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Jacqui Ingledew

Food Smokers: The Topic

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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.

Thanks. If I can rig up something cheaply, maybe the wife wouldn't mind the ugliness versus saving hundreds of dollars.

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

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? 

Andrew,

I am not an expert but know that meats and fish absorb smoke flavor best when they are cured and cold.

Nuts are completely different and it seems intuitive that the cooking process without smoke eliminated that flavor. The answers is to hot smoke the nuts at the same temp and for the same time as your roasting period.

Maybe we have some experts to confirm these assumptions.

Tim

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After a mechanical mishap with my Bradley (no longer under warranty, mind you), I've just learned that the swell folks at Bradley are going to be sending a slightly dinged replacement model. If you've ever tried to deal with something past the warranty, you know how remarkable this is, and it confirms the positive reputation that Bradley's customer service people have.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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After a mechanical mishap with my Bradley (no longer under warranty, mind you), I've just learned that the swell folks at Bradley are going to be sending a slightly dinged replacement model. If you've ever tried to deal with something past the warranty, you know how remarkable this is, and it confirms the positive reputation that Bradley's customer service people have.

Hmmm. Just another reason that the low-tech Weber Kettle is a mighty fine smoker. Purchased in 1987, and outside of a minor repair, looks like it will keep on ticking for a LONG time. (Although I am about to upgrade from an oven thermometer for internal temp thermometer, or that Mavrick smoker thermometer; after all, I'm worth it.)


Edited by snowangel (log)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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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

I'm seriously considering buying a Masterbuilt ($218 from Amazon), so I'm happy to see your posts here and in the Dinner! forum.

I'd love to be able to use it as a cold smoker. If your smoke generator works, could you also write about its construction details? (I'm not good at figuring out stuff like that from scratch but can follow someone else's instructions or guidelines.) Thanks.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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Alex, so far I'm pretty happy with the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse. Uses wood very conservatively, is easy to use and well insulated. The digital display makes it very user friendly.

The only negative feedback I seen on this smoker is that after a while the wires that connect to the heating element can corrode and fail. If this happens you can replace the stock wires with some heavy duty high heat wiring once you get into the back of the unit. I have read of a few people that have had this problem. Some sooner than others. This is certainly a design flaw that should be recognized by Masterbuilt by now yet I don't think they have addressed the problem.

My cold smoke generator works well but I did run into a problem when using it with the MES. The MES is so well insulated that I got a significant temperature rise when using the MES as a smoke box with the cold smoke generator set at the bottom. I melted my first batch of cheese. Live and learn. Next time I will add a tray of ice and monitor well. The cookshack uses a cold smoke baffle which an insulated tray that you use in the smoker and set a tray of ice on top of it when cold smoking.

The cold smoke generator is made from a canned vegetable can. Just cut the top so it's hindged and cut a hole in the top of the lid. I have seen others cut a hole in the side of the can near the bottom instead. Either way fill the can with wood chips or pellets and insert a soldering iron in the hole. I would advise heating the can to the point that any coatings are burnt off before using with food. I stuck mine on my gas range with the hood on and it put off quite a bit of foul smoke until the coatings were burnt off. You could use this generator in your grill or use a cardboard box as a smoke box just as easily. Again the MES will work as a cood smoke box but you do need to make sure that the temperatures don't go above your target range.

The other day I cooked salmon two ways. Hot smoked and cold smoked. While part of the salmon was in the smoker I set a rack on a couple of bricks over the vent hole in the top of the MES and placed the brined salmon to be cold smoked on top of the rack. A disposable foil pan was inverted on top of the salmon to trap the smoke coming from the smoker. I didn't put the salmon directly over the vent as the air coming from the smoker was a little too warm. Worked well. Both salmons took 2 hours. The hot smoked salmon we ate that night and the cold smoked salmon we ate through the week for breakfast.

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How quickly does the wood get used up in the Masterbuilt? Do you have to replace it during cooking, or is the initial amount generally enough for a hot smoke?

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The Masterbuilt is pretty effecient with wood. I use chunks that I split down so they fit in the delivery chute better. I can get about 2 hrs of smoke from a few chunks before having to reload. I don't want bellowing smoke anyway. Just thin blue smoke. You will first get a lot of smoke once they chunks start smoking good then it settles down.

