Sunday, December 5, 2010

Smoke Shack Part II - test run

Last week, durnig the evenings I finished the functional build  of the smoke shack by installing the roof and the smoke stack. I used left over shingles so that part was free.

By the way, the garage has never seen a car as long as I've owned it! Anyone else?

Initially I had planned to use a flexible hose for the smoke delivery but that didn't work out because it was to unwieldy so I went with 4" aluminum dryer duct, some elbows and real aluminum tape.

For the heat source I chose an electric coil heater - about $15 dollars.

A small pot will hold the fuel, in this case apple chips from the store. But I'm working on a more inexpensive source. Also I want to see if chunks will smolder longer than chips, but for this test run, this is what I have.

Here is the fire box setup. Concrete blocks form the walls. I chose blocks as they are portable and economical. They provide shelter from the wind for the smoke, and a flame proof base for the chimney, which is just an aluminum flange with an elbow attached.

Here is rig fully set up.

Upon first firing it up, it is good at moving the smoke and not leaking. A nice surprise, I really didn't know what to expect. We have smoke!

Here is a little walk around.

Part of the intial firing is to check out how long the fuel will last, practice adjusting burn rate, and to find out what is really happening inside the smoke chamber. In terms of the burn, with this first practice I got to about 35-40 minutes per load of chips.  As I said, I need to test with chunks.

I purchased a little indoor /outdoor digital thermometer - it will allow me to monitor the inside of the smoke box without opening the box.  It measures temp and humidity, both important in smoking (and air drying meat, but that is another project!).

The picture didn't turn out very well, but you can see that the outdoor temp is  about 11F lower than in the box. Also notice the humidity is 20% lower in the box.

Time is passing and here is a couple more pictures. Yes, the sun has gone down.

As long as the box is running, let's smoke something! I choose cheese and salt.

I smoked the cheese and salt for about 2 hours.

The cheese is delicious,  so we know it works! I will be pulling the pork belly out this week for curing. Bacon next weekend!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
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  1. David, full marks for ingenuity and persistence! I hope you will enjoy the full fruits of your labour in due course... If it were me, I'd be looking for a piece of venison.

  2. Wonderful! I am really wanting one of these now! Oh PHiL...

  3. Mark, Thank You! We'll have to se abopu that, I'm pretty sure I can wrangle a bit....

  4. Thanks Becky! The fun is just beginning! - about 20 hours to build and maybe $175 in parts. If one would have some extra lumber, I'm sure it could be built for less. Let me know if you make one!
    Thanks again!

  5. Way to go David, you did a nice job! I know you're gonna love it! :)

  6. Thanks Cowgirl! I'm pretty excited about it! Your build was my inspiration! Thanks for your support.

  7. Congrats, congrats, congrats on your new smokeshack! It´s a beauty.

    Another Cowgirl inspired (wanna-be) cold smoker, here ...but this one is from Argentina. We´re in the middle of summer right now ...perfect time for planning and building so as to be ready for hog-killin´ time in the fall (April or May.)

    Question: is the bloom still on the rose or... are you having any druthers about the design. I know that Cowgirl sometimes wishes she´d done it bigger. Have you started to wish you´d done or not-done something as regards the build?

    I´m crazy about your tounge and groove choice! That´s great for us non-carpenter types. Did it blow your budget? Down here, materials are expensive ...but labor is so cheap, I could hire someone to build it if I didn´t want the satisfaction so bad.

    I noticed you put a "floor" in your shack about half way up. Was that worth the trouble. Does it help with the smoking? Would you leave it out now that you´ve had time to use it a few times?

    Anyway, many kudos, bro! What nice job. I hope you can understand why I´m asking so many questions ...I really need to NOT buy materials that I can get away with not using.

    Gimme a shout sometime,
    Mike in Buenos Aires


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