HOME > Chowhound > BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling >

Discussion

Emson Pressure Smoker.

I smoked a whole chicken a few weeks ago.

I had brined the chicken for a day, seasoned it, kept it in the fridge, then put it in the smoker the next day. This is a similar process to how I make the roasted chicken.

I put 6 woodchips in the cup.

After smoking for 50 minutes, my intention had been to finish it off in the oven on the vertical roaster which I've used for roasting chickens. I wanted to finish browning it. However, I could not do that. The chicken was breaking in half from the bone as I removed it from the smoker. It broke easily.

However, I still wanted to finish it off by roasting it, because I had planned to do that. So I put it in a baking dish and baked it for 20 minutes.

As you can see anyways, it was probably sufficiently browned after smoking it.

The taste:

Because it was a whole chicken, I ate it over several days. The first few days I ate it, the smoke flavor was very light, or just tasted weird. I don't know if it was too strong or what, but it just seemed off.

But, a few days after that, as I started to eat different parts, the smoky flavor was awesome. It was just the way I would have wanted it to be.

I think the dark meat tasted better smoky than the white meat, in general.

One other observation seemed to be that the seasoning didn't come through for most of the chicken. My intention had been to get the seasoning flavor of a roasted chicken, with an added smoky flavor. But this seemed to be either smoky flavor, or nothing. I don't think this was because of the amount of seasoning I used, as used the same amount as I would if I were to roast a chicken, and I have that part down. So even if it appears to be seasoned on the outside, I just couldn't taste much of it.

The cleanup:

While there were a lot of different things to clean (Charring cup; charring lid; wire rack; inner cooking pot; pot lid), it wasn't bad at all. Each item was quick to clean, and didn't require too much effort. There was nothing stuck or resistant.

Probably the most annoying thing was the area in between the inner cooking pot and outer cooking pot. I had some crumbs fall in there, and even when I used a wet paper towel to try and get the crumbs, it still wasn't easy. It's just such a narrow space. And shaking the crumbs out from that area didn't help either.

Conclusion:

Because parts of the chicken came out just the way I would have wanted (minus the flavor of the seasoning), I would say that this device is worth using, but perhaps it will take some experience for me to figure out how to smoke foods exactly as I want them.

When it's good, it's good, I just have to see how to get that consistent flavor throughout.

Pics:

http://imgur.com/a/j2roD#0

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I just have to tell this story about my unit.
    The unit does awesome pulled pork. My son told me the morning of a school event that I had to bring in a bbq "something" for a buffet. On the way home from work I picked up two inexpensive pork roasts, vacuum tumbled them to infuse a spice mix for 15 minutes, and then put them in the emson for one hour each. Then put into a container and shredded with forks. One of the teachers who was "the standard" for doing pulled pork in a smoker for many hours was saying how much better mine was. He was furious when I told him how fast it was.

    You can also cold smoke cheese. I usually take some hennings colby or cheddar and cut into 1" slices and put it on the racks.

    The best use for it though is smoked salt. Get a fine mesh small colander, fill with kosher salt, cold smoke with your favorite chips (oh, sometimes I put in sawdust OVER the chips as well fir more smoke).

    Emson now has a larger unit that I saw an ad for. I will probably get it for an xmas present.

    For things that are cold smoked in smaller amounts, this is great. For pulled pork it is awesome (remember I always vacuum tumble my pork ahead of time). For a beef roast, I found that putting sawdust, much like the cameron stovetop smoker uses, or some pellets on top of the wood chips helps. I love smoked cheese, but am not a fan of the processed types that are prevalent. This is great for cheese.

    A cheap block of cheddar cubed and done with hickory chips, then shredded with a food processor and used for mac&cheese is awesome. Cold smoked garlic cloves are wonderful gifts. As well, onions (quartered) and used for salads, etc.

    The best part is that this is an inside unit. While it cannot do whole ducks/chickens/turkeys (and obviously, pressure cooking does not give a crunchy skin), I am no longer outside in wintertime when I want a taste.

    One final thing this is good for. Instead of cutting, slicing, and etc. to make jerky, do the beef (shoulder cheap cut is what I use) in the smoker (I usually vacuum tumble with garlic juice and hot sauce ahead if time), put into the smoker with a "strong" flavor wood, then into a jerky form (used for hamburger usually) and into a dehydrator. It also if cross cut when coming out can be used with a jerky gun, but that is more effort than I want to put in.

