd here.
Cheers, Ray.
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A cure for tourettes!
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C*nt!
Wizard of Oz
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"...they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, and Michael's pie."

Sorry, I may be blaspheming, but your pie looks that good.

Happy Holidays everyone!
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
boxjumper
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Beautiful props and tasty pie. Smile
Michael Baker
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Somewhat of a departure from my usual fare, this is a Dalmatian Drawer Box, as requested by a customer for his kid shows. The tail is a wooden gear ratchet noise maker.

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~michael baker
The Magic Company
Wizard of Oz
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That is AWESOME Michael. I don't care who came up with the concept, but it's perfect and the execution is spot on (pun intended). The tail turning is a wonderful reason for making the magic happen...what "naughty" kid hasn't teased a dog's tail? (Although, the magician may want to work in a disclaimer into her or his presentation that dissuades an audience member from potentially twisting her or his personal pet's tail, hoping for magic to happen).
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Michael Baker
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Yeah, it could make the dog cranky...
~michael baker
The Magic Company
QuailCreek
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So do you call him square dog black spots? Ouch...
Regards,
Silverthorne
Michael Baker
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This is my 10,00th post. I'm crossing over to the Valhalla of The Magic Café. Ha! I have not been posting for awhile (although I have shared PMs with several fine folks), wanting to post something significant for this milestone (sentimental fool that I am). It is also my Mom's 83rd birthday today! (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

One of our esteemed colleagues from right here in The Workshop suggested that I post another of the recipes that seem to enjoy a following here.

I had promised to eventually post what follows. The process and a couple photos were put together last year. I think now that the weather is beginning to turn for the better for many of us, it is time.

So, gather up your stuff and have a go at...

BBQ Smoked Pulled Pork

The Smoker

You will of course, require a suitable smoker. You must be able to smoke the meat in a covered environment, using indirect heat. I prefer a charcoal/hardwood smoker. I have about the cheapest one you can buy, a Brinkmann Smoke N Grill. I bought mine at Walmart for $47.00.

This has a charcoal pan in the bottom, a water pan above that, and two grill grates above that, about 10"-12" apart (an upper and a lower).

The Fuel

You will also need good quality charcoal and Hickory chunks. I use the big chunks that are about tennis ball size. You can use the smaller chips, but they burn up really fast and you’ll be driving yourself crazy reloading the fire. (Those who swear by Mesquite should save it for beef. Use Hickory for pork.)

The Meat

Begin with good quality Boston butts or shoulder roasts (picnics). Average 8-10 pounds each, bone-in. You can also buy boneless butts. They should have good marbling. Don't use boneless pork loins or tenderloins, as they don't have enough fat to produce a nice moist result. Save those fine cuts of meat for other uses.

Some people like to brine the meat, or inject it with marinade. I do not.

I also smoked a slab of Baby Back Ribs while I had the smoker going.

Dry Rub

I do use my own dry rub mixture.

1/4 cup Coarse Sea Salt
1/4 cup Paprika
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 TBS Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (pepper flakes)
1/2 tsp Ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
1 tsp Thyme

This recipe is enough for a couple of roasts as described above. It will also have multiple uses through this process. Reserve about 1/4 cup for use later.

For now, rub all sides of the roast(s) liberally with the rub mixture. Don't be afraid to lay it on thick. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

This photo shows the rub applied.

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Smoking the Meat

Remove the meat from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature (covered) about an hour before you begin the smoking process.

About a half hour before you begin the smoking process, soak several large chunks of the Hickory in a bucket of water.

Time to fire up the smoker!

Follow the manufacturer recommendations for your particular smoker. I use a chimney to light the charcoal. If you elect to use charcoal lighter fuel, be sure to let it burn off good to avoid imparting the flavor of fuel in the meat.

After about 20 minutes, the coals should have a nice ash on them. Spread them evenly in your fire pan and add more charcoal on top to fill the pan. Place several of the soaked Hickory chunks on top and finish setting up the grill grates.

