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Jacqui Ingledew

Food Smokers: The Topic

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Pecan and hickory are closely related trees, and have similar flavor, I think. Hickory is a bit more aggressive in my experience, so that gives you some room for calibrating to your personal preferences. As everyone has suggested, apple is fine for bacon, but suprisingly, someone recently told me that she had discovered a flavor link between it and traditonal Montreal smoked meat.

I haven't looked at the Bradley site to see what's available, but alder and salmon are a traditional match-up -- one that I haven't been able to try.

I can't imagine using mesquite for smoking. It's much too acrid for long exposure; I've quit using it even for grilling.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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The 4 woods I try to keep on hand are:

Hickory - prefer it for larger cuts like pork butt or beef roast.

Apple - really nice for pork ribs or chops.

Cherry - my favorite for turning cured pork belly into bacon.

Alder - excellent for fish and seafood.

I'd like to try some nut woods like pecan or walnut but I rarely seem them in any of the shops I frequent. Does anyone have a good on-line source for cooking woods?

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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It looks like I can get a 60-bisquette starter packet of my choice, so I'm thinking that Ron's suggestions encompass a lot of advice here and would be a good way to go. Thanks, everyone, for responding so quickly -- I really appreciate it.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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T  Does anyone have a good on-line source for cooking woods?

=R=

Ron, This place http://www.barbecue-store.com/bisquettes-2981.htm has been the best that I have used so far. Their customer service and shipping were great.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Just ordered a Bradley from the eBay store of The Yard and Pool Company for $310 and free shipping; this beats every other place I've checked by $40-100. Plus my first three packs of pucks were tossed into the same free shipping deal, and each of those packs of 48 were about $15 -- which is a lot cheaper than the Barbecue Store's prices above ($24 each).

After much hand-wringing, I went with alder, apple, and hickory, btw. Thanks, again, everyone.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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BTW, Chris, congrats on the purchase. I hope you'll provide some detailed reports as I've been really interested in the Bradley units.

And thanks, Bombdog, for the tip.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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BTW, Chris, congrats on the purchase.  I hope you'll provide some detailed reports as I've been really interested in the Bradley units.

Oh, you betcha, Ron. Over in the Charcuterie thread, in fact, I'm already gettin' geared up!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Congrats, Chris, and welcome to the wonderful world of smoking!

Trust you will do something just as soon as you get the unit and give a full and complete report.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'm a fan of the Char-Griller Smokin' Pro, especially if you're just starting out.  It's the same model that Klink uses in his excellent eGCI course, and I got mine for about $150 at Lowe's.  It's essentially the pared down basic oil barrel shaped smoker without frills.  Once you master it, you'll be ready to move up to a fancier unit.

This seems to be the fan favorite over at the BBQ Bible Forums I have a Char Broil electric water smoker, which does ok but is somewhat boring because you aren't using charcoal, just an electric coil with a thermostat. This summer I will be getting a Char Griller. I love the size of them and the fact that it doubles as an extremely large charcoal grill makes it all the more attractive to me.


Edited by repoman (log)

Explore the food, beverages, and people of Wisconsin EatWisconsin.com

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Bradley is quite coy when it comes to giving new customers a taste of their products.

Packs that come with new units often say something like "Bradley's mix' or something similarly vague.

One word of caution-Cherry is quite a strong wood-not for fish at all IMO.

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I just sprung for a Bradley stanless on e-Bay for a little less than I would pay locally because of taxes. I noticed there are several local outlets like GI Joe's that sell the pucks for the same price as on the net.

I am interested in others experiences with the Bradley, especially with cold smoking fish, and namely old fish out of the freezer. I have some albacore fillets, some kokanee (sp) - freshwater sockeye, and king that I want to cold and hot smoke.

Perhaps we have a small advantage being in the Pacific NW as it never gets to hot here and therefore it's easier to cold smoke.

I have big plans to fill up the Bradley one weekend with 20 pounds of pork (ribs, belly, bacon, some hocks) next weekend with a nice brisket..... Am I dreaming?

Maybe we should start a Bradley threat and exchange, alothough there are soem pretty good ones going like, http://www.susanminor.org/

Input,please, about all my wild spectulation.

Dave

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I'm a fan of the Char-Griller Smokin' Pro, especially if you're just starting out.  It's the same model that Klink uses in his excellent eGCI course, and I got mine for about $150 at Lowe's.  It's essentially the pared down basic oil barrel shaped smoker without frills.  Once you master it, you'll be ready to move up to a fancier unit.

