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Homemade Smoker
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:44 am    Post subject: Homemade Smoker Reply with quote

Has anyone made one?

I have given one a go and have had reasonable results with it. Basically is it 2 small cupboards, one used to get the smoke from the chips and keep it reasonably cool, the second sits on top and there is a hole between them to let the smoke circulate. Just wondering if anyone has any design ideas/improvements?

As a heat source I am using a Trangia stove meths well.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The old man made something very similar although he used an old knackered fridge (as it had all the racks still in it) as the main box and linked it to the smoke box with a short leftover length of flue liner it seemed to work very well and alot of people liked the result I didn't though I can't stand smoked Trout / Salmon.

We never used to bother with a heat source of any kind. Instead we used the waste from the planer / thinknesser when we had to square up some old oak battens - being nice and thin and dry we just put a small heap in the smoke box and lit it then forgot about it till the whole thing stopped smoking it would slowly smoulder away for hours. I can't see the bags of oak chips doing the same though.

I'm not sure how you could really improve on what you have already as they aren't really complicated things other than seeing if you can get hold of oak shavings rather than chips so you could do away with the meths / heat it sounds like you've got it all sorted.

Incidently as the inside of the fridge was white after just one smoking the inside turned a sickly yellow with all the tar / smoke that sight put me off smoked trout for good.
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks paul

I am currently using smoking pellets so you need a heat source I think, might look at the chips to see if they could do a better job.

And yes after one go everything is yellow Wink
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Invicta
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never cold smoked any thing but i do have one of the snowbee hot smokers which is quite good.I used to just smoke the whole trout but my daughter didnt like the way the eyes went so i now only do fillets unless shes not about as im not the best filliter.
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer trying to cold smoke as it means I can freeze it.

I have got better at filleting the more I have done it, just got a filleting glove as well as I was fed up of slicing my hand apart! Key for me is a very sharp knife!
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ChrisNicholls
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually go for cold smoked but was offered some hot smoked trout to try at Thornton this year by two friendly anglers that had just hot smoked part of their catch for lunch - it was pretty good to be honest and I think they was using the ABU smoker.

The main thing with cold smokers is to make sure the food is far way enough from the smoke box to be sure the smoke has cooled.
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Invicta
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the point of cold smoking how cool does the smoke have to get to work.
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

invicta wrote:
On the point of cold smoking how cool does the smoke have to get to work.


Cool as possible to not "cook" the fish

Hence why you have the smoke section seperate to the fish/meat
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Gillaroo
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hot smoke loads of stuff in a Camerons Stovetop Smoker in the kitchen - no messing about with those little candles and can go on a BBQ as well. Brilliant piece of kit and takes 3 decent stockies with just the heads off - nine fish an hour. The wife bought it for me last Christmas but not sure where from.

The local pub uses a Stella barrel cut in half lengthways with a hinge, clip and wire trays added. Then just put that on the hob with the brined and dried fish and a handful of sawdust for some excellent results.

Mike
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gillaroo wrote:
I hot smoke loads of stuff in a Camerons Stovetop Smoker in the kitchen - no messing about with those little candles and can go on a BBQ as well. Brilliant piece of kit and takes 3 decent stockies with just the heads off - nine fish an hour. The wife bought it for me last Christmas but not sure where from.

The local pub uses a Stella barrel cut in half lengthways with a hinge, clip and wire trays added. Then just put that on the hob with the brined and dried fish and a handful of sawdust for some excellent results.

Mike


Brined? Do you soak the fish first?
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Invicta
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brined? Do you soak the fish first?[/quote]

I do most of the time just in salt water but you can add herbs and spices or a dash of tipple all adds to the flavour.
I have also done it without putting in brine and it came out not to bad but i prefer to soak it first.
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mikeh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

invicta wrote:
Brined? Do you soak the fish first?

I do most of the time just in salt water but you can add herbs and spices or a dash of tipple all adds to the flavour.
I have also done it without putting in brine and it came out not to bad but i prefer to soak it first.


Ahh ok had not heard of that....will give that a try next time, as it sounds like a good idea.

How long do you soak for usually?
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Bazza
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds as tho you are wanting to cold smoke, which has the advantage of extending
the keepable life but in my opinion is not as tasty or moist as hot smoking which is
far simpler & quicker, altho best eaten straight away or kept no longer than a day under
refrigeration.

Hot smoking has the added advantage of being a portable unit, I have a larger one home
& a smaller one that can be taken away for smoking by the river/lakeside if you want.

The smaller on can be made for next nothing & would be happy to give details to anyone
interested.

Cheers
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BlankDay
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can get a hold of Hugh Fearnly Whitshisname's book on fish, there's a really good section on both cold and hot smoking. Also, an accompanying dvd that shows some of the same.
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MarkS
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Went to an excellent talk on this last year at a local club.
Cold smoking as already note, key is to get the fish far away from the heat as possible. I think I read somewhere less than 80 degrees is the key...
Two pound fish. Take the fillets , put a teaspoon of brown sugar on each one and rub it in. Leave for 30 mins then put a tablespoon of salt on each fillet and rub it in. Put them in the fridge for 24 hrs in a deep dish. Drain as needed as this process pulls the moisture out. Repeat the sugar/salt process for another 24 hrs.
Quickly rinse and dry the fillets with kitchen towel. When firm and dry they are ready to smoke. Fillet the ribs ad pull the pin bones after the smoking.

To cold smoke I was lucky enough to pick up a home made smoker for free. This is a 4 foot tall tower built from aluminum sheet come 18 inches square. There is a suspended drip tray to catch any juice and a fire plate below. (The chap doing the talk had an old metal power tool box with a hole cut in the top, two bits of flu pipe. The saw dust was heated at one end of the tool box for a few mins with a camp stove.) I do not use the fire plate as it gets too hot. I burn wet oak chunks on a small amount of charcoal in an old gas cylinder and pass the smoke through a flu to the tower. The fillets hand from hooks made from brass braising rods. Keep steel away from the fish. 45 mins for very mild taste, up to hour and a half for more punch. Neighbours just love this, especially when the washing is out.....

I don't do any hot smoking so not sure. Cook time is however much shorter, five or ten mins I think. One note for both methods, don't use chain saw dust. It's full of the oil that lubricates the chain. Not nice.

The cold smoked stuff is great for impressing your friends if you serve it up with melba toast, cream cheese, pepper and a slice of lemon....
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