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Jenise

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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Jenise » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:58 am

Mark Lipton wrote:40 lbs may be pushing it, Jenise, but I've put a whole side of Alaskan King salmon in one half of the main chamber of my Brinkman smoker. It fits, barely. I've been able to BBQ 8 racks of short ribs simultaneously using the full capacity of the smoker, which I would estimate is close to 20 lbs.

Mark Lipton


That's impressive. I'm hoping we'll be able to crowd it effectively. We haven't done any large smokes in the new smoker yet but in our old little one, I think we got 40 lbs through in two batches using rib racks. I have 30 lbs to do on Saturday--so I'll know soon enough!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by GeoCWeyer » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:20 am

When I used to cook for our large parties I learned to love my rib racks. When I had a smaller smoker it just meant I did the ribs in batches. I used the smoker just for smoke and finished them in an oven low and slow. They still had a very nice smoke ring.
I love the life I live and live the life I love*, and as Mark Twain said, " Always do well it will gratify the few and astonish the rest".

*old blues refrain
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Jenise

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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Jenise » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:51 pm

GeoCWeyer wrote:When I used to cook for our large parties I learned to love my rib racks. When I had a smaller smoker it just meant I did the ribs in batches. I used the smoker just for smoke and finished them in an oven low and slow. They still had a very nice smoke ring.


Precisely my technique. My helper on this thing coming up this wekeend--our neighborhood wine group's first ever Tailgate Party, with zinfandel, smoked brisket, smoked duck, 60 lbs of smoked ribs and smoked sausages (we made the sausages yesterday morning starting with pork we ground ourselves; this is all very homemade!--didn't have rib racks. She does now (coincidentally, she has the identical smoker we have)! She wanted to do a smaller batch for 10-12 hours. It hurt me to tell her "You probably can't". We'll see what using rib racks buys us in terms of space, we're each smokine 30 lbs.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by GeoCWeyer » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:48 am

Jenise wrote:
GeoCWeyer wrote:When I used to cook for our large parties I learned to love my rib racks. When I had a smaller smoker it just meant I did the ribs in batches. I used the smoker just for smoke and finished them in an oven low and slow. They still had a very nice smoke ring.


Precisely my technique. My helper on this thing coming up this wekeend--our neighborhood wine group's first ever Tailgate Party, with zinfandel, smoked brisket, smoked duck, 60 lbs of smoked ribs and smoked sausages (we made the sausages yesterday morning starting with pork we ground ourselves; this is all very homemade!--didn't have rib racks. She does now (coincidentally, she has the identical smoker we have)! She wanted to do a smaller batch for 10-12 hours. It hurt me to tell her "You probably can't". We'll see what using rib racks buys us in terms of space, we're each smokine 30 lbs.



I usually do a heavy smoke fand then finish in the oven because I have more control and faith in my control of the oven. This makes my timing easier.
I love the life I live and live the life I love*, and as Mark Twain said, " Always do well it will gratify the few and astonish the rest".

*old blues refrain
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Karen/NoCA » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:13 pm

I found out over the weekend, that one of our granite companies in Redding is making a beautiful and very functional granite smoker, it is getting good comments. Have to check it out.
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Jenise » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:43 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I found out over the weekend, that one of our granite companies in Redding is making a beautiful and very functional granite smoker, it is getting good comments. Have to check it out.


Granite? I wonder if it's a Big Green Egg kind of thing, then.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Karen/NoCA » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Jenise wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:I found out over the weekend, that one of our granite companies in Redding is making a beautiful and very functional granite smoker, it is getting good comments. Have to check it out.


Granite? I wonder if it's a Big Green Egg kind of thing, then.

I wondered that myself.....need to go take a look. In fact, they just raffled one off over the weekend at a fund raiser.
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MikeH

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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by MikeH » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:53 am

I smoke a lot of ribs, pork loin, chicken, pork butt, wings. Over the last 6 years I have moved through 3 different smokers. First was a Chargrill unit very similar to Mark Lipton's Brinkmann, cost me less than $200. Had a huge problem holding temperature though due to the thinness of the metal and poor sealing of the cooking chamber. Changed to a Weber Smoky Mountain bullet smoker (cost about $350) and experienced an immediate improvement. Much better at holding temp in the 250 degree range but still required a lot of monitoring.

