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Smoking?

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Rick Feb 12, 2013 08:02 PM

I just bought a Smokin-it smoker and was wondering if any chowhounders out there do their own smoked foods?

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  1. t
    TDEL RE: Rick Feb 13, 2013 02:22 AM

    Check forum bradley smoker.com
    You'll get wonderful recipes and everything you need to put your smoker to good use.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TDEL
      JMF RE: TDEL Feb 14, 2013 07:30 AM

      Yes, the Bradley smoker forum has everything you need to know. I've worked with pro competition bbq teams smoking meats, and helped put together huge bbq events. I have had all types of smokers over the years, but once I got a Bradley electric smoker 5-6 years ago, my game went up dramatically. I learned how to hot rod my Bradley on the bradley forum. Put in a second heating element, convection fan, digital computer controller, etc.

      I cold smoke everything you can imagine in the winter, including various cheeses, and hot smoke all year round. I even smoke salt and sugar, which I use all the time.

      http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/

      1. re: JMF
        MGZ RE: JMF Feb 14, 2013 12:18 PM

        Electric smokers are just too fancy to me. I'm sure the food is great, but my garage houses a 1963 Greg Noll longboard and a 1930 Buick coupe. Moreover, there are four guitars in my collection - none electric. I may be prematurely crusty, but I'd rather have vodka in my martini or drink chardonnay with a steak than use an electric smoker.

        1. re: MGZ
          JMF RE: MGZ Feb 14, 2013 02:14 PM

          I used to be a traditionalist in many things, especially smoking food, but when you try something new and it's easier, better, higher quality, more consistent, etc., then you realize that maybe doing things the traditional way isn't worth it anymore. I do think that learning the traditional ways and becoming skilled with them is good. But I can accomplish so many things, so easily and accurately with the bradley smoker, that I would never go back to staying up all night, reeking of smoke, burnt hands, etc. from a manual smoker. But then, I have other things in my life where i do things the traditional way. I just don't have time and energy to do so in everything, and I choose which things to do which way.

          1. re: JMF
            MGZ RE: JMF Feb 15, 2013 03:26 AM

            In a sense, I'm really just making fun of myself. I'm afraid there are just certain things that I have a preference for the process over the product. As noted, making barbecue, for me, is one of those things. I have little doubt I would love what comes out of the Bradley, but I would also greatly miss waking up before dawn to start the fire, chopping wood, and being tethered to the backyard and a can of beer all day.

            1. re: MGZ
              porker RE: MGZ Feb 15, 2013 04:38 AM

              Yeah, but c'mon, VODKA in your martini?!
              {;-/)

        2. re: JMF
          Monch RE: JMF Feb 15, 2013 11:54 AM

          + another for Bradley's forum.

          I would lean on it even if I DIDN'T own their product.

      2. biggreenmatt RE: Rick Feb 13, 2013 07:08 AM

        Yup. I smoke year-round on my BGE. Hence: Big Green Matt.

        What about it?

        1. MGZ RE: Rick Feb 13, 2013 07:50 AM

          I use a Brinkmann offset that I have modified by moving the thermometer to about the cooking surface, lowering the bottom of the chimney, and spot welding a few gaps between the firebox and the cooking chamber.

          http://www.brinkmann.net/products/out...

          I'm an old school barbecue purist though and believe it's art and not science that is involved. I'll wax a bit and note that the word is spelled with a "c" not a "q" (never, ever abbreviated) and that those who make it (if only for financial reasons) should have an axe (and/or a maul), a chainsaw, at least one chimney, briquettes as well as lump, and at least three kinds of wood around. The final point is essential. I firmly believe that wood affects flavor more than the rub or the mop (though neither of those should be underestimated).

          If, however, you're talking cold smoking salmon and such, I shall politely withdraw my comments and await those of others more knowledgable.

          9 Replies
          1. re: MGZ
            c
            chileheadmike RE: MGZ Feb 13, 2013 07:54 AM

            What MGZ said, except sometimes I abbreviate and use 'cue.

            I generally use lump in my WSM.

            1. re: chileheadmike
              MGZ RE: chileheadmike Feb 13, 2013 02:58 PM

              I like the longer lasting heat from Kingsford briquettes to make sure I can keep the fire going in the offset. I do prefer lump, but using some of the briquettes permits me to have a longer window when it comes to adding logs.

