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Posts posted by Nick

  1. Driving down the highway on our way from Olema (CA) to Victorville back in '87, it was time to eat. I spotted a little Mexican place off the elevated highway and took the next exit and found it. Genuine Mexican. Nothing in English. The waitress could speak some English and brought a menu (in Mexican.) I said I wanted a bean burrito. She asked with chorizo? I said what's chorizo? She said Mexican sausage. I said okay.

    I'll never have another bean burrito as good as that one.

  2. Fifi is safely ensconced by Galveston Bay in her new pad, no doubt plotting ways to torture people who enjoy a few beans in their chili and like this stuff.

    Your smoker looks great. I hope that you get some fish soon. I also highly reccomend gettin ahold of some soft shell crabs and better yet, freshly shucked, on the halfshell oysters. Smoke em in the shell, in their liquor with the heat up pretty high (kind of like the crabs) they don't take long and with a little experimentation you have something that will blow you away (my kids like 'em with Crystal Wing Sauce (not much) on top before they go in the smoker).

    Thanks for the news on Fifi. What is all that stuff on the link? Has she gone vegetarian? :biggrin:

    Smoking oysters is something I want to try. I love smoked oysters. I got a seafood rack with this thing. Real fine mesh so nothing falls through. Don't need it for fish, but it'll work great with oysters... and those small Maine shrimp I froze up this winter. Don't know how they'll turn out but I'm going to give it a try after a quick strong brine.

    Thanks for the tips on the oysters. Got any ideas on temp, how long, and wood to use? I generally use cherry (with maybe a little apple) for fish.

    Man, maybe we'll start a smokin' movement here at Gullet. Backyards, apartment balconies, you name it. That smell of good smoke curling up everywhere. :biggrin:

  3. Brooks, The element doesn't come out, but everything else does. The woodbox, the racks, and even the rack slides. It's pretty well thought out. A removeable element would make things a little easier though. Hosing out won't work with a smoker. You're dealing with smoke. And you don't want a perfectly clean inside anyhow. The first thing you do with a new smoker is run it with nothing inside to "season" it. I like to keep the racks clean and that's easy enough. I've got that big sink I put in that Fifi dug. (Where is Fifi? I haven't been around in awhile.).. And there are three racks with rack holders that have two positions. There's room for a big hunk of meat, or a small turkey.

  4. Ronnie, It looks like you've got some capacity in that new smoker. Is it wood/charcoal-fired, or electric? I first started smoking with a huge smoker I built that was plain wood-fired, but gave it away when I moved. Then, a few years ago, I got a Brinkman charcoal smoker, but that required constant tending and wouldn't go low enough for fish.

    I tried out the Cookshack last night with a baking potato, corn, and a small piece of pork. While it worked great, I realized afterward why I'd gotten this smoker - to smoke fish - and bacon. It'll be awhile before the mackerel and bluefish show up so I went to the local supermarket to get a piece of salmon but they were out and, with some doubts, I got a piece of Pollack. I've never cared for Pollack and I can tell you here and now - smoking does not improve it. So, next on the list is some Togue a friend caught last winter and froze. Oh God, please let us have a good run of mackerel and bluefish this summer. :smile:

    NulloModo, this Cookshack is so well insulated I'm sure it would be fine on a wood balcony. I'd put a piece of sheet steel under it and wouldn't run it while I was gone just for peace of mind. But, it should be fine. The insulation in this thing is so good that you could keep your hand on it all day at it's highest setting. And it smokes good. No need to keep tending the fire.

    HKDave, I looked at the SmokinTex, but when I tried calling them (several times)all I got was an answering machine. Cookshack picked right up. When SmokinTex finally called back I told them it was too late cuz I'd already ordered the Cookshack. Cookshack has great support too. And... SmokingTex is made in China and I'm in the steelworking business... and China has messed up the steel market so much and caused steel prices to go so high that I wouldn't buy a SmokinTex if it were half the price of a Cookshack. PLUS, Cookshack has been in business for a long time and SmokinTex just came along, ripped off their design, and is having it made in China. I've got no use for that kind of shit. I've had it done to me. :angry:

    Okay, rant off. Back to smokin'. Let's keep posting here with ideas. Right now I can say the Cookshack is a fine little smoker and you might just as well leave the Pollack on the supermarket shelf. :biggrin:

  5. Thanks for all the replies! Let's see if I can respond to some of the posts now.

    DLS - Yes it's a Cookshack Smokette, 008. I just got it tonight and it's a fine looking piece of equipment. The door latch needed a little work (it was way too tight), but other than that it looks ready to go. For people with an interest, here's a link to Cookshack's home smokers. The Cookshack forum you mentioned is great. I dove right into it.

    bleudauvergne - It wasn't exactly planned, but it was nice that it showed up on my birthday. :biggrin:

    Ronnie - what did you get for a new smoker?

    Clayton - are you using Cookshack's commercial smokers?

    Double smoked bacon - I can get the pork belly from some friends with a slaughterhouse/wholesale/retail meat shop. I may try having Janie do the same brine injection she does for their bacon and go from there. In the end I'll probably want a little more salt and add some maple syrup.

    Does anyone know how to do double smoked bacon? Is it just smoked longer and heavier? It sure is good in beans. I know that.

