Smoking food – The Magnificent Conclusion

Its annoying when the real world and the need to earn a living gets in the way of finishing a project, but finally a weekend clear to finish the food smoker in the garden.

Having constructed a brick box, fitted the door frame, two part steel door needed to control the air flow, and the internal steel frame described in an earlier post it was finally be tested, albeit in the rain but as someone said 10ft snow drifts wouldn’t have stopped me this weekend. For the inaugural smoke I choose to hot smoke a supermarket Turkey Breast never a classic meal, so it can only get better.

The smoker is designed to be used as either a hot or cold smoker. The difference is that with a cold smoker you set light to a quantity of wood chippings or sawdust in the bottom, the resulting smoke fills the compartment, and smokes the food. There is no heat as a consequence you can smoke food like cheese, as well as the more usual bacon or fish. I have never had a cold smoker before and this was definitely one of the driving forces behind the project, a desire for smoked brie.

Having got you salivating lets return to the job in hand, for the first time I was going to use this as a hot smoker, something I have a some experience of. As you will see from the photos inside the brick compartment I have constructed a steel rack with several shelves. The top couple were the most expensive part of the whole project a pair of Barbeque grills plates, which take the food. At the bottom is a steel pan in which is a Charcoal fire, a combination of commercial charcoal and my charcoal. (if you haven’t already seen it the making charcoal video explains This imparts a smoky flavour onto which I then add some damp wood chips which is what really makes the smoke, and you can argue for days over what wood to use. The final part is the middle section which is the secret weapon of the whole hot smoking system. This consists of a 3mm thick steel shelf on which is a pan of water which gets heated by the fire. The heat from the fire and the smoke it produces cooks the food, and its the water that keeps the smoked food from drying out.

For the first time, as it was a test we only had once piece of meat in there our supermarket turkey breast, which isn’t the most economical way to cook, but as you can see you could get quite a lot of food on the shelves and you could have more shelves. I cant help thinking that if you could do a portable version, which wouldn’t be that difficult, you would be a hit at a food market, so dear reader should you decide to try and then make a fortune remember where you got the idea from. To smoke our turkey breast took about 2 1/2 hours, the end result was a delicately flavoured, smoked, succulently moist piece of meat, far better than the original ingredient suggested, which when coupled with Home grown lettuce and new potatoes made a magnificent meal “fit for a king” so next time royalty is passing this is what they can have, though frankly its too good to share even with a passing prince. In the meantime I have a video to edit, and then I’m off to France to buy some brie that needs smoking.

Bon appetite

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