              I've posted on other threads about what wood for what protein, but for the sake of the OP gettin' started, I'd note that hickory and mesquite are rather unforgiving. Fruit woods are a good way to go with pork when learning. Oversmoking can be a real problem when beginning to make "'cue".

              1. re: MGZ
                porker RE: MGZ Feb 15, 2013 04:45 AM

                That was going to be my one tip:
                Novices (at least me anyway) tend to oversmoke.

                The window between not enough and too much is usually quite wide, but realize all smoke all the time is not necessarily a good thing.

                1. re: MGZ
                  c
                  chileheadmike RE: MGZ Feb 15, 2013 07:24 AM

                  Kingsford has an off smell, at least to me. I've totally gotten away from it. If I'm doing a 12-14 hour cook, I will have to add charcoal one time. It's not that hard.

                  I stay far away from mesquite. I just don't like it. Hickory can overpower but I like it a lot. I use apple, pecan, cherry etc for different meats.

                  The most important thing I tell people just getting started is to keep your vent wide open. Control your heat with intakes. This will allow the fire to burn clean and avoid bitter creosote buildup on the meat. Also, I use 3 large chunks of wood only. That's enough. You don't want a bunch of smoke chugging out of the the thing. Little whips of blue smoke=good 'cue.

                  Sorry for the abbreviation.

                  1. re: chileheadmike
                    MGZ RE: chileheadmike Feb 15, 2013 08:19 AM

                    I like the Kingsford for about two thirds of the first chimney. I agree that it can produce an off taste if used too much, but it does give me an extra window of time for replacing the first few logs.

                    I think your vent tip is a very good instruction.

                    1. re: chileheadmike
                      porker RE: chileheadmike Feb 15, 2013 11:45 AM

                      Just curious, do you mean briquettes in general or Kingsford in particular?

                      As a side, I tend to use briquettes (Kingsford, Royal Oak, or Brand X...anything but matchlight stuff) as a slow-burn, low-temp fuel source augmented by lump (usually maple since its the easiest to get in my neck of the woods) and wood chips or chunks (usually apple or cherry or alder or hickory, depending).

                      1. re: porker
                        c
                        chileheadmike RE: porker Feb 15, 2013 12:05 PM

                        Kingsford. I use lump, usually Cowboy lump but I've used the generic store brand with good results.

                        Never tried Royal Oak.

                        1. re: chileheadmike
                          MGZ RE: chileheadmike Feb 15, 2013 12:19 PM

                          I actually much prefer Royal Oak briquettes but have difficulty finding them locally: http://www.webstaurantstore.com/royal...

                          1. re: MGZ
                            porker RE: MGZ Feb 15, 2013 12:42 PM

                            I got sucked in last year when coming across Kingsford mesquite charcoal briquettes; I thought "wow, charcoal made from mesquite" (mesquite is a rare bird in southern Quebec...) and bought a bag.
                            I opened it intending to grill steaks on the weber. The briquettes looked pretty standard with fine, brown specks. A look at the bag clinched it....charcoal WITH mesquite...
                            Geeze, it could be 1/10 of 1% mesquite and still be labelled "with mesquite".
                            Caveat emptor Kingsford MFers.
                            {;-/)

              2. m
                malibumike RE: Rick Feb 13, 2013 08:08 AM

                Yep, I smoke with a Cookshack Ameroque smoker. Wonderful but kind of expensive, made in Ponka city Oaklahoma.

                2 Replies
                1. re: malibumike
                  c
                  chloebell RE: malibumike Feb 13, 2013 03:13 PM

                  We have an electric smoker. Looks like a mini frig. Hubby loves it. He spent many years with his Weber (which we still have) smoking many things. It's just so time consuming w/ Weber compared to electric smoker.

                  We've smoked brisket, pork butt, chicken, cornish hens, portobello's - all excellent.

                  1. re: chloebell
                    JMF RE: chloebell Feb 14, 2013 07:23 AM

                    You're probably talking about a Bradley smoker. They are great.

                2. e
                  eatanddestroy RE: Rick Feb 14, 2013 11:44 AM

                  I use an old 22.5" Weber Grill that I found in the trash with a Cajun Bandit (http://cajunbandit.com/).

                  My favorite bbq/smoker board is the BBQ Brethren (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/for...

                  )

                  Best tip that I can give you right now... St. Patrick's Day is coming up so buy a bunch of Corned Beef to make a quick pastrami since they will go on sale for a fraction of the price. You will need to soak in water for a few days to get a lot of the salt out. Check out some forums for rub & smoking instructions.