    43 Replies
    1. re: exvaxman

      Thanks for posting, exvaxman. As this is still a new product, I'm still searching for things I can try.

      Also, thanks for confirming that a whole chicken wouldn't give a crunchy skin. That was something I was wondering about after I made my whole chicken. I was wondering if I had done something wrong, but you confirmed that the skin ended up being the way it's supposed to be.

      After reading your post, I'm interested in doing pulled pork. I don't have a vacuum tumbler, but have 3 lbs. of pork shoulder. Can you give me a more detailed recipe? What type of spice mix should I use? How should I cut it?

      Ok, for a 2lb. block of cheddar, would you slice it, or cut it into 2-3 cubes, and then smoke it?

      I make my mac and cheese in a crockpot, so I'm thinking I could smoke the cheese, then shred it, and use it in the crockpot. I don't have a food processor. I have either a mini-chopper or a blender. Could I use those?

      This is the mini food chopper I'm referring to:

      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I...

      1. re: nuraman00

        Cut the shoulder into a couple of pieces, this is a good base for a rub instead or marinating.
        http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/...
        Put into a container after it comes out and separate with a fork, mixing in your favorite bbq sauce. You might want to add a little vinegar to taste. My marinaide is usually a little chili, garlic water (garlic cloves in a blender with 1/2 cup of water or cheap red wine), soy sauce and red wine vinegar. Bag it and leave in the fridge overnight in a good sealed bag. If you goto goodwill, etc. you will usually find a vacuum sealer for under$10. That helps cut the time down. Put into the emson for 60 to 90 minutes with the hot smoke setting. The longer the easier it pulls apart.

        For the cheese, blocks no more than one inch deep. I usually get a block from the store and just slice width wise for an inch. Obviously, cold smoke. I would use a standard grater rather than your mini processor. Another thought would be to wrap the two levels with foil and put on shredded cheese. I have not done this, but I think it would work.

        Instead of a whole chicken, things like packages of thighs are cheaper locally. The meat is very easy to pull off.

        A general thing I do when my time is short is just to marinate whatever meat in wishbone italian dressing. Lawry's does a lemon pepper marinaide that is good but expensive. If doing tough cuts of beef, often you can find a generic jaccard tenderizer for $12 on sale at Kohl's. get the three tine. It does help using it before marinating. Never use a papain based spice mix for tenderizing/marinating. Cheaper shoulder cuts come out great doing this.
        http://www.amazon.com/Jaccard-200348-...

        1. re: exvaxman

          My better two thirds reminded me of one. There is an expensive booze called "canton". It is a brandy infused with ginger. If you marinate chicken parts with this (in a zip bag, get out all the air so you use less) and then smoke it comes out great over a bed of rice.

          1. re: exvaxman

            Thanks for the tip about Canton. I just looked up the prices, and yeah, it's pretty expensive for something that I would use for cooking.

            But, I'll keep that in the back of my mind and I'll probably try it someday. There will be a day when I feel like trying something new like this.

          2. re: exvaxman

            Thanks. I understand what to do with the pulled pork now, I'll try this probably in a few weeks.

            For the cheese, do you cold smoke 1" by 1" blocks and slice afterward, or do you slice before you cold smoke? Either way, I think I'm going to keep it in slices so I can also use it in sandwiches.

            Yeah, I'm going to try smaller chicken pieces next, I just wanted to start with a whole chicken to see what it would be like.

            If I freeze some slices of cheese afterward, will it retain most of the smoke flavor? I know it won't be exactly the same, but will it still be pretty good?

            1. re: nuraman00

              Slice the cheese first. One inch thick slices. Length does not matter, as long as height and width are one inch or less. If the air is taken out of whatever medium you put the cheese in, there should be no issue. If you do not pick up a cheap vacuum sealer, wrap very tightly in thick saran wrap, then wrap in foil, then into a freezer bag. It will not be as good, but the smoke flavor will remain.

              1. re: exvaxman

                Thanks. How many wood chips do you use for the pork, and what about the cheese?

                I have hickory wood chips.

            2. re: exvaxman

              exvaxman,

              When making the pork marinade, after adding the red wine vinegar and soy sauce, it turns into a paste. Is that normal?

              It makes it messy to apply on the pork, haha.

              1. re: nuraman00

                just make sure everything is coated, and try and get out the air from the container you are marinating in. You can always add more vinegar to thin it out to taste.