Just two months ago I upgraded again based on a friend's experience and recommendation. This time I bought a Traeger (costs range from $300 to $1500), model Lil Tex Elite. For those of you not familiar with Traeger, these are electric-powered but wood-fired smokers. The fuel is wood pellets, they come in many varieties: oak, mesquite, hickory, pecan, alder, maple, cherry, apple. You load the pellets into a hopper on the side of the unit. At the bottom of the hopper is an augur that slowly delivers the pellets into a small firepot inside the cook chamber. The firepot is heated by electricity. However, the heat that cooks the food is coming from the wood pellets. This unit has been wonderful to use. Set the temperature and go, not much additional effort required to keep it running, product comes out juicy and flavorful. Just make sure the hopper doesn't run out of pellets; another friend told us she has smoked for 9 hours without emptying the hopper. As far as pricing, keep an eye on your local Costco...they don't carry Traeger; however, once a year, Traeger will visit for about 10 days....and the prices are much better than their usual retailers charge.

On another note, an acquaintance of mine is a graduate of CIA and corporate chef for a national steakhouse chain. He has a BGE at home and loves it. One major advantage of the BGE and its ilk is the ability to cook at very high temperatures. Another is that the ceramic walls make it easier to use during the winter in northern climes. A major disadvantage is weight....if your ceramic smoker doesn't weigh 400 pounds or more, its walls are probably very thin. Another disadvantage is price.....tough to get a decent sized BGE with minimal accessories for less than $1000.

Summary: if you already have a grill for steaks and high temp cooking, I highly recommend the Traeger as your smoking weapon. If you are looking for an all-in-one unit, the BGE is the ticket.
Cheers!
Mike
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Carl Eppig » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:09 pm

First batched of ribs is cooked and in the sauce. The second batch of 3 is in the smoker and need to be turned in an hour!
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:27 pm

MikeH wrote:I smoke a lot of ribs, pork loin, chicken, pork butt, wings. Over the last 6 years I have moved through 3 different smokers. First was a Chargrill unit very similar to Mark Lipton's Brinkmann, cost me less than $200. Had a huge problem holding temperature though due to the thinness of the metal and poor sealing of the cooking chamber. Changed to a Weber Smoky Mountain bullet smoker (cost about $350) and experienced an immediate improvement. Much better at holding temp in the 250 degree range but still required a lot of monitoring.

Just two months ago I upgraded again based on a friend's experience and recommendation. This time I bought a Traeger (costs range from $300 to $1500), model Lil Tex Elite. For those of you not familiar with Traeger, these are electric-powered but wood-fired smokers. The fuel is wood pellets, they come in many varieties: oak, mesquite, hickory, pecan, alder, maple, cherry, apple. You load the pellets into a hopper on the side of the unit. At the bottom of the hopper is an augur that slowly delivers the pellets into a small firepot inside the cook chamber. The firepot is heated by electricity. However, the heat that cooks the food is coming from the wood pellets. This unit has been wonderful to use. Set the temperature and go, not much additional effort required to keep it running, product comes out juicy and flavorful. Just make sure the hopper doesn't run out of pellets; another friend told us she has smoked for 9 hours without emptying the hopper. As far as pricing, keep an eye on your local Costco...they don't carry Traeger; however, once a year, Traeger will visit for about 10 days....and the prices are much better than their usual retailers charge.

On another note, an acquaintance of mine is a graduate of CIA and corporate chef for a national steakhouse chain. He has a BGE at home and loves it. One major advantage of the BGE and its ilk is the ability to cook at very high temperatures. Another is that the ceramic walls make it easier to use during the winter in northern climes. A major disadvantage is weight....if your ceramic smoker doesn't weigh 400 pounds or more, its walls are probably very thin. Another disadvantage is price.....tough to get a decent sized BGE with minimal accessories for less than $1000.

Summary: if you already have a grill for steaks and high temp cooking, I highly recommend the Traeger as your smoking weapon. If you are looking for an all-in-one unit, the BGE is the ticket.