                  Other favorites are pulled pork (obviously), country ribs, pork necks (seriously, if you get meaty ones, these come out great- I smoke them just like I do the ribs). Also, pork belly is great in the smoker since the fat gets to the perfect consistency.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: eatanddestroy
                    MGZ RE: eatanddestroy Feb 14, 2013 11:59 AM

                    I agree about the corned beef. Here's some of my previous notes on the subject:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/83804

                    1. re: eatanddestroy
                      m
                      mwhitmore RE: eatanddestroy Feb 14, 2013 06:23 PM

                      Huh? Pardon a Goyishe question, but I thought these were two different cuts---brisket for CB, navel for pastrami.

                      1. re: mwhitmore
                        biggreenmatt RE: mwhitmore Feb 14, 2013 07:25 PM

                        Absolutely correct if you're going by the book- but hell, you can give virtually any cut the corned beef treatment.

                    2. sbp RE: Rick Feb 14, 2013 03:50 PM

                      Smoke all the time on a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain. In addition to the usual suspects (ribs, turkey, pork shoulder for pulled pork, brisket), I cure and smoke bacon and pastrami. Have also smoked chicken liver and almonds. Feel free with any questions.

                      1. jnk RE: Rick Feb 15, 2013 04:44 AM

                        Yes, I use both a 22.5 Weber Smokey Mountain and a 22.5 Weber kettle. I'd recommend www.TVWBB.com which is The Virtual Weber bulletin board. They've got very specific smoking info for all types of proteins. I'd also suggest going to youtube for informational videos. Have a great time with your new smoker.

                        1. r
                          Rick RE: Rick Feb 15, 2013 04:01 PM

                          Here's the results of my first smoke! A nearly 7 lb bone in pork butt smoke at 245 for almost 11 hours. I used a Smokin-it #1 smoker with hickory wood.

                           
                           
                           
                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Rick
                            Monch RE: Rick Feb 15, 2013 06:26 PM

                            Looks outstanding, to me. I still smoke shoulders in my Brinkmann offset, for big occasions. However, use my Bradley electric to infuse smoke and finish to temp in the oven, for one or two shoulders.

                            When that bone slides out, clean of meat, it's a "protien epiphany"!

                            Rick, your photos probably don't do your finished product justice!

                            Sandwiches or just pulled on a plate?

                            1. re: Monch
                              r
                              Rick RE: Monch Feb 15, 2013 06:37 PM

                              We did both! lol Also made a batch of homemade bbq sauce to go along with it.

                              1. re: Rick
                                c
                                chileheadmike RE: Rick Feb 16, 2013 09:40 AM

                                Quality work. Looks good enough to eat.

                                1. re: Rick
                                  Monch RE: Rick Feb 16, 2013 09:44 AM

                                  Outstanding...but I already said that.

                                  Scratch made from start to finish...admirable and edible!

                                  1. re: Monch
                                    r
                                    Rick RE: Monch Feb 17, 2013 12:53 PM

                                    Thank you for the kind words. Had some more fun with the smoker this weekend. I smoked a small piece of leg of lamb, almonds, and wild salmon. Made smoked salmon spread with some of the salmon too. My pellicle apparently wasn't fully formed down in the cracks of the salmon hence the spots where the fat leaked out. Still really happy with it though as it tastes great. I wish I'd have bought a smoker years ago!

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: Rick
                                      scubadoo97 RE: Rick Apr 18, 2013 09:35 AM

                                      Rick, it appears you are having a lot of fun with your Smokin-It #1.

                                      Did you brine your salmon? It helps to reduce the albumin leaking out which can occur even with a good pellicle.

                                      I've been using a 30" Masterubuilt Electric smoker which has worked well for me in doing hot and cold smoking. I will soon be moving up to the Smokin-It #2 or #3. I want to be able to do a full slab of ribs without cutting it in half. Also looking at the Cookshack Elite. I know it's a lot more money but the customer service is top notch if and when needed.

                                      If you haven't already been over to the Smoking Meat Forums.com they have a Smokin-It user group forum there you might be interested in.

                                      http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/f/

                            2. b
                              BHAppeal RE: Rick Apr 21, 2013 02:44 PM

                              A great site on BBQ, not just ribs (despite the title) with plenty of recipes and tons of info on pretty much every aspect of smoking and grilling.:

                              http://amazingribs.com/index.html

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