                I (catching up here) did chicken breasts marinated in Hosin sauce for an elderly neighbor who wanted some for her bridge meeting and they came out well.

            3. re: nuraman00

              Hi nuraman00!

              I was wondering if you would share your Mac-n-Cheese in a crockpot recipe? My kids are getting tired of my failures :) and truth be told, so am I :)!

              Many Thanks,
              cabinsink

              1. re: cabinsink

                Hi cabinsink,

                It's this one:

                http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/...

                Here are the adjustments I make:

                * I use 12oz-16oz of pasta (macaroni, medium shells, whatever I feel like).

                * 7-8 cups of Cheddar-Monterrey Jack cheese blend (from Costco).

                * 7-8 cups of milk.

                * 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper, and hot mustard powder (optional).

                I have a 6 quart crockpot, 2.5 hours does it. It may be done as early as 2 hours, on low.

                1. re: nuraman00

                  Thank you nuraman00!!

                  I am looking forward to trying it just the way you have it written! Do you prep your crockpot with anything so that the ingredients don't stick? Stir often or just mix up and let it ride?

                  Speaking of which, what kind brand of crockpot do you use? I have two, one burns everything (Westbend but it is old, old, old) no matter what setting I choose and the other plays nice (Hamilton Beach). I am always on the look-out for another one that doesn't take constant supervision!

                  Mac-n-Cheese - such a comfort food!! Can't wait to try it - esp. as winter is coming to our part of the country! Brrrrrr!

                  1. re: cabinsink

                    Cabinsink;
                    I am disappointed that you are unhappy with West Bend. I live not to far away from what had been their Wisconsin HQ, as well as Rival. In any case, anything this day and age is generic for a crock pot.

                    Have you looked into doing mac&cheese in a rice cooker?
                    I will not let my teenager use my zoshi, but I bought him a cheap non stick unit at a goodwill that he uses constantly. Very cheap mac&cheese, as well as being able to brown meat in it for beefy mac&cheese.

                    1. re: exvaxman

                      I know. Me too! We bought West Bend because we live in WI. It is not non-stick, it is crockery (which they say is non-stick except you have to spray it or at least I have to spray mine...).

                      I have not looked into doing M-n-C in a rice cooker - I have however looked at picking up the Zoshi since I believe (unless I am thinking of the wrong one) it is not aluminum. How do you like yours? Seems pricey but worth it... ?

                      Thank you for your reply and advice!

                      1. re: cabinsink

                        I love my zoshi. I have one with the gaba setting to bring out the good stuff in brown rice to help my eyes. I like it and use it so often we also got two 50# rice dispensers.
                        The one I got for the kid at a thrift shop was teflon coated.

                        I will say that if you are within range of Hennings in Keil, they sell cheddar cheese powder which simplifies things when doing a quick batch of mac&cheese. Not as good as using real cheese, but quick.

                        1. re: exvaxman

                          Link to a Zoshi? Or a pic of yours.

                          1. re: exvaxman

                            Thank you exvaxman!

                            I second nuraman00 request for a link if you have one...

                            1. re: cabinsink

                              Sorry for the delay - this is the newer version that has a gaba setting
                              http://www.zojirushi.com/products/nphtc

                              My older version with the brown rice setting is the
                              http://www.zojirushi.com/products/nszcc - the ten cup model.

                              Used it to make mac & cheese for 50 people in a couple of hours on a scout service campout last week. This was well received (but when you are cold from splitting wood, you will eat anything!
                              )I picked up large bags of pasta shapes from the dollar store. Filled the zoshi to the 9.5 cup line, put in water to the 10 cup line. Fast rice setting. Dump into an aluminum foil container (dollar store). Mix with 1/2 cup cheese enzyme, two sticks imperial margarine, one small container of nacho cheese sauce sauce, 3 pounds of cheap two tone cheese shredded, two cans of rotel mild tomatoes.. Repeat and have lots left over for dinner. Cost was $8 pasta, $2 nacho cheese, $2 cheese enzyme, $9 cheese, $4 rotel. $25 for about 90 servings. Under $.30/person and far tastier than Kraft.

                      2. re: cabinsink

                        cabinsink,

                        I have the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-...

                        Which Hamilton Beach do you have?

                        I spray the crockpot with cooking spray. I've never had a problem with the mac and cheese sticking to it as I remove it.

                        I stir it at either the 1.5 hour or 2 hour mark, but don't think it's necessary. But it only takes a min to do anyways.

