Old Scaley

Smoking fish - who does it?

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Cheers Drop Bear.

Im serious when I say brine is most important. Without it there would be no such thing as the flavours of bacon, ham, smoked salmon, trout, mackerel, eel, chicken, and a variety of other traditional meats that owe their unique flavours to salt, more than they do smoke! But the combination of them has created some of humanities most popular foods!

To successfully replicate traditional smoked meats and fish, brining is mandatory. We aren't talking BBQ. We are talking cured, smoked meats and fish. 

BBQ is great. But nothing beats brined, and smoked meats and fish. Eg; Bacon, Ham, chicken, Smoked Salmon, trout, mackerel, eel. 

 

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All this talk of smoking fish got to me. I haven't really done much for years. Was thinking of building one but had a look on Gumtree.... and found a second hand ALDI gas smoker. $70 bucks. Had a mate pick it up on the Goldy for me as we live near Toowoomba. Below is a pic of the model.

 

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No, that's just a pic I found on the net. Wont get down to the goldy till next weekend to pick it up. Anyway here is another one for sale in Brissy.   Id haggle a bit. The Aldi coolabah was $200 new. He is asking $150. Been on gumtree a month with no offers it looks like.

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My Old man was an ex butcher. He used the same home made rig as you describe years later to corn meat on the farm. He once did a Wallaby leg, and you couldn't tell the difference between the Wallaby and corned Beef.

Really good way to do chooks as you mentioned. Pump them then put them back in the brine for the prescribed time.

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As I said earlier, I bought a 'new' 2nd hand smoker on Gumtree last week. Sight unseen except for a pic on the gumtree ad, and had a mate pick it up for me. He said when he collected the smoker the gas element and the housing fell out of the bottom of the smoker..... he said he didnt take too much notice, and took it home without looking at it further.

So I arrived on Saturday, with a 2kg lump of topside, some rub and a hope the smoker would be 'fixable'. My 1st observation was the smoker was In pretty good nic. The shelves looked brand new. It was obvious they had seen little to no smoke. An indication of how much smoking the unit had done would be evidenced via the woodchip bowl. It also looked brand new, the enamel was perfect... except for one spot that looked like it copped a lot of heat. It was evidence of a major flare up when the woodchips have ignited instead of smoke and the flare up has gone out by itself and not been extinguished by the cook!

We found also the gas element housing was incorrectly installed. The screws were meant to be screwed down from inside the smoker housing floor, not from underneath the hosing up through the floor! The smoke vent at the top had been also improperly installed. It was obvious previous owner had no idea, used it once, had a flare up and possibly ruined his food. Later on he tried to use it again and the gas line was blocked, blamed the smoker and sold it on gumtree to an unsuspecting buyer.... I wondered why they deleted our conversation on GT so quickly.

Anyway, we gave the unit a clean, checked the gas O rings and seal. One of the O rings was leaking gas and would have caused some drama. Lucky ol mate is a plumber and had the correct size gas O rings in his truck..  So a quick replacement saw everything hooked up ready to go. Turned on the gas... nothing. By process of elimination we found the regulator up near the gas bottle was fkd. Needs a replacement. Anyway we hooked up the gas line from his BBQ instead... all good. 

The smoker came with 3 boxes of woodchips. Hickory I think they are. I soaked them for 20 minutes, then lightly wrapped the chips in foil (so not too much air gets at them potentially causing a flare up) put the lump of meat in and fired her up...

Earlier in the week, id sent ol mate the sellers phone number so they could arrange a pick up time between them. Over a couple of beers ol mate got this wicked idea of sending some pics with a thank you text to the sellers of the unit. The images we sent are below. Considering they sold the smoker knowing it wasn't working, a cactus gas lead, etc, I bet they were surprised with the outcome! ha! The pic of the meat in the smoker is only just in. Forgot to take an image of finished product.

 

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It was a rush job. I would have liked to inject some beef stock into the meat before smoking. But I haven't a needle at the moment. The rub was 'Texas BBQ' $1.70 from Coles.

I cooked the meat for about 5 hours. The smoke lasted about 1 and a half hours but I had the temp too low for the 1st 2 hours. Was looking at the farenheight  numbers not the Celcius numbers as the temp guage had condensation in it at the beginning. Didn't have my glasses.. just beer glasses....Anyway, by the end of the 2nd hour I noticed it was on the wrong heat and turned up the gas.

All turned out well actually. Was like a rare roast beef but with smoked flavour. Was tender (for topside) despite the short cooking time. We all loved it and the kids got into it. That's a win. We had 'recovery sandwiches' of the leftover roast mid morning!

Have 2 things id like to cook next. Some eel,...…., and pump and rub a chicken with the KFC recipe spices that have been leaked on the net! Will show the process when I do it.

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