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Food Smokers: The Topic


Jacqui Ingledew
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Aside from Canadian Tire, other sporting goods stores in the GTA carry those Bradley pucks. Bass pro Shop in Vaughn also have a lot in stock as well as all the Le Baron stores.

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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 ...

However the UK cost of those pucks is a big disincentive over here... Especially if contemplating long duration smoking. (But I was under the impression that the intense smoke of the Bradley could mean shorter cold smoke sessions - even if it was a matter of smoke/mature/smoke until satisfied, with perhaps two hour sessions at daily intervals?)

I'd think that demounting the generator seems a better idea than using ice - I'm thinking that condensation (and even humidity) is unwelcome for cold smoking.

My own DIY tinkering is around the use of an aquarium pump to provide a constant (not fire-dependent) flow of, and the entirety of, combustion air, thus giving a constant fire.

You don't need much airflow (100 litres/hr seems plenty), but the air *pressure* requirement seems to be linked to the grain size (actually its the permeability which comes from the grain size) of the fuel. My pump (just about the smallest) could do with a bit more pressure for the sawdust that I have - but it'd probably be fine for chips. And chips would probably burn slower, too.

Controlling the airflow in this fashion does allow a tiny fire to smoulder steadily, with no attention, for hours. Because I can get 90 minutes completely unattended smoke between refills with my crude arrangement of small tin-cans of sawdust, a larger capacity (facilitated by a higher pressure pump or larger particle size fuel, or both) could plausibly give many hours of gentle unattended smoke.

For one only semi-DIY approach to pumped smoking, people might be interested to see the offering on this (USA) website http://www.porkypas.com I've come across another similar offering, but can't currently locate the site address.

My tin cans may look very different, but the approach of using a pump to absolutely control the supply of combustion air is similar, though independently arrived at.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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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.

TheCaldera Tall Boy that I'm using get's down to 100*F but can't get lower than the outside ambient temperature. With an unlit fire box with the fan going I'm able to do jerky using a ceramic heater I got from Lowes. And it does hold a constant 220*F (if that's where you set it) for hours.

Jim

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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Quick update. The non-stick "jerky" racks are fantastic, and anyone who has had problems with the original racks should just get them. They're a bit small for smoking nuts, I've found, but other than that everything else is a breeze.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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...

Just an update on the availability of the Vermont Castings Smokers. My dealer just delivered our second smoker to the house and we had a bit of a conversation about Vermont.

I mentioned to him that the smokers didn't seem to be on their website anymore. He did say that Vermont has filed for bankcruptcy protection, but that the smokers are still easily available. If you have a Vermont Castings dealer near you, they should be able to order it for you, or you should be able to call Vermont directly and order it from them. it took about 2 weeks from the time we placed the order, till we got it, today.

There are also some very good deals on Vermont products out there right now.

There are apparently a couple of the big players in the industry who are considering buying the company so no one is expecting the company, the product or the availabilty of parts to disappear.

We'll be smoking ribs at the cottage this weekend. :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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I have a TREAGER smoker/ Grill. It does a great job. I make a bit of Canadian bacon on it . I have made real Lox on it and a lot of ribs and pork butts.

As a grill, it will get up to 400°F+, It adds a fine flavor and does a decent job of grilling. We use our Weber Genesis for grilling though because, it is easier and not always do we want smoke. Oh yes, the gas Weber is hella faster.

As an hot smoker, it does a great job. It is consistent in temp, and holds the smoke right there too.

I have purchased and added a cold smoker box and hate to admit it but; I do not have enough experience to discuss my escapades. [although I will admit that for some reason I do know, now, not to put a two pound block of Tillamook Aged Cheddar right on the grates and leave it for the night with the fish. [Pain to clean up].

It uses Pellets. They are expensive but; The temp is consistent which means that my times should be both plannable and I hope , cheaper.

For most things I prefer fruit wood and only occasionally use other. I think Mesquite is fine for grilling only and so if I when I have it here in the NW, I use it to burn the garbage. God, it is acrid, and more so if used for any long term smoking!

Robert

Seattle

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  • 2 months later...

I finally pulled the trigger on the 4-rack Bradley Digital Smoker. I went with the Digital because a) it was in stock and b) it looks cool. Wonderful reasons, I know :smile:. I also got to thinking about how to make my own pucks: it probably isn't cost effective when you think about the time it takes to make them, but I think it would be entertaining to try, and then you could you whatever wood type you wanted. It sounds like the binder they use is just gelatin, so if I can get some wood shavings the right consistency I am thinking of giving it a try.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I finally pulled the trigger on the 4-rack Bradley Digital Smoker. I went with the Digital because a) it was in stock and b) it looks cool. Wonderful reasons, I know :smile:. I also got to thinking about how to make my own pucks: it probably isn't cost effective when you think about the time it takes to make them, but I think it would be entertaining to try, and then you could you whatever wood type you wanted. It sounds like the binder they use is just gelatin, so if I can get some wood shavings the right consistency I am thinking of giving it a try.