    For anyone that wants to mess around with smoking but doesn't want to lay out more than $100, the "Little Chief" works pretty good. Just do a search. Some hardware stores carry them. That's where I got mine. It smokes fish fine, but I tried some sausages and it didn't cut it. Not hot enough. Temp runs between 140-180 and there's no way to regulate it. Other issues are that you have to reload the wood pan every 45 minutes or so and since it's aluminum with no insulation it can be hard to keep the temp up in cooler weather with a wind blowing. In warmer weather and if you don't mind tending the wood all the time it's a good little smoker. Here's a pic -


    Guess that's it for now. Looking forward to getting this thing set up and doing some smoking. :smile:

  6. Nick, how is smoked lobster?  You certainly have plenty of access to that product!

    I dunno Varmint. Nobody's tried it that I know of, but I could try. The brining would be a little tricky. Or maybe you wouldn't brine it. Tough call. Paul mentioned smoked crabs up above and for some reason I can see that more than lobster.

    Mostly, I can't wait for the mackerel and blue fish to show up. I've done them before using cherry for the smoke. Dynamite! I'll probably be trying some herring too. Never done them myself, but I've had others that have done it and they're really good if you get 'em right. Plus, they're cheap as they're caught mostly for lobster bait.

    You gonna do another get together? Probably wouldn't get there but dug the photos from the last one. The dude you got the pig from was someone I could have hung out with - at least going by the pics. :smile:

    Edit: Yeah, you'd have to brine the lobster - or cook it a little first in some really salty water.

  7. I'm getting kind of excited about getting this new electric smoker, so after a long absence from here, I thought I'd bring a little fanfare to this new arrival in my life. I've been smoking fish off and on for around twenty years and if this thing works as advertised I think I'll be doing more. Temp control, enough wood capacity that no need to reload during smoke, and stainless interior. Here's a pic of it -


    I'll mostly use it for smoking fish, but also to try to do "double-smoked" bacon. A German couple used to have a nearby smokehouse and I got it from them, but they've retired. Double-smoked bacon ends are without equal added to much dry bean cooking - soups, chili, refrieds, etc. Hope I can get it figured out.

    So........ If there are other smokers here, chime in. :smile:

  8. You're looking at about 1 1/2 hours from Portland. Longer in the summer when things get tied up in Wiscasset going through town and over the bridge. But if you get past that it's pretty clear sailing and there's a lot more to see than just Primo, as good as it seems to be. The further downeast you go the better it gets.

  9. What Willard was talking about in my original post were large confinement operations and I well imagine those hogs get so deranged that killing and eating one of their captors would come as second nature.

    I've been around pigs since I was nine or ten. We used to raise two or three a year and it was my job to trim the grass under the electric fence. After they got big enough, I'd ride them around the pen. Wasn't easy, but it could be done. Then in the summer we'd have a little local fair and there were contests for us kids and one of them was the greased pig contest. A few oiled small pigs would be let loose in a field and then us kids would try to catch them. It's not easy. You've got to dive on the pig and try to hold it down so it can't get away. Not easy at all when the kids aren't much bigger than the pigs.

    I've never met a hog I couldn't get along with when there are just a few around. It's just these big operations that mess things up. I doubt if their meat is fit to eat anyhow.

    Fifi, did you ever smell a bad cow pasture? Cow shit smells good. Especially compared to pig shit and chicken shit.

  10. I was just over at a different forum where we have a thread going about the nastiest, meanest animals any of us have worked with. Willard had this to say -

    "I've worked on a couple of hog farms. These were confinement operations. Start the day feeding making sure the water supply is adequate. move on to shoveling shit. Get rid of what's left of any dead animals you find because hogs will eat any thing organic including each other. shovel more shit. Don't allow the hogs to surround you or get trapped because they will bite the holy fuck out of you, if you trip and fall the goddamned things will try to eat you. Check on the sows that have piglets, have any of the mammas eaten thier babies? Shovel more shit. At the end of the day after a long shower you can still smell pig shit because it seems to permeate into your pours and you never seem to smell clean..."

  11. In today's Picayune Marcelle Bienvenue has her first crawfish related article of the season (she will write five or six before summer comes) and it contains a good story (as always involving her family, neighbors, and her long suffering husband Rock. THere are a couple of strong recipes at the end of the article (Crawfish Cardinale and Fried Crawfish) that some of you might like to try. Marcelle Bienvenue on Crawfish

    Brooks, That link now goes to something about cakes. Any way to get the original? I've never had crawfish, but would like to learn more. Right now we're in the middle of shrimp season here in Maine, but it hasn't been good. No market.

  12. I've tried and tried to like anchovies. I'm ready to try again. What anchovies should I look for? Here in Maine there won't be a wide selection. Thanks.

  13. Overall, somewhat confusing to read but this helpful hint stood out -

    "If you have time, you should consider having sex. According to latest studies, in half of male species of the planet hangovers are usually associated with magnificent erections. In addition, sex elevates one"s spirit and clears one"s head."



  14. I cut off the heads and gut. Then pat dry and coat first with egg and then cornmeal. Fry in whatever oil you want - I use evoo. When they're done, I pull out the backbone and eat everything, including the tail. I think the crunchy tail is the best part. The smelt HAVE to be fresh, no more than a day out of the water. The cornmeal should also be fairly fresh, not stale.

  15. $11.99 for 500ml of Lucini is a good price. Here in Maine I paid $14.50 last summer and just went back and bought a 750ml that cost me $21.50. Probably the high prices are because the only place that I've found Lucini is at a speciallty bakery that carries OO and some good mustards. On the other hand, I'm getting Colavita at $5.99 for 500ml in the local supermarkets.

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