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The Masterbuilt is pretty effecient with wood.  I use chunks that I split down so they fit in the delivery chute better.  I can get about 2 hrs of smoke from a few chunks before having to reload.  I don't want bellowing smoke anyway.  Just thin blue smoke.  You will first get a lot of smoke once they chunks start smoking good then it settles down.

Thanks for the info. Next time I'm at Cabela's I'll have to check it out in person.

Looks like the rig pictured at the bottom of the page should work as a cold smoking setup too, without any worry about too much heat or having to add ice.

http://foodartisan.net/making_sausage/cold_smoking.php

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The Masterbuilt is pretty effecient with wood.  I use chunks that I split down so they fit in the delivery chute better.  I can get about 2 hrs of smoke from a few chunks before having to reload.  I don't want bellowing smoke anyway.  Just thin blue smoke.  You will first get a lot of smoke once they chunks start smoking good then it settles down.

Thanks for the info. Next time I'm at Cabela's I'll have to check it out in person.

Looks like the rig pictured at the bottom of the page should work as a cold smoking setup too, without any worry about too much heat or having to add ice.

http://foodartisan.net/making_sausage/cold_smoking.php

Easier than that is the tin can cold smoke generator. Take a 16 oz can and open the top but leave a hinge. I now drill a hole near the bottom of the can to insert a soldering iron. Heat the can screaming hot to burn off any coatings on the metal. Now you have a cold smoke generator. Fill with chips or pellets and insert the soldering iron. In the Masterbuilt I place a couple of frozen foam packs to help keep the temperature down as low as I can. Here in Florida the ambient temperature can be near 80-90* or more plus the minimal heat from the soldering iron and smoldering chips, added to the well insulated smoker and temps can climb to over 100*. The ice packs really help keep it in check. The set up you listed above will certainly work, the can is just very easy and effective.

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I ended up picking up the Masterbuilt yesterday. Turns out it's an extra $50 off at the CT Cabela's (maybe other ones as well) so I could not resist.

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I ended up picking up the Masterbuilt yesterday.  Turns out it's an extra $50 off at the CT Cabela's (maybe other ones as well) so I could not resist.

Terrific price at Cabela's

I plan on tossing a spice rubbed corned beef brisket on mine for some fresh smoked pastrami

CIMG5913.jpg

Enjoy yours


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

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Finished pastrami. It was sliced cold so doesn't show as much juice as when heated.

CIMG5946.jpg

CIMG5944.jpg

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Chris, I smoked it on my Masterbuilt Electric smoker for almost 8 hours. I kept smoke going for the first 4-5 hours. Woods used were hickory, apple, oak and sea grape; the sea grape grows in my back yard.

You won't get smoke rings when using these well insulated electric smokers on average. They are too efficient in the use of wood. A couple of chunks will smoke for around 2 hours so there is not sufficient nitrogen given off to contribute to the development of a smoke ring. Good thing is the smoke ring does not contribute to taste. Some people will toss a couple of charcoal brickets in a long with the wood chunks to get a smoke ring if it's desired.

I used a prepared corned beef brisket flat and made a rub of cracked black pepper, coriander seeds and mustard seeds. During the last couple hours in the smoker I had the meat in a foil pan with a some liquid that consisted of water, Dijon mustard and some left over rub. I took it to an internal of 200*f wrapped it in foil until it cooled some then sliced a few slices to taste it. I ended up cutting it up this morning. Now I just need to run out and get a nice rye bread and will be in pastrami heaven.

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I just ordered my meat grinder and sausage stuffer, so the smoker is not too far in the future anymore :-)

I think I'll probably get a Bradley, they seem to work very well and it's not that big. The cost of the pucks is really not that extreme either, BUT, I somewhat don't like that I can't use any wood I want. I want to make some German style things that use wood that Bradley does not puck up. Did anybody have any success making their own pucks? I'd guess it's a rather involved thing to do? And I might never even get around to those things, just that little Nagging Guy in the back of my head is doing a silly can't-use-any-wood-you-want-ney-ney dance~~~

But I don't want a unit that I have to babysit every hour or so, I just don't have the time to do that.