                        I also use one egg, as the recipe above states. So in a bowl, I mix the milk, egg, and spices. I then put it in the crockpot, put the pasta on top, then the cheese, and then mix.

                        1. re: nuraman00

                          Hi nuraman00 -

                          I don't have the model number on me as the whole kitchen is in storage waiting for a kitchen to house it in :). I can hardly wait! I can tell you that it is not programmable. Probably exactly what I deserve - you get what you paid for and if I remember correctly, the Hamilton Beach I have didn't break the bank.

                          I have to admit that I am bad about coming back through and stirring as usually I am not home at the time to do it or I am involved with other things that take my attention away but I will see what I can do! I use a timer all the time just to get me back on track and remain vigilant with kitchen works but I don't set a timer to come back and stir. If I cannot, at least I could let whatever family member that is there to give it a stir...

                          You pegged it right - the one egg part - we raise chickens and I slip in an extra egg upon occasion. I will stay true to the recipe!

                          Many Thanks!

                  2. re: nuraman00

                    Nuraman, I realize I'm coming late to this conversation, but I've experimented a lot with pressure cooking chicken, then finishing it off in the oven to get a crisp skin, and now that I have purchased one of these Emson pressure smokers, I'm now reading this thread.

                    There are two approaches you could take to getting the best of both worlds. The first would be to cold smoke the chicken to get the smoke flavor in the meat, then roast the chicken in the oven as you normally would. The second would be to use the hot smoke function, or a combination of cold and hot smoke to both infuse the chicken with the smoke and to pre-cook it. The pressure cooker is great at denaturing protein, it'll make chicken soft and easier to bone/shred than any other method I've used thus far. (Plus in my experience it renders a lot of the moisture and some fat out of the skin, so its already thinner for when you roast it to help it crisp up.)

                    I haven't had the unit long enough to have tried a chicken to make a length recommendation for the pressure smoker, but what you do is essentially cook it until slightly less than done, pat the skin dry, brush it with butter and then finish off under the broiler or a high oven.

                    (I'm including a picture of the pressure cooked then oven finished chicken to give you an idea what it looks like)

                     
                    1. re: ePressureCooker

                      Thanks for the response, any tips are appreciated.

                      The past few times, I've done the hot smoke function first, then finished it off in the oven. You can see a recap of all 3 times I've done a whole chicken, in my post from Feb 23, 2014 03:00 PM .

                      If I cold smoked the chicken this time, for how long would you suggest? 45 minutes maybe? Then, you're saying I should roast it as I normally would? When I only roast a whole chicken, I do it for about 80 minutes.

                      If I cold smoke it first, should I still put apple juice, lemon, and garlic in the bottom with garlic, as I did previously?

                      1. re: nuraman00

                        I really don't have enough experience with the cold smoking to know the answer to your question - maybe someone who's more knowledgeable in the cold smoking area could give you some guidance.

                        I believe your choice of wood chips would also impact the answer to that question, and again, I'm not the most experienced person to answer that question. I did see a reference during my research on woods earlier this afternoon that apple wood will actually brown the chicken skin, so maybe that's a good choice to experiment with.

                        As for the cold smoke only method, the user's manual says not to add liquid if you just cold smoke, so I'd assume the answer would be no to that.

                        My personal preference would be to hot smoke at least part of the time, because of the protein denaturization and the purging of water and some of the fat out of the chicken skin. I wish I could find an answer as to what PSI the machine operates at - with my Cuisinart pressure cooker, I would precook a 4 - 5 pound chicken for perhaps 20 minutes (at 10 PSI) before finishing off in the oven. The Emson user's manual says hot smoke 45 minutes, but I've also been warned to cut down the times under pressure from the manual by 25% - 30%, so that would be, say, 30 minutes. So for my first attempt, I'd probably try 25 minutes at hot smoke.

                        Then I'd try under the broiler or in the hot oven.

                        If you want to see the other Chowhound discussion where I talk in detail about how I pressure cook whole chickens (it has some more info on prepping them that I won't repeat here) see this thread:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923863

                        ETA: Now that I've read your other post in detail, I wanted to comment further. You aren't going to be able to hot smoke for very long without losing the structural integrity of the wings. I always remove them from the bird at the start, and save them in the freezer for buffalo wings or some other wing snack. Pressure cooking denatures proteins and affects connective tissues much more quickly than conventional cooking, and given their small size and that they effectively stick out of the chicken, they'll be impacted fairly quickly.

