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It's been awhile since I last wrote an article and wanted to change it up a bit and talk about one of my other passions.......BBQ! It's the end of summer and I know a lot of you have put down some delicious BBQ and I wanted to share a hack that I think everyone BBQ'er or cook needs to know about!

Yoder Smokers YS640S Pellet Smoker

Time is precious so make the most out of whatever you're doing! My family consists of three small children, my wife, and I, and for the longest time I only smoked what we could eat that day and have some left overs for another meal or two. We'd continue eating it for like 3 days straight and then we had to change it up. I hate wasting food in general, but it hits even harder when you spent hours and hours on it just to throw some of it away. Then one day someone made a post in one of the boards I'm in about a Sous Vide and it caught my attention, but not to cook food. What I was interested in was reheating frozen BBQ without it drying out. I immediately went to Amazon and searched for a Sous Vide and all kinds of them came up. I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I wasn't going to use like most people, so I settled on one for $69.99.

I'm sooooooo glad I found and bought this little gadget! I had known about Souv Vide's for awhile, but had zero interest in cooking something in a bag regardless of how tender it could come out. That's just out of the realm of how I think about cooking. I know that there are tons of people that love slow cooking using this method and one of my buddies said he can make the most tender tri-tip, he even went as far as saying it would be the best tri-tip I'd ever have (Shawn, I'm still waiting to try it ;)). Again, I was only interested in reheating food so as soon as it came in I started planning my next cook!

I should back up here and say that I already had a vacuum sealer that I mainly used to buy bulk meat to freeze, so you will need to purchase one if you don't already have one because freezer burn will ruin what you're trying to accomplish.

I'm pretty sure my first smoke I did to test this out was pork shoulder, 2 of them because I knew I was going to freeze a lot. I usually use yellow mustard as a binder on all of my pork then apply my rub(s). I have used a ton of rubs and my favorite pork rub was R Butts R Smokin' Cherry Habanero and I still love that rub, but I just discovered Meat Church Honey Hog and that rub is delicious!! I smoke at 225-250 until internal temperature hits at least 165, but more importantly I make sure I have the bark I want (sometimes it will take up to 175 IT). Then I place it in a foil pan on a rack so it's not sitting in liquid, add in a little apple juice, cover with foil and let it ride until I start probing at 195 IT. It could go well over 200 until it probes tender, but historically 203-205 has been the sweet spot.

After we ate, I put all of the leftovers in a zip lock and put it in the fridge (meat needs to fully cooled down before vacuum sealing). The next day I broke out the vacuum sealer and started portioning out meal sized portions, vacuum sealed, wrote what it is and the date, then placed it in the freezer. Fast forward 3 weeks later and we're pressed on time to make dinner after coming home from work late so I pulled out the Sous Vide (had to read the directions to understand how to use this thing), grabbed a big pot, and a bag of pulled pork from the freezer. It could not have been any easier, just add warm/hot water in a pot, drop in the Sous Vide, the pork, and set for 190 degrees. It took a total of 45 minutes and it ready to eat! All of the meat reheated in it's own juices....mmmmm. Grabbed the Hawaiian rolls we had and made pulled pork tasted exactly like when I first made it!!! Kids devoured it and I knew right there I needed to change my BBQ game.

Having the Sous Vide has opened up all kinds of options for us even outside of my BBQ, basically all of our leftovers are portioned out, vacuum sealed, and put in the freezer. We do this so often that we had to buy a separate freezer!

I told my wife, from now on every time I'm going to smoke something I'm doing a big cook!

Here are some examples that I think everyone can relate to:

  1. We sheltered in place at my buddies house in Clearlake and I loaded up my Yeti full of already cooked frozen BBQ/meals so we didn't have to go out to eat. After work every night the whole family went out on the boat to either fish, swim, or both, and before we left I put whatever we were eating into the Sous Vide and set it to run for like 5 hours so I didn't have to worry about it. The beauty of the Sous Vide is that it won't over cook your food, it will hold it at whatever temperature you set it at so when we come back home and everyone is starving all we had to do was cut open the bag, make a side, and grub!

