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Looking for some advice on a good Salmon Smoker

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Navman, May 26, 2013.

  1. Navman

    Navman Canby Oregon Active Member

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    I have never smoked anything before (except that) and have no clue what to get.

    I see some of the big box stores have them using charcoal, gas or electric, don't know which route to go :confused:

    A fellow boater brings out blocks of cheese in the summer, man is it good, may try to bribe him this summer.

    Also, if anyone is willing to give up their secret recipes :thumbup:

    What else do you smoke in your cooker?
     
  2. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    just finished some chicken deviled eggs are good too (apple wood to smoke with)
     
  3. slimer13

    slimer13 Deer Park Well-Known Member

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    On a budget, Big Chief.

    If not, Traeger
     
  4. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    I got a big chief, always worked well, just remember its going to take time to properly smoke. I remember my dad getting up early then by bed time, the fish would be done.
     
  5. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Little Chief smokers are great for a beginner. If you go that route, get the front loader, not the top loader model.
    I smoke a lot of salmon and trout and the simplest recipes are the best.
    Garbage in, garbage out is the final word on what quality you end up with.
    I take a lot of care when handling my fish before, during and after the smoking process.
    Save the box that the smoker comes in. Cut a hole in the top, the front (where the chip pan goes and the sides where the draft holes are.
    The box helps insulate the smoker on cold, windy days, otherwise it takes forever to get up to the correct temperature.
    I use a food grade bucket for the brine process and a real important step after the brine is to rinse it real good and then let it air dry so it gets that tacky stage called "pellicle". Don't put the product in the smoker until you get that clear sticky glaze over it all.
    I use a small desk top fan to speed that process up.
    I make my own chips using an electric chainsaw with no bar oil added to the saw.
    There are a lot of good used Little Chief smokers on CL and estate sales for cheap this time of year.
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I use a top loader Little chief I have it setup with two extra racks (you can buy extras at Bi Mart) I have done everything from beef, venison, turkey jerky, to 12lb turkeys in it. Works a treat on tuna and salmon. We even did some trout in it one time then stuffed with apple sauce and a crumble OH MAN was that good.

    I prefer Apple and cherry wood to Hickory and Mesquite.
     
  7. samuelm16

    samuelm16 se pdx Well-Known Member

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    Top load big chief or a masterbuilt just smoked some sturgeon yesterday on my big chief
     
  8. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    You should get a Cheech & Chong, they smoke ANYTHING! ;)
     
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  9. Navman

    Navman Canby Oregon Active Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the info guys!

    I don't mind spending a few hundred on a smoker 'cause I ain't spending it on ammo right now

    @ Stomper lol, I used that brand a lot in my younger days :paranoid:
     
  10. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    Buy a Traeger and you can use it for everything. I just did a brisket and pork shoulder today and every salmon I have done has been superb according to everyone that eats it. Just my $.02
     
  11. samuelm16

    samuelm16 se pdx Well-Known Member

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    How low can you keep it? Low enough to smoke cheese?
     
  12. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    look up cold smoking
     
  13. samuelm16

    samuelm16 se pdx Well-Known Member

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    I know how to cold smoke thanks though, looks like with the traegers you have to buy a seperate unit to do so, ive always wanted a traeger for brisket and ribs and chicken but for smoking fish and cheese id still use a big chief
     
  14. 1stIDFMP

    1stIDFMP North of Salem, south of Portland Active Member

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    samuelm16 - you don't have to buy a seperate unit to smoke with the Traeger. The lowest setting is smoke, which runs at about 160 degrees. I've used my Traeger as a smoker several times.
     
  15. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    There are cheaper smokers than Traeger if you want to buy the Chinese stuff or don't mind living without all the automatic controls.
     
  16. Navman

    Navman Canby Oregon Active Member

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    Does anyone have a Masterbuilt 30 Smoker?

    It's one I'm looking at, I don't have a lot of room on the back patio, so vertical may save a little more room.

    Plus, it comes with a REMOTE and a man can't have too many of those :banana:
     
  17. dude young

    dude young SE PDX Active Member

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    I had one for a couple of years. It served me well. Keep it dry or the electronics will get funky. It worked real good until it got wet. The temp never fluctuated more than 5 degrees when it was new on a mild day. In cold temps, it would be in the 10-15 range. It is a good entry to the smoking world. Don't be alarmed when you decide to upgrade after a couple of years. I did. I moved up to a MAK 2-star General. Made in Oregon. Fully digitally controlled with 4 program cycles. Electronics are fully weather sealed. It has a cold smoke box on it and more than enough accessories to satisfy your manliness. It'll cost you. So, get the Masterbuilt or Little Chief and start saving your pennies.

    I just did a springer fillet in the cold smoke this morning. The grill area gets up to 180 but the cold smoke chamber stays down to 75-80. There are tricks you can use to keep the smoke colder. You need cold smoke for cheese and salmon Lox. I have even smoked watermelon slices in it.

    Just get something and feed the new addiction!
     
  18. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    I use an old refrigerator as a smoker.
     
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  19. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I went to Home Depot and had them rip a sheet of plywood up and I cut it to size to make my own smoker.
    2X2X3'. Smoker box on the bottom and all the space for racks I could ever want.
    Use those charcoal starters for elements to burn the chips. Tried the hot plates and they are lawyered up and shut off,stopping the whole game.
    Just put the elements on a spacer (to keep them from starting the plywood on fire) and the Little Chief pans on top of the elements with chips in them. I use 2 because of the volume of my smoker.
    I got some of the racks at a used kitchen supply shop but you can find them at garage sales too.

    Now,since I am a terrible fisherman,I need a source for salmon
     
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  20. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    Traeger can smoke from 160 to 180 depending on the pellets and the time of the year. SUmmer is a little higher temp. But even with the hickory pellets which burn hotter than others, it never gets above 180.

    There are parts of the smoker that are hotter than others inside and if you put something in the front left corner, it is much slower to reach temps for meat. I say this because I have never done cheese so I couldn't tell you for sure.

    Also if you put it on something to raise it up, it will be much cooler temp.

    I love to use mine for Papa Murphey's pizzas as well as homemade pizza's. The cheese has a nice smoked flavor as well as the crust.
     
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