                        Based on your previous experiments, I'd probably try 15 minutes cold smoke, 30 minutes hot smoke, then finish in the oven, and I'd remove the wings beforehand.

                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                          Thanks. Even if you haven't done some of these things yourself, just having the discussion with you and your knowledge helps.

                          I've been meaning to try apple wood chips for a while, but don't know where to find them. The retail store where I got my wood chips only had mesquite and hickory. I went with hickory, and overall I'm happy with how things turn out, as long as I do them for the right time.

                          Any idea where I can get apple wood chips? I've tried searching online, but they are usually $9-10 at least after adding shipping. Are there some retail stores you'd recommend?

                          Ok, maybe I'll try cold smoke-->hot smoke (with lemon, apple juice, and garlic in the bottom)-->oven the next time.

                          So are you also saying that 15 mins cold smoke + 30 mins hot smoke isn't the same as 45 minutes hot smoke, right? The back won't break or crack a little after this like it would if I had done 45 minutes hot smoke with no cold smoke before hand, right? I know you can't guarantee anything, but is this what you think?

                            1. re: nuraman00

                              Well, I'm not really familiar with wood chip prices, but I have been on Amazon shopping around for wood chips, and they have this 3 lb bag for $3.99 for example:

                              http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002...

                              Its an add on item, which means you can only buy it if you spend the $35 to get free shipping, or you're a prime member, but you could buy books, DVDs, CDs, even a bunch of wood chips to get you to that amount.

                              Yes, 15 mins cold smoke + 30 minutes hot smoke isn't the same as 45 minutes hot smoke. The pressure cooking portion of the unit isn't engaged during cold smoking, just the charring element, so it would not be cooking the meat during that initial period, merely smoking it. (Although there is some heat generated by the charring, so you might want to start with cold meat if you're going to be cold smoking for extended periods of time.) And I suspect it wouldn't be infusing the food as intensely during cold smoking as it would during the hot smoking, because pressure cooking really seems to meld flavors, intensify them, and I'm *guessing* that some of the smoke flavor would be conveyed deeper into the meat by the pressurized steam while cooking under pressure. (For example, if you pressure cook tomatoes, like you make tomato soup, I get a flavor that I can't get any other way, or if there are chile peppers involved, the high heat of pressure cookers seems to enhance the capsaicin.

                              )

                              What is causing the back to break and the wings to fall apart is the pressure cooking part of the equation, the hot smoking phase. The pressure cooker will denature (soften) the proteins in the meat, and it also breaks down connective tissue very quickly as well, that's why the wings and the carcass start coming apart, the pressure cooking has converted some of those connective tissues into collagen (you may notice that the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pot tends to thicken up like jello if left sitting around for a while).

                              So figuring out the respective lengths of time for cold and then hot smoking is a matter of reducing the hot smoking to the point where the chicken will remain intact, but lengthening the cold smoking period so you get the intensity of flavor that you wish.

                              I believe someone (perhaps it was you?) on this thread said the chicken legs had a better taste than the rest of the chicken, and I'm wondering if perhaps because the legs (dark meat) have a different composition than the breasts (white meat) - they have more fat, more connective tissue, and they're different kinds of muscles, whether the smoke is impacting them differently. Of course it could also be that the legs were in closer proximity to the charring cup, and therefore got more of the smoke condensing on the outside of the legs.

                              I'd have to experiment with that. I haven't tried chicken yet. All I've done so far is smoked hot dogs, smoked corn on the cob, cold smoked steak that I then pan sauteed, I tried beef back ribs the other night. I'll be trying smoked pork sausage for a pizza tomorrow, and I planned on trying chicken thighs in the next couple of days for some chicken and wild rice soup.

                              1. re: ePressureCooker

                                Yeah, I saw that Amazon link for the apple wood chips, but didn't want to spend up to $35.

                                I do buy from Amazon frequently, but 1/2 the time it's from 3rd party sellers, as they're a little cheaper, even after shipping.

                                I'll try the hardware store suggestion.

                                Hmm, Hope Depot has Weber Firespice Apple Wood Chips in a 3lb. bag and Char-Broil 5 lb. bag.

                                I guess I'll try them.