This seems to be the fan favorite over at the BBQ Bible Forums I have a Char Broil electric water smoker, which does ok but is somewhat boring because you aren't using charcoal, just an electric coil with a thermostat. This summer I will be getting a Char Griller. I love the size of them and the fact that it doubles as an extremely large charcoal grill makes it all the more attractive to me.

Count me in as a very happy Charbroil electric water smoker (bullet style). I bought oner back in 1998 because it was cheap and easy - about $70 and all I have to do is soak some wood chips, fill the pan with boiling water, load it up, turn it on and come back later to great results.

My original mindset was that if I enjoyed smoking meats etc I'd buy a bigger and fancier unit later on. But the fact is that I can do up to three or four racks of ribs at one time (plenty for me even with a small crowd), the results are stellar and clean-up is relatively easy.

It's also durable. For the first two years I owned it the cover stayed on when it wasn't in use and it came inside in the winter. Then I moved to NJ, left it on the back deck of the multi-family house I lived in.... and used it only once in four years. It sat for nearly the entire time with no cover on it and has now been back in Syracuse for another three years getting plenty of use every summer.

Shortcomings: It's not cool and macho 'cause I don't light and tend to piles of burning stuff :rolleyes: .... and it does have limited capacity. It also lacks the oomph to get and stay hot enough when the ambient temperature is below about 60 degrees but my inclination is to smoke during the nice weather only so that's not an issue for me.

I use mostly mesquite and typically smoke just ribs or butts. But I have enjoyed alder for fish and poultry and have dabbled with oak but found that a little oak goes a long way. I guess I'd best hunt down some cherry and apple.

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^ Me too. Happy Charbroil electric user since around 97 or 98. Always intended to upgrade, but never got around to it.

I filled the bottom with lava rocks for some thermal mass and don't use any liquid in the drip pan (read about that on some forgotten BBQ form). Turns out great carolina BBQ (I live in NC and am required to bring BBQ to tailgates). I smoke a couple of butts every new year's to go with the blackeyed peas and collard greens -- I clip a towel or old blanket around the smoker and it holds 220 just fine.

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I’ve had a New Braunfeld Bandera for about 14 years before the sucker rusted open (not out) and finally I had to give it up. I’ve repainted it a number of times but I needed bricks to keep it shut.

gallery_400_4739_10523.jpg

I was at the Mid Atlantic Barbecue Expo last April and had wandered into the parking lot during the night where a few of the barbecue crews were setting up and cooking. I brought a bottle of single barrel bourbon and my 5-string and was looking around to see what trouble I could get into. During the night while we were passing around the sacraments, ‘cue, bourbon, and bluegrass, I ran into “Shotgun” Fred Pirkel, who is an engineer and owner of a company that designs and manufactures thermal couplers. Besides being an ardent fan of the late great Ernest Tubb, he also designs a device called the Barbecue Guru along with a line of smokers.

gallery_400_4739_48800.jpg

The “Guru” is a module with two probes that will alligator clip onto the grate of a smoker (PIT) and the other into the meat (Meat). This is more than a temperature probe; the module also controls a fan that will stoke the wood or coals of the smoker. gallery_400_4739_7774.jpg

If you set the PIT temperature on the unit to 225oF. Once the temperature is sampled by the unit, the fan stops and the cooker is choked. It resample’s again after a few second intervals and if the temp has dropped it stokes the heat. The probe into the meat is a really cool feature. If you set the internal temperature of the MEAT probe to around 165o to 170o, and the unit is set to “RAMP” mode, the internal MEAT probe will take over the choking/stoking process. The temperature range will hold from 60o to 400o F with the lower end 90o suitable for cold smoking fish. In fact you can use it to cure by just running the fan without any fuel in the fire box. It runs on AC but I’ve seen a number of these units at BBQ competitions that they are running off car batteries and small generators. He makes these units to couple to other cookers like the Big Green Egg and the Weber Smoky Mt and others.

Now for the smoker. The Caldera Tall Boy is designed to be a “knockdown” wood cooker.

gallery_400_4739_12039.jpg

It racks restaurant supply 13x22 size so if you need extra racks, they’re not proprietary and you can use full or half pans as water or grease pans. It’s bolted together with brass thumbscrews and it took me all but 20 minutes to assemble without tools.

gallery_400_4739_38531.jpg

gallery_400_4739_37706.jpg

It’s double insulated and its cover also adds a third layer of insulation to make it even more fuel efficient.

gallery_400_4739_57120.jpg

The mods I’ve done to it (besides the Fast Flames) was to mount the control unit on to a horseshoe magnet so I can put it any where I want on the unit.

gallery_400_4739_81505.jpg

I cooked a Berkshire pork shoulder (from Heritage Foods) over pecan wood and charcoal last Saturday. It was perfecto.