From a girl who loves to do things from scratch, even when it's not cost effective - how'd you figure out it was gelatin?

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I finally pulled the trigger on the 4-rack Bradley Digital Smoker. I went with the Digital because a) it was in stock and b) it looks cool. Wonderful reasons, I know :smile:. I also got to thinking about how to make my own pucks: it probably isn't cost effective when you think about the time it takes to make them, but I think it would be entertaining to try, and then you could you whatever wood type you wanted. It sounds like the binder they use is just gelatin, so if I can get some wood shavings the right consistency I am thinking of giving it a try.

From a girl who loves to do things from scratch, even when it's not cost effective - how'd you figure out it was gelatin?

I was looking at a discussion on the Bradley forums over here.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'd love one but they are twice the equivalent price here in the UK.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I used my Bradley Digital Smoker for the first time yesterday to make some Hot-Smoked Andouille:

gallery_56799_5407_38334.jpg

All in all, the device is great, but it has one flaw that is very annoying. They must have gotten a deal on cheap LCD displays, because the one on there is a piece of crap. At night everything is fine and it looks really cool with its little smoking animation, but when the sun shines on it it is almost completely illegible. Very annoying to lean over and try to shield it with one hand while running it with another. I really like the ability to set the oven temperature independently of the smoker, something my previous Brinkman lacked. It let me really smoke the heck out of the Andouille, even though it was a hot smoke (I ran it at 170 degrees, which it held to within around 7-8 degrees pretty well, if its temp readout is to be believed).

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Sigh. They're so pretty when they're new.

LCD panels are cheap -- that's why they're so common. But that readout, even in bad light, seems like it would be mighty handy.

It looks like you've got a lot of link-to-link contact, Chris. How long did you smoke? Why did you choose to smoke at 170?

Most importantly, how did the sausage turn out?

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Sigh. They're so pretty when they're new.

LCD panels are cheap -- that's why they're so common. But that readout, even in bad light, seems like it would be mighty handy.

It looks like you've got a lot of link-to-link contact, Chris. How long did you smoke? Why did you choose to smoke at 170?

Most importantly, how did the sausage turn out?

Yeah. It only takes a couple smokes to give them a nice "patina" of smokey haze: I've got some bacon in right now, I would bet that after these two long smokes it won't be so shiny anymore :smile:. And the readout is definitely nice: you can see how long you've been smoking, how long the oven has been on, what the current temp is, and what the set temp is. I add a cheap digital meat thermometer to give me the meat temperature, and I'm set. You can see the details of this particular sausage adventure here (it's an unmodified recipe from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn): Hot-Smoked Andouille.

ETA: As for the link-to-link contact --- there is not much at all, actually. The biggest problem here is that I was impatient, and rather than try to track down some butcher's twine (which I seem to have misplaced during my recent cross-country move) I just laid the sausages on the shelves. I had intended to hang them, of course. So they are not the most attractive sausages, displaying a prominent grid pattern on the bottoms.

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Is the Bradley accurate you going to pid?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Is the Bradley accurate you going to pid?

It seems to maintain the set temp to within about 7 or 8 degrees F. This is probably dependent on exterior temp, wind, etc., but it's within the acceptable range for me. If I decide to PID it would only be for amusement, not for any practical benefit.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 4 weeks later...

A bradley is on my list of smokers to purchase, but not for a while. Hubby would kill me if I brought another one home! I have four now! Finally got an offset that I hopefully will christen this weekend! Probably just some chicken and fatties.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been using a Bradley smoker for some time with excellent results. I purchased a controller from BBQGuru, it is the ProCom 4 with the Raptor power relay. I can set any temps I need and pretty much forget about the smoker until the estimated time is up. The controller backs off the pit temp as the meat temp approaches done.

This controller also does a fine job with sous vide cooking.

I get bulk quantities of Bradley smoker pucks or bisquettes from www.bulkbbq.com. I believe they just drop ship them from Bradley so I would think those in Canada could buy through this firm. The package is four 120 puck packages in a master case.

Hope this helps.

Phil

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I'm in the market for an electric smoker and am looking at the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker or the Cookshack. The Cookshack is significantly more expensive, is heavier and can do cold smoking with the cold smoke baffle. This is not an option on the MES. I've done cold smoking using the soldering iron in a tin can method and just used my grill as the holding area for the meat and smoke.

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  • 1 month later...

Are there any other smokers comparable to the Bradley? I've had the drum-shaped $30 one before (shown below), and it worked, but it was dangerous as it really wasn't engineered well. Pans barely held on, the fire was difficult to manage...

