Questions about smokers

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by tacmotusn, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I have just recently purchased a Big Chief front load smoker.
    My reasons for picking it, it's excellent reputation and many many great reviews. It has been pointed out in some of these reviews that it is more of a smoker than it is a cooker. That is not a problem for me as well. Also it seems replacement parts are readily available for any future repairs. The price was also very good. $119 and shipping free. Okay, on to my questions;
    Even though this unit is not much of a cooker, it still generates temperatures that would easily melt cheese. I love my smoked cheese but hate paying $5 to $8 per 8 to 12 ounces of it. I can often get good cheddar cheese in 8 to 10 ounce blocks for $1.50 to $2 on sale. The problem is I need to use a cold smoker to ensure I don't melt the cheese. I am wondering if I can stack a second box on top of my new Big Chief with the only heat transfer being the top of the lower unit (the Big Chief), and the draft control on top of the lower unit. Will the upper box temperatures stay low enough to not melt my cheese? I also plan on having a cool fresh air intake low and on the side of the upper box. There will also be a smoke draft control on top of the upper unit.
    To my mind, it seems that this will work just fine. However in my case it is all theory. Any input, info, or prior experiences with regard to a cold smoker / hot smoker that is applicable will be highly appreciated.
    post here or start a conversation with me about this. Thanks!
  2. jack_froste

    jack_froste Monkey

    this was done by a friend of mine in Alaska , and yes if you stack the two , and open the stack to accommodate more circulation ,it should not melt the cheese, but depending on what cheese you are using i would test it out first, some cheeses melt at really low temp,
    if you set the cheese out for a day or two first, it will harden the skin and melt at a much higher temp, also wrapping in cheese cloth when its in the smoker willl ensure it to not fall apart, have fun!! :D , { you can also purchase an rheostat for the element inside the smoker to adjust the temp as well} just an after thought,
  3. TXKajun

    TXKajun Monkey+++

  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Kajun, Interesting site. Thanks for posting I gleaned some good info. Surprisingly the smoke generator and cold smoker roles are reversed from what you stated above. Kinda looks like a fire waiting to happen to me. But, what would I know being a now inactive volunteer fire fighter..... lol
  5. TXKajun

    TXKajun Monkey+++

    Reversed?? Huh?? *blink* LOL

    The link was a quick search result from your original post. I have a Cajun Injector electric smoker (and I would NOT recommend it to anyone!!) that I use for smoking ribs and doing my pure pork Cajun-style smoked sausage. There is a recipe or 2 for smoked cheese using it, but it's a short smoking time (about an hour or less) at 100 degrees or less and using hard cheese. I kinda have a feeling I'd be looking at a cheese puddle in this thing. :( Not good!

    Yah, "inactive volunteer fire fighter"? Know a bit about a fire waiting to happen?? LOLOL Prolly more than most of us here!

  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I have seen a number of houses burn badly or totally destroyed and was often able to deduce the source of the fire. Anyone in a high lightning strike area with overhead service feed is asking mother nature to start a fire in the eaves/attic where the overhead feed is closest. I advise all friends who I know are building a new house to spend the extra on two things. Underground feed to meter from transformer, and all commercial/hospital grade devices in house (switches and receptacles). It is damn cheap insurance in the long run. Grills on porches as well as turkey fryers also result in many house fires. That smoke generator and wood chip pan in a cardboard box is just asking for the box to catch fire. jus sayin'
    inactive yes, at 62 and overweight, with numerous permenant aches and pains from injuries, I have decided to let the young guys fight the brushfires and house fires from now on. I am up for doing turn arounds in the rural areas with the 5000 gallon tanker if needed though.
  7. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    It works I used the box my big chief came in. It's easy to ver smoke cheese to a very bitter flavor.
  8. swinefornicator

    swinefornicator Monkey+++ Founding Member

    tacmotusn. I don't care if you use 1000 amp knife switches, if lightning hits it's cooked you are talking 100k amps. Prevention is the key followed by protection in surge protectors and the like. I have seen water pipes get vaporized and there is more metal in a water pipe than a bag full of green dot Hubble outlets. Wasted money. Get lightning rods and surge protectors. There isn't an residential outlet or residential switch that can withstand any lightning strike. Best idea is a Farraday cage incorporated into the house design, and the saved cost of those uber high end outlets and switches would help offset that cost. Also shield you from EMP's and maybe even keep razor blades sharper longer.
  9. swinefornicator

    swinefornicator Monkey+++ Founding Member

    As for smokers, I'm not sold on a cold smoker for anything other than flavoring. On the other hand hot smoking is a great way to preserve all kinds of crap. Can also safely cook meats for and what not for cooking. Chuck a couple rib eyes in a well smoked box for several hours and you drool at thought of doing it again. In tradition smoking was a way to preserve items that also tasted good. Smoked hams and meats being key items. It puts a very thin layer all over the meat that inhibits insect/bacteria activity. Go to the Smithfield web site, they used have a vast tutorial about the process and history. I like a salt and smoke cure for venison. Mostly cause I hate the taste of the crap and this keeps it for almost as long as plutonium and adds good flavoring to whatever I mix it with. I use venison as a mixer. Mix it with sausage is my favorite use and then in chili and stews. I do however love me a bit of jerky and dehydrating is a very similar process. You are removing the content from the meat that will cause quick spoilage and protecting it with a crust and I usually add some flavor layer. Large hams and other chunks of meat need an equal large smoker to work them. A pile of cinder blocks and hickory wood will set you on your way, though.

    BTW, cheese is an already cured item, the smoking adds the awsome flavor. Ain't tried it, but I think you could make your cheese smoke it and wrap and wax and it will age and keep for longer than I could wait to eat it.

    Wanted to stay on topic. And, man, you just gotta loive cheese!
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Better to live, where lightning (especially Sky/Earth Lightning) is a once, or twice, in a Generation Issue.... ...... YMMV.....
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The only thing that burns down faster than a Wood fired SmokeHouse, is a Wood fired Sauna.... especially if you are burning Creosoted Railroad Ties..... Don't ask "Me" 'How I know"........
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