  2. For Labor Day we went to our friends family cabin for the long weekend and our turn to make dinner was on the second night. So a day before we left I smoked 6 racks of ribs. I gave a rack each to two of my neighbors, ate some for dinner, and then vacuum sealed and took the rest with us to the cabin. We played in the pool all day and let's just say drinks were flowing all day. When it was dinner time the Sous Vide did it's thing with the ribs and we quickly made some rice, salad, and garlic bread. A dinner for 8 adults and 10 kids was done in about 30 minutes (I didn't freeze the ribs) and of course it was delicious!

Using a microwave or the oven to reheat my BBQ is a thing of the past at the Malinao house so if you're like me and hate dry reheated food I'd strongly advise picking up a Sous Vide.

Right now, my wife and I are eating healthy and focused on losing weight. One of the things I'm working on is cooking our meals in large batches and vacuum sealing them the same way a frozen meal you'd buy at the grocery store where everything is compartmentalized. If I can figure that out without getting freezer burn we're going to be eating quality healthy meals that take 30-45 to Sous Vide reheat! Stay tuned. Keep grilling my friends!

Updated: Apr 30

**Discount code at the end**

Lithium batteries are gaining momentum in the bass fishing world and as the price of these batteries continue to drop, I believe they will become the industry standard over time. Lithium batteries have some serious advantages for bass boats like; no drop in power from fading batteries, they deliver full power until they shut off (I know some of you just cringed, but we’ll get to this in a bit). Quick charge; I haven’t timed the charge time of my Ionic Litihum Deep Cycle 12V50-EP yet, but it can’t be more than a few hours with my Minn Kota Precision MK 460 PC which is a 4 bank 15 amp/bank charger. In addition to other advantages like an app to see your battery life, the smaller profile of the battery itself, 3000-5000 cycles, the biggest advantage is the weight savings compared to an AGM or Lead-Acid batteries. Weight translates into more fuel consumption so taking weight out of your boat not only means a faster time to get on pad, faster top end, but you’ll burn less fuel, and ultimately save money.

I’ve always been one to just buy deep cycle marine batteries at Costco for about $100 each out the door, run then for 2 years, and then replace them. So what changed my mind to drop a lot of money on lithium trolling motor batteries? For me, it was weight savings…I know, I know, my boat (Allison XB21 2+2) is already light! I wanted to run a bigger prop and was having difficulties getting on pad when I went higher that a 26 pitch prop and I felt losing 100lbs in the rear would do the trick.

I started my research, which went on for about a year and half before I ultimately pulled the trigger. I read everything I could find on which batteries were “the best”, to speaking with a few manufactures. Everything I read on social media said you needed 100Ah batteries so I kept going back and forth from 3 12v’s to one or two 36v batteries, but every time I added them to the cart it was over $3,000 so I closed the browser. $3000 is a really big investment and you have to weigh the pro's and con's to see if that's right for your situation. Then I started to see a few of my friends posting about their new Ionic lithium batteries which I hadn’t heard of before. I went on their website and the 1st battery that popped up was the 12v 50Ah and it was on sale in November with a discount code for $435 each…….that really caught my eye. I went back to see who posted about these batteries and spoke with 3 different people who are all running three 12v 50Ah Ionic Lithuim Batteries. They were all happy with them AND have not yet ran them down on the water yet! At the $435 price point I paid, that puts them a little more than high end AGM batteries like the Optima Bluetop D31M at $330 each. The next logical question is, are these batteries worth the extra $105 each? The Ionic Litihum Deep Cycle 12V50-EP are about half the size of a some group 31 batteries and only weighs 14.3lbs, compared to the Optima Bluetop D31M that weighs 59.8lbs. That’s a 45.5lbs difference per battery or 136.6lbs total weight saving for three batteries, that’s a big savings! For the Costco batteries I was running it was just over 100lbs savings for me. I pulled the trigger and bought 3 in November 2019!

