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Oct 03, 2017

Why a Backyard Meat Smoker Just Might Change Your Life

Editor's note: From time to time, we like to feature the voices of ManMade readers on the site. We love hearing what you're up to, what you're making, and how you stay creative. When ManMade reader Scott Huntington wrote in to share how he hadn't fired up his grill once for the entire summer and it revolutionized his cooking, I asked him to share his experience. 

My life changed forever this summer. It was the summer I didn’t grill a single time. It was also the summer I made the best meats I’ve ever had, all because of a simple backyard ssmoker. It took my cooking level from “yeah I’ll eat that” to “I need to share this with the world.” And it couldn’t be easier.      

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Sep 19, 2017

How to: Make DIY Rustic Masculine Candles

How to make a reusable rustic candle. Photos: Gabriel Cabrera

Can't get into the floral smells and garish artwork of storebought candles? Nope, us either. So  we came up with our very own DIY version to make a reusable rustic candle that any guy can be proud to burn in his home. (Or log cabin?)

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Sep 12, 2017

Never Buy It Again: Three Ways to Make Your Own Killer Ginger Beer

Dark and Stormy Ginger Beer

One of my favorite cocktail mixers is the spicy ginger beer, used for the summer favorite "Moscow Mule", or evening sipper, the "Dark and Stormy." But I've had enough of the spendy, over-sweetened bottles from the supermarket, so I figured: it's time to make our own. Here are three ways to make an extremely tasty version happen at home. 

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Aug 08, 2017

If You're Not Doing This Every Time You Grill, You're Missing Out on Serious Flavor

During summer, it's my goal to bust out the charcoal and chimney starter as much as possible. Call it a masculine stereotype if you must, but I never miss an opportunity to take advantage of extended daylight to cook dinner outside. It avoids heating up the house with the oven, and, of course, makes everything taste amazing.

And, if you want you grilled food to taste even better, here's my tip. It takes all of five seconds to set up, and takes your meal up to the next level:     

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Aug 02, 2017

Hit the Trails: 6 Next-Level Gear Items to Take with You On Your Next Car Camping Trip

There's something about a winding road. It's still a bit wild and rebellious, like nature hasn't completely given in to the straight line of civilization just yet. That's the kind of highway that I think of when I want to take a road trip, and no road trip is complete without a day or two of car camping. For me, car camping is a great mix between roughing it and going posh in a rented bed. I just seem to find a lot more enjoyment when I can bring just a few more pieces of gear along, but still sleep outside. Here are a few of my favorite pieces I take with me on every car camping adventure these days.   

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Jul 19, 2017

How to: Start a Campfire with One Match

created at: 05/07/2014

Starting a fire is an essential life skill, for sure, and most of us have our preferred technique: the lean-to, the tepee, the log cabin. But, even though most fires aren't started in emergency, or even in one-match situations, that's part of the fun. Once you've learned how to do it without turning a gas knob or lighting one of those Duralast logs, lighting a fire with one match (or spark from a starter) becomes part of the game, even if you have a whole box at your side.    

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Jul 14, 2017

Should We All Be Putting Pickles in Our Beer? (Answer: Yes)

You know how an olive in your martini tastes awesome? Or the necessity of a pepperoncini in a Bloody Mary? Those salty, vinegary flavors seriously enhance the flavor of a beverage, somehow becoming more of themselves in the presence of ethanol. So, ready for the next step and inevitable conclusion this summer? Put a pickle in your beer. 

Yeah, seriously. Trust us on this one.    

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Jun 26, 2017

These Military Packing Secrets Will Make You a Better Traveler

The solar calendar has finally acknowledged what we've all know for a few weeks: it's summer. And with that most blessed of seasons comes the opportunity to get out of town and see the world in all its sun-soaked splendor.

The trick for making all this happen as easily and frequently as possible. Pack lightly, my brothers and sisters.    

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Jun 23, 2017

How to Make a Better Vodka Soda

In wintertime, I'll gladly take a complicated cocktail. Something made with rich spirits, amber brown from barrel aging, made more tasty with fortified syrups, flavorful modifiers, and just-so preparation. These drinks are imbibe-abble equivalent of a long simmered soup or stew, designed to make you feel warm inside when the weather is not.

But summer is a whole different beast. It's already warm — too warm — and your drink's job is to cool you down while keeping everything easygoing. You need something that works while standing next to the grill, or for sipping on the deck with your feet up.

Enter the vodka soda. It's deceptively

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Jun 09, 2017

How to Pack Your Backpack Like a Pro

Turns out, getting fully outfitted is only half the battle. Once you've selected all your gear, it's important to pack it up right for both balance and ease when carrying and access when you need it.    

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Jun 02, 2017

Fly Fishing Basics: Everything You Need to Get Started

Did you know there are more fish in the water than stars in the sky? S

eriously, the water you have within a few minutes of your house is almost guaranteed to be sheltering a school of those fin-tailed creatures just below the surface. All those mouths have to eat, and it's easier than you think to get started in the timeless art of fly fishing.   

