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Food Smokers: The Topic


Jacqui Ingledew
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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.

I'm on my second Luhr Jensen in 15 years. The first was a top loader and I used the hell out of it at work in every kitchen I ran. Had to replace everthing at least twice but it finally became so grimey that it had to go. My latest one is a front loader - much better design. I own 4 smokers - a Smokey Mountain gas, a New Branfels wood, the Luhr Jensen and a stove top smoker. The Luhr Jensen gets used the most - I do the first 5 or 6 hours of smoking bacon and pastrami in it, then move to the gas fired for the last couple hours to bring the temp up to 150'. I also smoke fish, other meats, and odd things like tomatoes in the Luhr Jensen.

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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

Jim

Be careful with the magnets on your Procomm transmitter - I killed my first one doing the same thing.

Oh yeah - here's my rig

Mock_up_Spice.gif

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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

Jim

Be careful with the magnets on your Procomm transmitter - I killed my first one doing the same thing.

Oh yeah - here's my rig

Mock_up_Spice.gif

Awesome rig! I'd take your logo and add:

" Smoke 'em all. Let God sort 'em out!" ; )

I flashed the idea by Fred Pirkel and he seems to think the magnet's strengh (5 lb. pull) would be okay. In fact he's developing and testing a new module with a magnetic cradle. What were some of the early warming signs (if any) did you notice?

Jim

Edited by marinade (log)

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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Awesome rig! I'd take your logo and add:

" Smoke 'em all. Let God sort 'em out!" ; )

I love it! - Done!

I flashed the idea by Fred Pirkel and he seems to think the magnet's strengh (5 lb. pull) would be okay. In fact he's developing and testing a new module with a magnetic cradle. What were some of the early warming signs (if any) did you notice?

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Awesome rig! I'd take your logo and add:

" Smoke 'em all. Let God sort 'em out!" ; )

I love it! - Done!

I flashed the idea by Fred Pirkel and he seems to think the magnet's strengh (5 lb. pull) would be okay. In fact he's developing and testing a new module with a magnetic cradle. What were some of the early warming signs (if any) did you notice?

It just died - It wiped one of the ICs. The one I've got now I'm going to put a 1" wooden spacer between the magnet and the transmitter.

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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  • 10 months later...

A quick update on the Bradley, two years down the road. I've been very happy with it.

The good: in addition to my overall happiness with it, I can confirm that it's absolutely easy to do cold smoking, at least in New England. Most of the year, an additional tray with ice in it is enough to keep the temperature pretty cool inside the box, and in fall, winter, and spring it's a cinch to keep it cool.

The bad: the racks that come with the Bradley are (1) notoriously hard to clean and (2) very prone to rust. I learned this the hard way after leaving a few in the box over the course of several weeks without having cleaned them. (I know.) I've just ordered a new set of non-stick racks (the jerky ones, in fact) in the hopes that those won't be as big of a problem. Does anyone have any other ideas?

The ugly: I also found that the water pan was too small, which has a major implication if you're looking for a Bradley to set and forget: the pucks stack in the water pan and create a back up onto the heating tray. The result is overburned pucks and a bunch of crushed puck in the feeder mechanism (which is a pain to clean). I got a hotel pan that is as big as the bottom will hold and fill it with as much water as I can, which seems to do the trick for long smokes like the butt I'm doing next week.

Again, I'm very happy with it, but it's worth knowing about those two issues if you're considering using one.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If you go to many barbeque competitions you will see a large number of Weber Smokey Mountains. For the money they are the best lowend smoker available. Normally owners put in a larger water pan and install a thermometer in the lib. They have superior temperature control than other bullet smoker. I have gotten 48 hours from one load of lump charcoal.

I use the Big Chief for cold smoking salmon and sturgeon. They are cheap and again they are simple and do it well.

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  • 1 month later...

As far as I can discern the Bradley is ideal for my particular needs: long-time cold-smoking of sausage and the like. I will also use it for traditional BBQ, but I really like that you can do things like a cold-smoked andouille (24-48 hour smoke time) with minimal babysitting. If my impression is correct, basically all I would need to do is reload the hopper every nine hours, and keep enough ice in the chamber to keep the temperature down. I wish I could find something that could work with conventional wood chips, and I may try to DIY a solution, but that is getting a wee bit ambitious...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The new Vermont Castings smoker I have uses wood chips and is good for cold smoking as well. We've had no trouble maintaining a really low temp on it, and it saves on having to buy pucks etc. It also runs on propane rather than electricity.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The rap on the cost of Bradley bisquettes is off the mark. At Amazon, a 48-pack of apple pucks (which, surprisingly, is cheaper on a per-puck basis than the 120-pack) costs $15.89, or about 30 cents each. Bradley claims, and I've found it to be true, that a puck lasts about 20 minutes -- three pucks per hour. That's a dollar an hour to operate the smoker (excluding electricity). That cost is constant, whether you're smoking 20 pounds of andouille or a kilo of cheddar.

Let's say you want to smoke baby back ribs. The cheapest I've seen lately (outside of ethnic markets) have been $3.69 per pound. With a little cutting and the use of vertical rib racks, I can fit six racks of ribs in the Bradley -- about 14 pounds, a cost of $51.66. I usually go about six hours in the smoker, adding $6 to the cost. Total: $57.66. I've added 11% to my costs, which sounds like a lot, until you calculate cost per serving. If I get 12 servings, I've increased the cost per serving from $4.30 to $4.80. Big deal.

Obviously, if you're smoking denser cuts like brisket, the additional cost per serving goes down.