How have they performed?

I couldn’t be happier with my purchase! I had to move some weight around in my boat because I had my boat dialed in with an extra 100lbs on the passenger side and the boat would lean on the driver’s side. Quick fix and my new hole shot was drastically better! I was able to run a 27P Promax prop, but haven’t had a chance to test it with 2 people and a full livewell to see if I can run it in a tournament. These batteries are so small that I saved a lot of room in the compartment I have them in, so that’s awesome too.

I’m sure the biggest question you have right now is are the 50Ah batteries enough? We’ll the answer is emphatically YES and it get’s better! I’ve fished 3 tournaments with the 3 12v 50Ah batteries and haven’t even come close to running them down!

As I mentioned in my last article about the Lowrance Ghost trolling motor, I had an issue that turned out to be my charger. Being that the batteries were new my 1st thought was that it was the battery, so I called Lithium Hub and spoke with Martin and he said it's highly unlikely it's the battery and more likely it's the charger, but without questioning it further they sent me a new battery and a return slip. You can’t beat customer service like that! Once I received my new battery I called back to see what the results of the test on the battery I sent back and he said; “you’re not going to like this; but the battery is fine, it was just run down.” Then they had me hook my new battery up and test the volts/amp coming out of my charger and sure enough it was, as they thought, the charger. One bank died and therefore I ran that one battery all they down. When you run a lithium battery all the way down it goes into sleep mode and you have to "wake it up".

It’s important to buy a good battery, but it’s just as important to buy one with great customer service. Things happen and you want to know whatever company you buy from will stand behind their product and take care of you! I give Lithium Hub an A+ on product and customer service so far!

Since the bank went out on my charger I switched my Lowrance Ghost TM to 24v and to my surprise, I still can't run these batteries down!


Most lithium batteries come with warranties up to 10 years! The Ionics batteries come with a 5 year warranty and 30 day return policy.


Lithium batteries won’t be for everyone solely based on the price. For a lot of boats the $100/ea battery option like I was doing was perfectly fine. For serious tournament anglers, I think it’s more a matter of when vs. if you’re going to upgrade. The quick charge, ability to see your battery life on the app, full power throughout, longer lifespan, and lighter weight makes the investment worth it in my opinion. If you're running the Lowrance Ghost or the Garmin Force TM you could test the 24v system first and see if you need the 3rd battery, that's a great way to reap the benefits at less than the cost of one 100Ah lithium battery.

I informed Lithium Hub that I was writing an article and will be including their batteries and asked if they would like to include a discount for my readers and they said yes!

Company: Lithium Hub

Battery: Ionic Litihum Deep Cycle 12V50-EP

Discount Code: m3outdoors5 for 5% off (less than I paid), making them a little more affordable.

#lithiumbatteries #lithiumbattery #marinebattery #deepcyclebattery #trollingmotor #tournamentfishing #boatupgrade #bassfishing #ionicbattery #lithiumhub

Updated: Jun 4

Photo Credit: Rod Wynn

The trolling motor industry has made significant strides and there are some great options if you're looking to upgrade, but there is one feature on the new Lowrance Ghost that makes it the clear number one option! I am on the Lowrance team, but what I'm going to talk about is an indisputable advantage over the others.

Before we talk about what sets the Lowrance Ghost a part from the other trolling motors out there; let's talk about some of the other awesome features.

Brushless Motor

Aside from being significantly quieter, it also draws less power

Fly-by-Wire Steering

It took a few minutes to get the hang of how the pedal responds (which is a lot easier than the one I was using). Once you get the hang of it, it's so smooth.

Interchangeable Nosecone Transducer

The ability to upgrade to the most current transducer in a plug and play way is really forward thinking!