If your smoker has a water pan, be sure to fill it in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Some people use marinades, etc. in the water pan. I prefer just plain water, as I feel the flavor will come from the rub, from smoking, and from the mop sauce and BBQ sauce later. The purpose of the water pan is to provide moist heat. Using plain water also make the clean up a bit easier.

Arrange the meat so that there are spaces between to insure good smoke circulation. Close or cover the smoker, and leave it alone for at least two hours.


Mop Sauce

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 TBS of dry rub (see dry rub recipe above)
1 TBS Worcestershire
1 TBS Soy Sauce

You can buy a BBQ mop or as I do, take a length of cheese cloth, staple one end to a length of wood dowel, wrap the rest around that end, and tie securely with a piece of butcher twine or cotton string. It works great!

You will mop the meat after 2 hours of smoking, and every two hours after that.
Only check the meat at these intervals. You lose heat every time you open the cover.

This photo shows the meat after 2 hours of smoking.

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When you do check, be prepared to do these other tasks, too...

1) Mop and turn the meat
2) Add more charcoal and/or hardwood chunks
3) Fill the water pan

Finish Rendering

According to the meat you are smoking and according to the time you should smoke it (this info will be available online), the last two hours will be your time to render the meat. This loosens the fibers and provides a tender product.

During the check of all things at that point, carefully remove the meat and wrap tightly in heavy aluminum foil before returning it to the smoker.

It is best to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, but I often don't, knowing if I keep the temperature of the smoker at the optimal level and cook the meat at least for the suggested time, it will be fine. Experience teaches a lot.

Once Done

Remove the meat and leave wrapped. Let it stand for about 20-30 minutes. This allows the juices to flow back into the meat. If you try to cut it before then, the juices will run out and the meat will be drier.

For classic pulled pork, shred the meat with two forks. Throw away any bone or excessively large chunks of fat.

BBQ Sauce

BBQ cooks will say that the secret is in the sauce! Everyone has a favorite. I prefer a sauce that is both sweet and tangy, made with vinegar, ketchup, and brown sugar as the main ingredients. There is no reason to list specific amounts, as you can play with this yourself to your own liking. Too sweet? Add more vinegar. Too tart? Add more sugar. Balance the sauce with the ketchup. Use a Tablespoon or two of the dry rub mix to give the sauce some heat and complexity.

Additionally, you may want to add some Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, minced onion or garlic, hot sauce, or even a little strong coffee. I do not use smoke flavorings, as the meat has plenty and those bottled liquid smoke products taste terrible. Play until you like it and when you do, write down what you did!

Some of you might opt for store-bought, bottled sauce, but considering the work you've already done, why would you stoop to this?? I mean, really...


Eating

This is what you've worked so hard for!

Some people like a pile of shredded meat topped with BBQ sauce. Add some good side dishes and you certainly have a rockin' feast! Me? I like pulled pork sandwiches. Use a good quality bun, pile on the pork, ladle on some sauce and top with a nice heap of Cole Slaw and a couple Dill Pickles or Sweet Hot Pickles!

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Of course, refrigerate any leftovers. When reheating, I prefer to heat in a small saucepan with some of the sauce.

Enjoy, my friends!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Michael Baker
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ETERNAL ORDER!
~michael baker
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Magic_son
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Congrats. I was lucky to hit 50
Michael Baker
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Thanks! I was so excited that I forgot one of the zeros in 10,000... duh.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Ray Tupper.
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That was well worth waiting for Michael!
Keep up the good work my friend.
Dale.
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A cure for tourettes!
When do we want it?
C*nt!
Michael Baker
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Thanks for the earlier conversation, Dale! I hope Gimpy sees the recipe. Last year, he wanted me to post it. By the time I was even close to having it all written down, the decent weather had passed. Now that it's beginning to show signs of Spring, this might encourage some folks to add it to their list of backyard grilling fun. It's kind of involved, but not the least bit difficult, and the final results are also worth the wait!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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