Here's the site BBQ Guru

Jim


Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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So, what about Weber Smokey Mountains? Seems to be a pretty big/friendly community...

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So, what about Weber Smokey Mountains? Seems to be a pretty big/friendly community...

My first smoker was a Brinkman charcoal fired cheap-o. It was ok, but there was no way to really regulate the temps. I used it a few times than just got rid of it. Later I bought a WSM and it was a revelation to me. A wonderful device for smoking all sorts of things in all sorts of weather. I respect rigs like marinades. And I know people who use guru's with their WSM. But to me, a guru is overkill. I have no trouble maintaining a good steady temp in the WSM just by using the vents and being aware of wind and ambient temps. I am always happy with my results. I look at the weber virtual bullet site and see all the modifications guys have made. I enjoy looking at them, but for me, it works just fine the way it came

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So, what about Weber Smokey Mountains? Seems to be a pretty big/friendly community...

My first smoker was a Brinkman charcoal fired cheap-o. It was ok, but there was no way to really regulate the temps. I used it a few times than just got rid of it. Later I bought a WSM and it was a revelation to me. A wonderful device for smoking all sorts of things in all sorts of weather. I respect rigs like marinades. And I know people who use guru's with their WSM. But to me, a guru is overkill. I have no trouble maintaining a good steady temp in the WSM just by using the vents and being aware of wind and ambient temps. I am always happy with my results. I look at the weber virtual bullet site and see all the modifications guys have made. I enjoy looking at them, but for me, it works just fine the way it came

Mike,

You and I are pretty much on the same page about running the vents and external temps and winds. I would run the Bandera to cook everything from sweet peppers, fruit, fish, and all types of cue. What got my imagination up about this rig was it's ability to hold low temps for long periods of time. I had a chance to grab a Meadowcreek TS-60 cooker. You can see it here

I had to pass on it because of it's width. In other words I would have to take down a fence (including poles) to get it in the yard.

I opted for this rig to play outside of the 'cue arena with things like jerky, bacon, bratwurst, and even messing with variations of chipotle and pimenton' along with smoking cheeses. I can use this as a curing cabinet without smoke (and heat) and can even run it indoors to do it.


Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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Any opinions about and suggestions for using Luhr Jensen smokers? I picked up a Mini Chief at a local thrift store and have used it a couple of times to smoke trout. Seems to work well enough.

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Luhr Jensens are fine for light duty smoking-sooner or later the element or whatever gives up and replacement parts are quite expensive it's usually easier to just buy another.

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So, what about Weber Smokey Mountains? Seems to be a pretty big/friendly community...

My first smoker was a Brinkman charcoal fired cheap-o. It was ok, but there was no way to really regulate the temps. I used it a few times than just got rid of it. Later I bought a WSM and it was a revelation to me. A wonderful device for smoking all sorts of things in all sorts of weather. I respect rigs like marinades. And I know people who use guru's with their WSM. But to me, a guru is overkill. I have no trouble maintaining a good steady temp in the WSM just by using the vents and being aware of wind and ambient temps. I am always happy with my results. I look at the weber virtual bullet site and see all the modifications guys have made. I enjoy looking at them, but for me, it works just fine the way it came

Mike,

You and I are pretty much on the same page about running the vents and external temps and winds. I would run the Bandera to cook everything from sweet peppers, fruit, fish, and all types of cue. What got my imagination up about this rig was it's ability to hold low temps for long periods of time. I had a chance to grab a Meadowcreek TS-60 cooker. You can see it here

I had to pass on it because of it's width. In other words I would have to take down a fence (including poles) to get it in the yard.

I opted for this rig to play outside of the 'cue arena with things like jerky, bacon, bratwurst, and even messing with variations of chipotle and pimenton' along with smoking cheeses. I can use this as a curing cabinet without smoke (and heat) and can even run it indoors to do it.

And that makes total sense. Cold smoking is entirely different from the hot smoking I do. I guess people have modified the WSM for cold smoking, but in the original configuration it is NOT a cold smoker

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