On a per-pound basis, wood chips are about half the price of Bradley pucks, but in the larger picture the difference doesn't amount to much, especially when you consider the ease of use, precision and predictability of the Bradley -- well worth an extras 50 cents an hour to me.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave, the Vermont castings smoker has 5 racks and each rack will hold two racks of ribs so we can smoke several rib racks at a time. I have also found it to be more precise and easier to use than the WSM that we have. I don't know what the cost of electricity is down there, but I'd rather run my smoker on propane for 6 hours or say 18 hours for a butt, than electricity, although I imagine it's a fairly low voltage for the smoker. We also have trouble finding pucks for the Bradley here, and Amazon doesn't ship to Canada as a lot of companies don't.

We did a butt overnight on the Vermont this past weekend and were very pleased with it. Better than on the WSM. Not saying a Bradley's not a good option. Just pointing out that the Vermont is a decent option as well. :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Dave, the Vermont castings smoker has 5 racks and each rack will hold two racks of ribs  so we can smoke several rib racks at a time.  I have also found it to be more precise and easier to use than the WSM that we have.  I don't know what the cost of electricity is down there, but I'd rather run my smoker on propane for 6 hours or say 18 hours for a butt, than electricity, although I imagine it's a fairly low voltage for the smoker.  We also have trouble finding pucks for the Bradley here, and Amazon doesn't ship to Canada as a lot of companies don't. 

We did a butt overnight on the Vermont this past weekend and were very pleased with it.  Better than on the WSM.  Not saying a Bradley's not a good option.  Just pointing out that the Vermont is a decent option as well. :biggrin:

Do you have a link to the one you have? I can't find any smokers on their website :sad: . Propane sounds good to me, too, but I don't have any idea how much the things use. How much runtime can you get out of a tank? Though I guess over 18 hours would be probably be cold-smoking with continuous ice addition anyway, so maybe having to pop on another tank is no big deal...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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it looks like this although ours wasn't that expensive. Not sure why its not on their website. It seems to appear and disappear randomly on there.

As to the tank. So far we've done three rounds of ribs at 6 hours each, and a butt at 16 hours last weekend, and we haven't had to change the tank yet. My guess is that we'll have to change it next time we smoke. We moved our smoker up to the cottage and have another one on order for our house. It's a bit heavy to cart back and forth. :biggrin:

We've experimented with temp as so far I've been able to get it as low as 140 and holding without ice. I don't know what cold smoking temps are since I haven't yet done any cold smoking, but I figured that was a good test. we've been able to hold the temp easily at 220 for the ribs and the butt.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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We've experimented with temp as so far I've been able to get it as low as 140 and holding without ice.  I don't know what cold smoking temps are since I haven't yet done any cold smoking, but I figured that was a good test.  we've been able to hold the temp easily at 220 for the ribs and the butt.

What was the outside temperature when you were able to hold 140*F? 220*F for 12 hours is a piece of cake in the WSM, lower is more difficult -- I just duct the smoke from the WSM to my grill when I want a colder smoking temp.

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We've experimented with temp as so far I've been able to get it as low as 140 and holding without ice.  I don't know what cold smoking temps are since I haven't yet done any cold smoking, but I figured that was a good test.  we've been able to hold the temp easily at 220 for the ribs and the butt.

What was the outside temperature when you were able to hold 140*F? 220*F for 12 hours is a piece of cake in the WSM, lower is more difficult -- I just duct the smoke from the WSM to my grill when I want a colder smoking temp.

It was last sat, so it was 73F more or less. We held it there for a couple of hours. This was before we put the butt on and I wasn't smoking anything, I was just trying to see how low we could get it. I can't get any lower than 220 in the WSM, but could easily do the ribs at 200 with no problems in the Vermont.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The puck heater on the Bradley is rated at 125 watts. Given that, the cost of power isn't much of an issue (Bradley makes a propane unit, too, but I think it's smaller than the basic model).

If you want to cold smoke, the WSM is simply not an option, unless you rig something up, like melkor's ductwork. That's what I've done with my Bradley so that I can cold smoke in the summer, since cold smoking is usually defined as < 100F, and on an 85+F day (common here), the inside of the box will go above 100 just from the smoldering puck.

Marlene, I'm surprised that you can't find Bradley stuff, since it's a Canadian company.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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The puck heater on the Bradley is rated at 125 watts. Given that, the cost of power isn't much of an issue (Bradley makes a propane unit, too, but I think it's smaller than the basic model).

If you want to cold smoke, the WSM is simply not an option, unless you rig something up, like melkor's ductwork. That's what I've done with my Bradley so that I can cold smoke in the summer, since cold smoking is usually defined as < 100F, and on an 85+F day (common here), the inside of the box will go above 100 just from the smoldering puck.

Marlene, I'm surprised that you can't find Bradley stuff, since it's a Canadian company.

I know. Canadian Tire was selling Bradleys last summer. They had no pucks. They didn't know when they were getting pucks. I couldn't find them at any of our BBQ retailers here either. I suppose I could order them from Bradley, but then, I will always need pucks halfway through smoking because that's how my luck (or lack of planning) works. It's just easier to use wood chips rather than have to think about special ordering something. :smile:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Just to be clear, I can't find pucks locally, either. But ever since I placed an order for $150 worth of pucks through Amazon, the site reminds me every time I log on!

yes but Amazon doesn't ship to Canada! So I rarely log on to it.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I've bought Bradley pucks at Canadian Tire, I've also found them at a couple of small hunting stores up north that have them.

I think I have enough put aside for the lifespan of the smoker.

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