I've seen the Traegers demonstrated at Costco, and in fact Bob and I nearly fell for one last summer. They're beautifully made, and a lot more manly looking than the little cabinet smoker we ended up buying. We were a little put off by the commitment to buying their pellets when we have a ready supply of good smoking woods all around us, but what really unwrapped the deal was learning that theTraeger's lowest temperture is pretty high: IIRC, around 175 F. It's strictly a hot smoker and since we smoke so much fish and prefer to do so at around 150, we passed.

Btw, a downside to the BGE? They can break. Our neighbor had one and something caused it to tip over. Bye bye BGE.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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MikeH

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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by MikeH » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:03 pm

Jenise wrote:
MikeH wrote:I.......
Just two months ago I upgraded again based on a friend's experience and recommendation. This time I bought a Traeger (costs range from $300 to $1500), model Lil Tex Elite. For those of you not familiar with Traeger, these are electric-powered but wood-fired smokers. The fuel is wood pellets, they come in many varieties: oak, mesquite, hickory, pecan, alder, maple, cherry, apple. You load the pellets into a hopper on the side of the unit. At the bottom of the hopper is an augur that slowly delivers the pellets into a small firepot inside the cook chamber. The firepot is heated by electricity. However, the heat that cooks the food is coming from the wood pellets. This unit has been wonderful to use. Set the temperature and go, not much additional effort required to keep it running, product comes out juicy and flavorful. Just make sure the hopper doesn't run out of pellets; another friend told us she has smoked for 9 hours without emptying the hopper. As far as pricing, keep an eye on your local Costco...they don't carry Traeger; however, once a year, Traeger will visit for about 10 days....and the prices are much better than their usual retailers charge.....

.......

Summary: if you already have a grill for steaks and high temp cooking, I highly recommend the Traeger as your smoking weapon. If you are looking for an all-in-one unit, the BGE is the ticket.


I've seen the Traegers demonstrated at Costco, and in fact Bob and I nearly fell for one last summer. They're beautifully made, and a lot more manly looking than the little cabinet smoker we ended up buying. We were a little put off by the commitment to buying their pellets when we have a ready supply of good smoking woods all around us, but what really unwrapped the deal was learning that theTraeger's lowest temperture is pretty high: IIRC, around 175 F. It's strictly a hot smoker and since we smoke so much fish and prefer to do so at around 150, we passed.

Btw, a downside to the BGE? They can break. Our neighbor had one and something caused it to tip over. Bye bye BGE.


Jenise, low-temp smoking wasn't on my radar screen, never considered it. You are correct, at least initially, about the low temp being maybe 175. One can change the setup of the unit to lower the temps at which it cooks but there could be a problem: at some point, the heat provided won't be great enough to ignite the wood pellets.

Another advantage of the Traeger over charcoal: I can easily smoke in the rain. It started raining this morning on the eighth hole and hasn't stopped since. But I have the Traeger smoking away on some ribs!!!
Cheers!
Mike
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:12 pm

MikeH wrote: You are correct, at least initially, about the low temp being maybe 175. One can change the setup of the unit to lower the temps at which it cooks but there could be a problem: at some point, the heat provided won't be great enough to ignite the wood pellets.

Another advantage of the Traeger over charcoal: I can easily smoke in the rain. It started raining this morning on the eighth hole and hasn't stopped since. But I have the Traeger smoking away on some ribs!!!


Yes, the salesman explained what he knew some to have done to get lower temperatures, which might have involved replacing part of the stack with chicken wire or something, but it didn't sound particularly elegant and Bob was resistant to having to making something brand new look like a backyard job.

We have three racks of ribs and a few chickens smoking away right now ourselves! Yum.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:31 pm

You guys must have your neighbors drooling all day when smoking! I can almost smell it myself. Yum!
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Carl Eppig » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:58 pm

Finished the remains of our July 4th ribs last night with leftover potato salad and sliced tomatoes; burp!!!
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Re: Do you smoke your own foods?

by Mark Lipton » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:04 pm

[quote="MikeH"
Another advantage of the Traeger over charcoal: I can easily smoke in the rain. It started raining this morning on the eighth hole and hasn't stopped since. But I have the Traeger smoking away on some ribs!!![/quote]

Mike, I smoke foods in the rain (and sometimes in the snow) quite often in my Brinkmann smoker. If anything, it makes for a cooler smoking. It is tricky getting the foods out of the smoker during a rain, though: I usually have to cradle an umbrella on my shoulder.

Mark Lipton
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