I love the Bradley, since:

1) it's electric. Less mess, easy to adjust temp, plus I could avoid certain fire regulations (county prohibits gas/propane grills on decks in townhouses, which forces you to wheel out your grill from your garage)

2) self-contained. Again, less mess, easy-to-use sliding drawers -- unlike the old one I had, where you had to reach into that tiny door.

3) cold-smoking. Can anything else do this, without hooking up a 2nd apparatus, as I have seen others do?

Does anyone have experience with the Kenmore Electric Smoker?

Thanks for the help. I've been looking forward to getting a smoker once I bought a house; I had only been able to cure salmon (and limes) from the Charcuterie book before this.

PS my old one looked like this:68026.jpg

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I just bought a Bradley smoker and tried it in Canada's cold weather. It took a very long time to get hot enough and when I opened the door to place the racks with the food, the temperature obviously dropped again and took forever to get back to where it should have been all the time.

I think the heating element at the back of the smoker could be stronger... but then I do live in cold icy Canada.

Edited by Magictofu (log)
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I love my SmokinTex electric smoker! I use it alot! In fact. just smoked two slabs of salmon Monday night. It is so easy to use and gives consistent results. Cook Shack makes a similar model, but I like the SmokinTex best. See it at:

www.smokintex.com

Bob R in OKC

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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I was seriously looking at the Cookshack but today bought a Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker. Not my ideal smoker but for the price and loads of positive reviews from the smoking meat forum to everywhere they are sold it sounded like a good first start. You can't cold smoke per se in the MES but I've got that covered using a homemade smoke generator and can use the MES as a smoke box for the cold smoking events. I'll report back on how it works

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[. . . .]

3) cold-smoking.  Can anything else do this, without hooking up a 2nd apparatus, as I have seen others do?

[. . . .]

An honest appraisal of the Bradley would admit that in warmer climes -- Atlanta, for example -- cold-smoking with an out-of-the-box unit is iffy from late March to early October. The ambient temperature plus the heat from the bisquette unit will push you past 100 F. You can put it under a shade or keep it in the garage, but that only helps so much.

In the colder months, you're good to go, though.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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A week or two back, I tried cold-smoking a batch of almonds, using the recipe in Charcuterie and a jury-rigged cold-smoking apparatus. (I decided to go with nuts for my first go-round as they're so easy and quick to prepare, and even if the smoking didn't work, I could still roast them for a tasty product.) I didn't meet with a lot of success, and am hoping to get some help troubleshooting the process.

First, the setup. I'd read about the tin can/soldering iron method (and seen

). Simple and cheap. Behold, my mighty tin can and soldering iron:

gallery_7432_5075_21281.jpg

I set it up on the grill, with a rack of seasoned almonds above it, plugged it in, waited until the chips started smoking, and closed the lid:

gallery_7432_5075_101143.jpg

I let the almonds smoke for about 2 1/2 hours. At the end, I realized that because I'm not capable of reading English, I was supposed to season the almonds AFTER smoking. Still, three of us tried them and agreed that they had a nice smoky flavor. I then roasted them in the oven, as per the recipe. The weird thing is that, after roasting, the smoke flavor disappeared. This is a mystery to me.

So, first question: what's up with the smoke flavor going away after cooking?

Second question: how can I improve this setup? Possible problems:

- the temperature. Inside the grill, it was about the same as the ambient temperature: low 40s. Is this too cold for the food to absorb smoke flavor?

- the length of smoking. Maybe, especially in a cold environment, it just needs longer?

- the amount of smoke. There was a steady, but not especially thick stream of smoke; if I could create a smokier environment, I could get more flavor. Two possible solutions:

* do the smoking in the offset smoke box, not the main chamber. It's smaller, and so easier to fill with smoke.

* ditch the can, and just make a small fire in the smoke box. The problem here is keeping the food from getting too hot (I could put it on the far end of the chamber) and keeping a small fire going.

I'm not ready to ditch this technique just yet- but I want to improve on it before I try to smoke something more valuable, like sausages or salmon. So: any suggestions? Smoking gurus, bestow upon me your wisdom!

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Andrew, I've had great success using this homemade smoke generator.

I've posted about it on the cured salmon thread

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...0entry1626715 Post #34

I did not place the smoke generator directly under the fish when smoking as it cook the fish a tad if it's that close. I just wanted to get the fish and smoke generator in the picture. I can get about 2+ hours of smoke on a full can of wood pellets. You can cover your smoke box to contain the smoke. It's been my understanding that a thin stream of blue smoke is better than bellowing thick smoke.

I made a smoked corn soup and cold smoked a 1/2 sheet tray of cut corn for 2 hours. The corn picked up plenty of smoke flavor. Came through very well in the final soup dish.

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