Stow & Deploy

Easier to deploy and stow than any other trolling motor, Ghost has a dual-action gas spring to help push the trolling motor off the deck to deploy. It also cushions the motor and auto aligns itself when stowing to lie flat on the mount. This feature saves your back at the end of the day!

360-Degree Breakaway Mount

The 360-degree breakaway mount is designed to take the brunt of any impacts and will automatically realign itself once clear of impacted structure. An integrated stabilizer bar reduces bouncing when on plane in rough water. Accidents happen and we've all either come close or have smashed into a rock or stump that came out of nowhere. Knowing that I'm not going to snap the shaft is a big deal for me.

Programmable Foot Pedal

I love having the ability to program the buttons on my foot pedal to control my Power Poles and waypoints! The flip switch is another great feature if you're accustom to using hitting the switch on the right or left side.

Full integration with Lowrance HDS LIVE, HDS Carbon and Elite Ti² displays

The ability to create a course, adjust the speed, etc. all from your graphs is awesome!

What is the one feature that set's the Lowrance Ghost apart?

It's the ability to switch from 36v system to a 24v system and visa versa! But why is this a big/huge deal?

The 4 most common boat related issues that happen while in a tournament or just fun fishing are: blown motor, damaged lower unit, broken prop blade, and dead batteries. The Ghost can't help with three of the four I just mentioned, but with a simple reprogram you can go from a 36v system to a 24v system in less than 20 mins and you're back fishing. I haven't heard anyone really talk about how amazing this feature is! Most cases, if your TM batteries die it's most likely one battery that died or one bank on your charger that went out and didn't charge one battery. This feature could mean walking away with a trophy, a W, and cash or a last place finish!

I just put this feature to use!

Here's something that just happened to me so I truly know how big of a deal this is. 1st, let me show you my setup 3 12v 50Ah Lithium Hub Ionic Batteries

The last tournament I fished was the Wild West Bass Trail Pro-Am at New Melones and after a tough day one; I brushed it off, retied everything, plugged in the boat, ate dinner, and crashed out. In the morning, I seen all green lights on the Minn Kota Precision 460pc and went out and had a better day 2. A week went by and I was out to the Delta in the the next day, so I went to charge the batteries when I noticed I had a flashing light that later turned into a red/dead battery light on one of the banks/batteries. My batteries (Lithium Hub Ionic Battery) are only 4ish months old so I assumed it was the battery. Called the company and they said it's highly unlikely it's the battery and more likely it's the charger, but without questioning it further they sent me a new battery and a return slip (AWESOME customer service and my next article will be on them). After some more trouble shooting it was, as they thought, the charger. One bank died and therefore I ran that one battery all they down. When you run a lithium battery all the way down it goes into sleep mode and you have to "wake it up".

With any other trolling motor, I would have been stuck waiting for a new charger (warranty, it's just over 2 years old). Instead, this is what I did:

It took me a whopping 15 minutes to switch from a 36v system to a 24v system and I was ready to fish in the morning!Side note, I fished from 6:30AM to 5:00PM on the Delta (tidal water) and only used 49% of my batteries juice, way better than I anticipated (24v systems draw more power than 36v sytems).

I'm telling you guys, this one feature is a ....I know you all hate this term, but I have to use it here.... GAME CHANGER! Is the Lowrance Ghost the perfect trolling motor? No, but it's pretty close! I'm here at answer any questions you guys might have so feel free to message me on Mike Malinao Outdoors Facebook.

Heads up, my next article will be lithium batteries and if they're right for you. Spoiler alert, I'm working on getting a discount code (M3Outdoors5) for my readers!

#lowrance #lowranceghost #trollingmotor #ultrex #minnkotaultrex #garminforce #motorguide #motorguidetourpro #36v #24v

**Edit, just learned the Garmin Force TM also has the ability to go from 36v to 24v**