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May 31, 2017

These Are Questions You Should Be Asking Around the Campfire

Have you noticed? It's summer! It's the time of year when we dust off the backyard with friends and linger late into the night. There are so many great conversations I remember around a flickering fire, and I'm looking forward to more this year. But good conversations don't always come easy, so here are a few tips to get into the kind of convos you'll remember for years. 

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May 30, 2017

How to: Everything You Need to Create a Great Backyard Movie Experience

created at: 06/16/2015

Remember when you were a kid, and you never went inside during the summer, except to ask permission from your parents to run around the neighborhood with that new kid you just met, or to get another PB&J, which you promptly marched right back outside?

Let's all do that again. Let's embrace bare feet, and staying up too late, and smell like chlorine and sunscreen. Let's have a summer.    

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May 17, 2017

Get Ready for Summer: How to Calibrate Your Grill Thermometer in Time for Barbecue Season

created at: 05/24/2016

Turning out perfectly grilled foods in your own backyard requires balancing two important variables: time and temperature. Too hot, and the food gets overly blackened and burnt before it's cooked through. Too short, and the surfaces don't have enough time to caramelize, brown, and develop that characteristic charred flavor that makes grilling worth the effort in the first place.

A solid grill thermometer can help, but here's the bad news: standard bi-metal dial thermometers, the kind present in almost all backyard grills and smokers, can be off by as much as 75° F in either direction. Which, if you're going for low and slow cooked flavors of barbecue, is enough to totally ruin your meal and your day. Here's how to fix it. 

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May 10, 2017

How to: Make Your Own Iced Coffee Soda

coffee soda

Now that the days are warming up the thought of a hot latte with milk and cinnamon sure adds a drop of sweat to my brow. It's usually this time of year, I swap my typical addiction to hot coffee to sweet, syrupy iced coffee. I just can't get enough of the stuff!

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May 03, 2017

Clever Cocktail Presentation Trick: How to Make an Ice Wedge Glass (for Free!)

A few weekends ago, my wife and I went out for a special dinner to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. (Hi sweetheart!) We opted to enjoy a few beers with our meal, but the table next to us had ordered cocktails. They each showed up with the glass half full of color - slanted, and with the liquid on the top. Initially, I thought it was simply a triangular shaped glass, where the bottom angle was simply solid, but as I looked closer, I realized, in fact, it was a frozen wedge of solid ice, attached to the glass so it maintained the effect. 

I asked the server how it was done, and she told me the bartender had a bunch of little rubber molds that fit the glass, and the whole thing goes into the freezer. She said they were cool, but only fit the certain glass they came with; so only a certain number of cocktail recipes are served in them, and they run out each night.

A few days later, I looked it up to see if I could pick up one or two. I found the product - it's a glass with a custom silicone insert that freezes the ice at a perfect 45° angle, cutting right down the center. They cost about $20 each, and are kinda cool.

But - they're also unnecessary. Because you can achieve the same effect without spending a dime, using any rocks glass you already have. Here's how to do it.       

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Apr 20, 2017

A DIY Weed Killer That Actually Works

Spring seems to have arrived overnight, and with it comes the explosion of green as everything wakes up from its winter nap. First up? Time to fend off the weeds. . . and please don’t reach for that toxic stuff. It’s nasty for you, your yard, and everything around it. Instead, try this safer and super effective recipe.   

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Mar 30, 2017

10 Essential Gin Cocktails You Should Try This Spring

created at: 04/09/2014

Any time of year, gin is a favorite spirit. It mixes well while retaining its character, and its aromatics complement a great range of flavors. But there's something so special, so obvious, about gin and springtime. If flavors had colors, gin's would be green, and it's a perfect chance to start putting ice back in our cocktails because the external temperatures are finally bearable.   

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Oct 07, 2016

How to: Make a Swedish Flame

created at: 01/21/2016

What's a Swedish flame? Something you can buy at IKEA? No sir.

If you haven't seen one of these Swedish Flame logs lately, they definitely need to be the star of your next outdoor fire. Its genius design allows the fire to burn from the inside out which means little to no tending from you! 

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Aug 29, 2016

What's Good for August 2016: What We're Reading, Watching and Listening to This Month

What's Good - August 2016

We're back with some of our favorite media for you to devour as the summer draws to a close. Here's what's good:

Reading

Chris:

I'm about two-thirds of the way through A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. It's a fictional exploration of the shooting of Bob Marley in December 1976, and the following decades of political, social, and criminal aftermath. I won't lie - it's intense. It has 50+ characters (and one of those little dramatis personae keys at the beginning, which I reference about every three pages). It feels like reading Joyce's Ulysses ... Biblical in scale, and I'm looking up some fact or reference (or rocksteady

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