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Pro Q. Cold smoking.


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Hi, new member.

Just fired up my ProQ first time this morning. 2 portions of salmon and a block of cheddar. 

This was set up in my 18" WSM. after a few attempts to get her lit, the dust, with a micro torch, we're away. Smoked for a "few inches" and went out. Now, the WSM is placed outside the kitchen door, under a clear, shed type, perspex roof. Temps are hovering above zero c. Dust kept going out. Panic sets in. Took the smoked out and thumb pressured the dust down to compact it slightly. This the way to do it?

Then packed it in. Cleaned up my "Weber Go Anywhere" BBQ and placed the ProQ in this and brought it indoors and relit. 

Is the ambient temperature outside, near zero, putting it out? 

I have bottom vents open sufficiently on WSM and now, the portable BBQ.

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Is the dust dry....I keep my dust in a plastic bag in the garage...believe me it will take in moisture from the air. I know some folks pop the dust in the microwave for a minute or two..I've tried this with little success,  I now put a tray of dust in the microwave but use the grill for abount 5 mins...this works for me...I did the other week when I smoked my last lot of bacon.

As for the outside temp being near zero,  I've never found it a problem....for a cold smoke this will help. The reason any fire goes out is oxygen...I sit my box under the garage door, turn it so the bottom vent is facing the wind...and away she goes...

 

Ice.

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Hi Alan

On 12/8/2020 at 10:31 AM, Alan Kilroy said:

Hi, new member.

Just fired up my ProQ first time this morning. 2 portions of salmon and a block of cheddar. 

What kind of salmon are you trying to produce? Traditional cold smoked salmon? If so then this is best smoked a little warmer than the cheese as part of the process is to remove water. The cheese is good up to about 10-18 C whereas the salmon is best smoked around 20 C with a good air flow passing over it.

On 12/8/2020 at 10:31 AM, Alan Kilroy said:

This was set up in my 18" WSM. after a few attempts to get her lit, the dust, with a micro torch, we're away. Smoked for a "few inches" and went out. Now, the WSM is placed outside the kitchen door, under a clear, shed type, perspex roof. Temps are hovering above zero c. Dust kept going out. Panic sets in. Took the smoked out and thumb pressured the dust down to compact it slightly. This the way to do it?

I have bottom vents open sufficiently on WSM and now, the portable BBQ.

You mentioned about the bottom vents being sufficiently open you did not mention the top vents. It is important to leave the top vents open so that the smoke/air can pass over the food and out the top. If the top vent is left closed it will have three effects:

  • It will cause the heavier tars in the smoke to condense on the food, often resulting in creosote taints
  • If the chamber cools (for instance if the smoke generator goes out) the moisture in the chamber will condense on the surface of the food often resulting in musty flavours.
  • The oxygen around the smoke generator will diminish - often to the point where the smoke generator will go out (especially at cooler ambient temperatures)

With the dust smoke generators (especially in cooler temperatures), firstly make sure your sawdust is dry. Microwaving it on high for 2-3 minutes and stirring will heat it and moisture will be driven off. As @Icefevermentioned you can put it on a baking tray in the oven at ~100 C for 10 minutes or so. When it is dry store it in a sealed plastic bag in a dry place. Yes you should press the sawdust down to compact it a little before lighting.

In really cold temperatures wrap a blanket around the smoker body to allow the heat from the smoke generator to be retained. It will usually provide enough heat to keep itself going, however if the generator gets really cold, the air is damp and the oxygen levels are low, there there is a high probability that the generator will go out.

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I have a couple of my barrel staves leant up against the radiator in the house drying out, and I keep my shavings in a sealed ammo can. Seems to work for me.

The technicals of Fire is relatively simple. Its a Triangle, and each side is, Air/ Oxygen, then Fuel, and the third side is Heat. You take away anyone of those side and the triangle collapses and you don't have a fire. I learned that on a course at HMS Raleigh in the 70's where we learned how to put out a diesel fire with just a water extinguisher. Everyone these days says it cant be done! I think I would not want to try it in real life, but the principle worked. One of the most memorable days was the Fire Course and the Battle Damage Control in a gimballed tank with water pouring everywhere and the instructors turning out the lights and dropping thunderflashes in through holes and gratings. Wow... That takes me back  to my younger days! Realistic, but fun at the same time as having a serious purpose too. Its something I've never forgotten.

Ele.

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5 minutes ago, Elecrafter said:

I have a couple of my barrel staves leant up against the radiator in the house drying out, and I keep my shavings in a sealed ammo can. Seems to work for me.

The technicals of Fire is relatively simple. Its a Triangle, and each side is, Air/ Oxygen, then Fuel, and the third side is Heat. You take away anyone of those side and the triangle collapses and you don't have a fire. I learned that on a course at HMS Raleigh in the 70's where we learned how to put out a diesel fire with just a water extinguisher. Everyone these days says it cant be done! I think I would not want to try it in real life, but the principle worked. One of the most memorable days was the Fire Course and the Battle Damage Control in a gimballed tank with water pouring everywhere and the instructors turning out the lights and dropping thunderflashes in through holes and gratings. Wow... That takes me back  to my younger days! Realistic, but fun at the same time as having a serious purpose too. Its something I've never forgotten.

Ele.

Fire is and has been my life 😃 

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Thanks for the replies and advice guys n gals.

Top vents open and bottom vents were open.

It kicked off nicely with the ProQ dust. We've eaten a fair bit of the salmon and sampled the cheese. Couldn't wait. The excitement was too much!! 😲😲

I know it's supposed to rest and absorb the flavours but.......first batch and down the hatch. The salmon texture is very different from shop bought obviously. Much fresher and softer to the extent that it felt a tad weird, being so fresh I suppose that to the mass produced pre sliced plastic shop stuff.

Will do haddock soon.

Can I freeze this smoked salmon and build up a supply? Is it OK to do that?

 

PS. Dust was dried on a wooden plate beside the radiator. I was aware of this possible dampness issues. All dust stored indoors anyway.

Edited by Alan Kilroy
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I read a few reviews on Amazon re: the original dust I used and the first few reviews said that this stuff will NOT stay lit. That did it for me then.

I won't mention the brand but it's from Poland 😶

I'll use it someway with the WSM for heated charcoal smoking ribs or something.

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