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Moving to the Phillipines and want to do some SCHMOKING over there !!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'll be in Cebu area and my idea is to make one of those Trash can/electric smokers. Anybody know how hard it will be to find the parts ? trash can, electric hot plate and a grate or 2 which I am sure I can get someone to make there. Labor is really cheap.


Beef is way too expensive so I am figuring mostly pork. Pulled and Ribs.


Woods ??? I like hickory here and I can bring a few bags over but don't want to if banned. I figure if they sell there then I will bring or smuggle in. There they might have some local woods that would work so any recommendations from experienced persons ?

They have Coconut  wood and shells, Jack Fruit wood, Guava tree and Acacia (which they say burns hot like Mesquite - not to my liking).


So any rec's or tips from experienced PHILIPPINE SCHMOKERS ?



post #2 of 8

well howdy neighbor ((firgurtively speaking, i'm moving to just Northeast of Cagayan de oro soon)). Not a **philippine** smoker yet but I fall into the wannabee smoker catagory with some pretty successful attempts so far.  sorry i didn't see your post before man. I was in PH back in march/april 2013 for about 4 weeks. Are you going to be in Cebu city or out in the country? You moving permanently or just extended vacation?  


Plastic tubs/containters/trash cans are more common over there than bottled water here in the states. I don't recollect seeing metal trash cans but i'm sure they are there. I did see many outlets on the road sides for steel 50gal drums if you decide to go for something that big. electric hotplates are everywhere. no issue finding them. Local mall will have a wide selection of hot plates, if your out in the country, try the market, ours in balingasag has them. as you know, labor is CHEAP, so grates or even a custom smoker isn't going to be high. as far as finding material, sheet steel, angle iron, tube etc... pretty easy. the little hardware stores out in the country where i'm moving has a small selection sitting in the store. In CDO, its like nashville tn as far as what is available if you know where to look for it. 


You can get hickory and mesquite at *true value hardware* over there, maybe even apple and cherry but the ones i saw were wood chunks, not chips. and they ARE NOT CHEAP. I'd have to check with wife but best I can remember, I paid close to $15 for a 2lb or so bag of mesquite chunks. Your best bet on american flavors is going to be putting several bags in a balak bayan box and ship em over like that along with other harder to get things. We use both LBC and STAR shipping services depending where we're shipping from. Shipping out of knoxville tn, the boxes are 18x24 and 24tall. Las Vegas and Chicago area LBC boxes are only 18in tall with LBC, the star boxes in chicago are 24 tall where we ship from in Elgin. I currently have 10 lbc boxes ready to go back to chicago next time i go, between them, they contain over 120lbs of hickory, mesquite, and apple along with LOTS of other stuff.


Another consideration, todds amnps cold smoke generator, I got one, all the wood i'm taking is in pellet form to go in it, since i'm going to just build my hot/cold smoke chamber once i get there. 


If your think you might be *curing* bacon or something that will require pink salt, I DO RECOMMEND getting your pink salt here and bringing it with you. That way you KNOW WHAT YOUR % of nitrite is. I saw pink salt over there in several grocery stores and always looked for the % content and never saw it listed. Not saying it can't be found with the proper %age, its just far simpler to take a lb or 2 with you as you go and KNOW you got the right stuff to begin with. 


post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

CDO  wow! Nah I am going to try living there but I don't think its the best place. I am thinking for a couple of years to get my feet wet and then I am thinking Thailand, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico or Uruguay per my reading of International Living, places they recommend. I have a friend from here and his family and I met a nice woman that I am very close with so I got some footing. Anyways plan is to stay in the burbs of Cebu City like Talisay or Minginilla. My smoking will probably be the standard stuff, pulled pork and ribs. Everything else costs a fortune as far as beef and turkey go. I'll tell you though if I was already situated there and I was returning from here I'd load up a 16 pound frozen bird but just Thanksgiving it with sweet potatoes , mashers, cranberry sauce and sage sausage dressing and a nice 10 lb or so brisket for the smoker. Anyways so you don't know of any local wood there that would work good? I might have to smuggle in some hickory chips then I guess. They don't weigh much but we'll see. The list is getting mighty long. My name is Dave BTW and nice meeting you. Figure out the smoking, how to get American TV, any bars to watch the games on Monday morning and where the fish are biting I'll have it made LOL. Oh yeah one thing great about the Phils is San Miguel, a great beer and Tanduay white (I've been warned to stay away from the dark rumors of toxicity) a good but cheap rum. The other thing , I am hoping for a good at least 1500 watt ELECTRIC hot plate. Bringing my Maverick remote therm. Keep in touch !!!