                              2. re: nuraman00

                                any chance of an apple orchard nearby? they will sell trimmings

                                1. re: nuraman00

                                  I cold smoked 2 chicken breast, marinated in garlic, oil,balsamic vinager for 3days.cold smoker 10 mins then 5 minutes adding more apple chips and orange peel.Then put over a hot gas grill charred both sides then indirect slow cooked...quite tastey.
                                  I tried same deal with pressure cooking smoke, dry and too smokey clung on the seasoning.I get my apple wood cheap at lowes

                        2. re: exvaxman

                          I tried cold smoking some cheese. I cut mozzarella into slices, and put it on the rack.

                          I used 4 wood chips.

                          I set it to cold smoke, and set it to 20 minutes.

                          What a disaster. The cheese melted into the pot.

                          And there isn't much of a smoky taste either.

                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: nuraman00

                            BTW, you'll notice the charring lid stuck to the bottom of the bottom wire rack.

                            This happened when I smoked the whole chicken too.

                            1. re: nuraman00

                              On second thought, there actually is a good smoke flavor to those clumps that I saved, that were stuck to the rack.

                              For some reason I just couldn't taste it at the time.

                              I wonder if refrigerating it helps bring it out more. I hope that's not the case with everything I make in this.

                              1. re: nuraman00

                                Maybe you did this, but the cheese has to be very cold when it goes in. I put mine on the top shelf of my fridge, so it gets nearly frozen. I've had pretty good results with mine. My problem with the thing is that I always use way more wood chips than I need.

                                1. re: Ninevah

                                  How long did you smoke it for? What type of wood chips did you use?

                                  The cheese had been in the fridge for a few hours, but not longer than that. But it was on the top shelf.

                                  Also, did you slice it before or after? And what type of cheese did you smoke?

                                  From eating the clumps that I saved, I agree I used too many wood chips. 4 was too many.

                                  And does the charring lid get stuck to the bottom rack after smoking? It's done it both times I used the smoker.

                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                    I've left the cheese in the fridge for a couple days, and smoked the whole block (8 oz). I think about 10 minutes was what I set it for. I use a pinch of chips, but they're finely shredded, basically just cover the bottom. I've never had a problem with my lid sticking to the rack, but I don't have the Emson brand. Mine was bought a few years ago on QVC when the smoker was a lot less easy to get. Not sure what the brand name is, but I'm sure it's the same model.

                                    1. re: Ninevah

                                      Thanks.

                                      What type of shredded wood chips? Hickory?

                                      Ok, I'll try my unopened mozzarella in the whole ball form, for 10 mins. I'll try 2 wood chips next time.

                                      Can you post about other recipes you've made, and how they turned out, whether good or bad?

                                      Also, do you spray the rack with anything so food doesn't get very stuck on it? It wasn't a problem when I made the whole chicken, but when I smoked the cheese, it did get stuck pretty good. I had to soak it in a water and baking soda solution overnight to get the residue off.

                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                        I didn't have that problem. However, might I suggest what I did with my cameron smoker in the house. use Pam spray on a small aluminum pan. Cut up the cheese into cubes, put into the pan and then into the smoker. You will melt the cheese into a form, put the form covered with foil into the fridge for a while after smoking. You can then dump the whole formed cheese out onto a plate and serve that way.

                                        1. re: exvaxman

                                          I will see if I can buy a small aluminum pan, that will fit in the smoker. And I'll try using that instead of the racks.

                                          It probably has to be a very small pan though, to fit next to the heading rod. Maybe 1" by 1" or so?

                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                            There are some readily available small pie plates that are only 2 to three inches across. Failing to find those, get a small pecan single serving sized pie (or equiv) from a gas station or walmart. Line it with foil so that the form will be reuseable.
                                            A small corning dish works as well. Just spray with pam first.

                                            Come to think about it, three custard cups should fit in the top rack.

                                        2. re: nuraman00

                                          Ok, I smoked two balls of mozzarella last night.

                                          This was much better. I only did it for 10 minutes this time, instead of 20. And, I used a glass dish in the smoker. So the cleanup was much better, it didn't get all over the rack and bottom of the inner cooking pot.

                                          And, I could also taste the flavor right away.

                                          However, one observation. Last month, during Thanksgiving, I had someone else's smoked turkey, made in an outdoor smoker. That smoked food had a more complex smokey flavor, than anything I've made using this pressure smoker. That turkey felt like it had a strong smokey part, and also a nice light smokey aftertaste.

                                          While the cheeses or whole chicken that I've made using this pressure smoker, have a strong blast, and that's about it. And it's still a little different in other ways too.