I'll get the original and get an Auger PID, they have one that can be used for SouVide too, seems a good idea :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Can anyone comment at all on how well the stove top smokers work or how good the results are? I live in an apartment and unfortunately can't have a real smoker. I went on Amazon and found this one which surprisingly had great reviews. The price was decent so I picked one up and am waiting for it to arrive.

If anyone has any good tips or recipes for one of these babies please let me know.

Thanks~

WBC

http://www.amazon.com/Cameron-Cookware-Sta...39159395&sr=8-1

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Can anyone comment at all on how well the stove top smokers work or how good the results are? I live in an apartment and unfortunately can't have a real smoker. I went on Amazon and found this one which surprisingly had great reviews. The price was decent so I picked one up and am waiting for it to arrive.

There is at least one pretty good thread on indoor smokers already.

Until I moved to a house a year ago, I was in the same apartment-dwelling boat as you, jonesing for smoke. My experience with my Cameron smoker is that it's very good at certain things: mostly, small pieces of meat that don't require long smoking. Chicken wings are terrific (finish them under the broiler to crisp the skin). Fish is good, as are chicken and duck breasts. Sausages are tasty, too. Vegetables are okay, though the Cameron smoke chips have a slightly acrid flavor that can overwhelm the vegetables.

What doesn't work especially well are big pieces of meat. You do NOT want to smoke something for an hour or more: it will have a bitter, intense flavor that is unpleasant. You can smoke a pork shoulder for ~45 minutes, finish it in the oven, and chop or pull the meat, mixing it all together, and get something that isn't as good as long-smoked meat, but is about as good as you can manage in an apartment.

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I'm long looking for a smoker to buy, almost got a Bradley, but so far I was put off by the technical problems those have, like the pucks not advancing or the plastic front piece cracking. Things like that tick me off, especially if they are known, no matter how good service might be. I do NOT ever want to talk to service, particularly not about issues that are known but not fixed for a long time.

I'm also put off by the pucks, not so much the cost, but the fact that I'm locked into what ever wood they provide. I'm more and more drifting towards just a regular oldfashioned little smoke house kind or maybe even build something myself, I have a hilly lot with quite some unused areas.

I'd love something that I can set and forget, I'm just not that convinced by the options that don't cost a fortune. Was anybody ever able to make their own pucks for the Bradely? I would like to smoke some European style things and they use wood that is not usually used here.

Just one of those things with too many options, each with their pros and cons. Might still spring for a Bradley since they seem nice and compact, right now I'm very undecided. Just used my weber to smoke a bacon that turned out fantastic too, so....

Decisions, decisions.....


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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You do NOT want to smoke something for an hour or more: it will have a bitter, intense flavor that is unpleasant.

One of the problems with the indoor smokers is the pan is sealed up. Smoke has creosote which will give food a bitter acrid taste. Smokers should have good air flow so the smoke passes over the food and then exit. Thin blue smoke is what most into smoking are looking for. As long as you have that you are golden.


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

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Ah, the creosote! That makes sense.

I wonder what would happen if you left the smoker open a crack to let the smoke out. If you had it on a burner at a low temperature, you'd get a decent smoking period, at the end of which you could put in new wood. It'd be a massive PITA, and would play havoc with the temperature of whatever you were smoking, but might let you smoke something for a couple of hours, anyway, giving it more flavor before you finished it in the oven. If I were still living in my apartment, I might try it out.

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Question to Chris H. and others that might have one, I'm just about to hit "place order" for a Bradely Original and was wondering if you're still happy with your unit. If I recall correctly you have the digital one? I'm thinking of the original and getting the Auber PIT that can also be used for Sous Vide down the road. I've looked at just about any smoker out there, the Bradely seems to deliver the most for the money and it doesn't look like a steam engine parked in the yard.

I'm also probably ordering the jerky grills that are Teflon covered, heard good things about them.

did you make any modifications to your Bradley? I'm still a bit hesitant regarding puck problems, cracked front plastic part (where the feet are) etc. Also, does it leak juices? I'm going to have a brand new deck soon and if I stain that with smoky meat juices I'll be in serious trouble....

Thanks!

oliver


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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