                                          Do others have that same perception? Or maybe I just haven't made the right food yet, or done it the right way. As I've mentioned, I've only made 3 different things using this pressure smoker (whole chicken, cheese, pork), so I'm still learning.

                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                            I used alderwood on the cheese it has a nice neutral flavor so you just get smoke.

                                2. re: nuraman00

                                  I did do a cold smoke on some cheddar & farmers cheeses... a couple of pieces melted a bit right over the fire..but it did turn out pretty good..was a lot better the next day. I made some grilled cheese and also mac & cheese using it.. was pretty wonderful. Think next time I will have the cheese in the freezer for 30-45 min b4 smoking

                                   
                                  1. re: KCLADI

                                    Somehow I didn't see this pic earlier.

                                    Thanks for posting it.

                              2. Oh - another one. A friend loves her garlic baker. I get garlic, cut the tops off and lay them top down on the racks. She loves the added smoke flavor. However, this is more like a three hour process to get the smoke flavor throughout the garlic.

                                A friend also does filled jalapeƱo slices on his grill. I know when he has a special date or trying to out do other guys because he will bring over prepared jalapeƱos for me to cold smoke before grilling them.

                                1. Among other things I wanted to use the smoker for were some vegetables, and a baked potato. I know the Emson booklet has recipes for those, but was wondering if anyone had actual experience in them.

                                  For the vegetables, what vegetables would you recommend? (No tomatoes for me). The booklet had an onion, but if there was something else that didn't require too much work, I would try that too.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                    I mentioned garlic above. I have also done asparagus, corn on the cob and brussel sprouts.

                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                      In my experience (with a Weber charcoal smoker -- I'm new to the Emson, and was checking this post for more info), smoked eggplant makes absolutely the best baba ganoush. I usually use Japanese eggplants, the long, skinny ones, which would fit better in the little Emson than the big Italian ones. Wash, cut off the stem and blossom ends, cut them crosswise into lengths that will fit in the Emson, and hot smoke them. When cool, place them in a plastic bag overnight, or at least a while, in the fridge. They will soften and produce a bit of liquid. Dump the contents of the bag into a food processor (I don't peel mine), and add the usual lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, Tabasco, and maybe some yogurt, for a lighter version. With the Emson, you might add a little water from the smoker bottom to thin it, if necessary, and add to the smokiness.

                                      1. re: nancyfc

                                        Interesting. I wouldn't have thought of eggplant in the pressure smoker, but that's very creative.

                                        I wonder how the change in pH from the smoke may affect (or if it does) the general bitterness level of eggplant. Are the Japanese ones generally less acrid than the Italian eggplants?

                                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                                          Absolutely. I have never had a problem with bitterness with Japanese eggplants (nor have I ever bothered to salt them before cooking). It it worth seeking out an Asian market, since regular groceries often don't carry them. Some info on the web implies immature eggplants may be bitter, but I often buy a basket of tiny (no more than 6" long and 1" in diameter, but totally purple) Japanese eggplants at the farmers' market, and they've always been great.

                                          I don't think a pH change due to smoke has anything to do with it. Eggplants are nightshades, and like potatoes which have turned green from exposure to the sun, plants in that family may produce bitter alkaloids.

                                          1. re: nancyfc

                                            No, that's true, I was thinking more in terms of whether the change in pH or the smoke flavoring would "mask" the tongue's ability to detect the bitter flavor - much like salt does - rather than actually removing the bitter flavor.

                                            http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2...

                                            But now that I think of it, if solanine is indeed the cause of the bitterness in eggplant, it breaks down at high temperatures (170 degrees) and since you hot smoked the eggplant, the temperatures would have easily exceeded those temperatures.

                                            1. re: ePressureCooker

                                              I have read that solanine does not break down with heat (and can personally attest that a big pot of ratatouille I made as a beginning cook had to be thrown out because it was inedibly bitter, despite having salted the eggplant), but it does dissolve in the water or fat in which a vegetable is cooked. If a green potato is boiled or fried, draining the cooking liquid containing the dissolved alkaloid should remove the bitterness. Eggplant, however, is virtually never boiled, and when fried, absorbs oil like a sponge.

                                              1. re: nancyfc

                                                Hmmm...you don't happen to remember where you read that, did you? I got the 170 degree info from Wise Geek and I may have to revise a page on my blog...Thanks, if you happen to remember.

                                                1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                  I think I first saw it at http://www.savorsa.com/2011/07/ask-a-... Now that I have looked into it a little more, I see that your 170 degree figure is from research (for instance http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/19...) which is in the Celsius scale, converting to about 338 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking methods like that for my stove-top ratatouille would produce temperatures around boiling point of water while there was still liquid in the pot, considerably below 338 degrees. I doubt that even roasting in a very hot oven or on a grill would raise the average internal temperature of an eggplant anywhere near 338 degrees before it was incinerated, so I guess one can safely say that cooking will not have the effect of eliminating bitterness.

                                                  1. re: nancyfc

                                                    Wow. Thanks. I went back and checked my source and apparently they must have read the numbers in that study wrong and changed 170 degrees C into 170 degrees F. Last time I trust WiseGeek.

                                                    You're right boiling wouldn't reach the applicable temperatures, a pressure cooker maxes out at 250 degrees, the highest temperatures reached in cooking would be on a grill or by frying, most likely, and then it obviously would have much higher temperatures on the exterior surface and most likely nothing near that in the interior. But if the eggplant is anything like potatoes, On Food and Cooking says the majority of the solanine is concentrated in the top 1/16th of an inch under the potato skins.

                                                    So maybe with the right cooking method, and assuming that solanine is the cause of the bitterness, and that its concentrated under the skin's surface as it is with the potatoes, there could be some impact.

                                    2. I see they offer a 5 qt. and a 7 qt. pressure smoker. What size do you have? Are you pleased?
                                      This sounds very intriguing!

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: meatn3

                                        I have the 5QT. I only saw the 7 QT for $300, and it was only at one online store. I got the 5 QT for $175. It was too much of a price jump, for me, for a somewhat obscure product that I couldn't even see for myself in a retail store.

                                        I've only used it twice, and have had some mixed results. I think there's a learning curve on this. I plan to use it again this weekend.

                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                          Thanks!

                                          I found the 5 qt for 149.99. The price does seem to vary. I'm very tempted!

                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            Where did you find it for $149? Just curious, so I know where to look for things in the future.

                                            I plan to make pulled pork within a few days, like how exvaxman has suggested, so maybe that will influence you (if it comes out good).

                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              It's a limited time offer on Living Social - just 4 more days. It showed up when I was searching for reviews.

                                              Looking forward to hearing about the pork!

                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                Another thought for the pulled pork. Walmart has had smithfield pork roasts that have been marinated on special for months now in my area. $6 for a decent sized roast. Just get one of those and split into halves and put into the smoker for 90 minutes- it is almost fool proof for a first attempt. After it comes out, mix with a bottle(s) of BBQ sauce from the shelf. I did this with three of the roasts (1.5 in the emson each time, 90 minutes each, three hours total) to make about 40 large sandwiches and just plain scoops for a scout lunch this past weekend. I should have done one more load. $20 total, roughly $.50/sandwich.
                                                I picked up a few cheap beef shoulder cuts, cut into large chunks, put into a large container with a couple of bottles of cheap italian dressing from the dollar store (stirred it up a couple of times, one day in the fridge). then did the pieces in the emson (three loads) to give the scouts a "pot roast" dinner main course. I am so getting the larger model for home and service campouts.

                                                1. re: exvaxman

                                                  Thanks. I went to Walmart.com and found the Smithfield Boneless Sirloin Pork Roast, 1.92 lb item.

                                                  I searched for it, but they didn't carry it within 50 miles of my zip code.

                                                  I don't think this one was marinated though?

                                                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Smithfield-...

                                                  I then tried searching for these two, which I think are marinated:

                                                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Smithfield-...

                                                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Smithfield-...

                                                  They weren't within 50 miles either.

                                                  Sounded like a good idea though.

                                                2. re: meatn3

                                                  The pork turned out pretty good. I'm not sure how much of it was a combination of the marinade, and how much of it was smoke, but whatever ratio it was in, I liked it. For the first time, I didn't have to wait until the next day to really taste the smoky flavor.

                                                  I set it to 90 minutes as was recommended, and I put 7 wood chips.

                                                  It was also tender.

                                                  I'm going to have to start putting aluminum foil on the racks, it was hard to clean this time.

                                                  Also, a part of one piece of the pork got stuck to the lid. So this time, the charring lid getting stuck to the rack also cost me a portion of the pork. When I pulled the pork off, some of it remained stuck to the charring lid.

                                                   
                                                   
                                        2. Here's a link to the manual in case anyone else is intrigued with this machine:

                                          https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B2q...