PS: Did you ever do a cost benefit analysis on the balikbayan  box. Seems not worth it to me on a cursory view. I say might be cheaper to take an extra bag on your flight and pay or hit the local S&R (Costco like). Just curious.

post #4 of 8

Dave, I'm Louie, dum bass (cause smart fish don't end up in a skillet), call me anything you like, just not late for dinner.


My wife immigrated almost 8 years ago. We're building our house (3127sqft) right down the road from the inlaws. We're less than 1/2 mile off Bohol sea coast. Their putting roof on house this week. We're going for a few years to try it out but i fully expect to stay. Already got a chicken farm going for Sr. Pedro chicken roaster company, 600-800 chicks every 2 months, finishing up paperwork on a rice paddy, produces approx $3k a year on average. I hope your cost of living isn't too bad living in Cebu burbs. I know in manila, COL is very comparible to US. 


Woods over there. We grilled out on the beach several times using dried coconut husks, coconut charcoal too but didn't have any coconut wood to add smoke. Didn't get to smoke at all when we were over there. First week was **holy week** for easter, next weekend was daughters 5th birthday, 3rd week was a rough heat wave so it was ungodly hot. 4th week i was up in manila area seeing friends, family and customers. If your already sending BB boxes, throw a bag or 2 in each one if sending multiple boxes. The cost analysis i did was multiple BB boxes vs 20ft shipping container. For the few big things I couldn't get into a container I can replace over there once I move. Most of what I want to take I can fit into BB boxes. The paperwork to do a ocean container would have been $5k or more from what I was finding. Vehicles I was seeing pretty close to 150% minimum tax on the value of said vehicle based on country of shipping origin, then shipping costs on top of that. figured nawww, i'll just buy another car/truck/van when i get there. picked up a suzuki multicab truck with drop side bed back in march. those are handy lil buggers. 



Once you get there, shoot me a line, I got a friend or 2 in the area, 1 of em is into fishing and I'm sure could probably give ya some tips on places to go. search up *Haruan Hunter Store* on facebook, he sells fishing gear out of manila area, will also ship. very very nice guy to deal with if you need fishing gear once over there. although Cebu might well have a shop or 2 that has fishing gear ******if you can manage to find its location********...... hahaha 


X10 on the tanduay, i've been drinking tanduay superior for 10 years with no ill effects. My mental deficiencies were already established YEARS before i discovered tanduay!! hahaha:30: beats me on the wattage on hotplates, i'd assume their available. if ya can't find a 1500 watter there in Cebu, ebay outta china i'm sure would have em.


post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Louie good meeting you. Wow you are a brave guy , you definitely are ALL IN !!! You might want to check out a website called   LIVING IN CEBU it is really relevant to all of the Phils. Nah I am taking the rental route. Seems that even high priced real estate rents cheap so no sense taking risks, besides it is virtually impossible for you and I to actually own property over there LOL. Yeah I got so much stuff I need to get rid of ... I guess. Really sux that part but storage is a killer after a while.  I am thinking me and my friend can live good over there for about $1500 a month. Not much to spend money on except rent and food and San Miguel. DVD's for a buck LOL( but check the sound first). I will try the coconut husks in the smoker. A bag or 2 of hickory takes up a little room but doesn't weigh much. Maybe I'll bring a hot plate from here. Maybe I only need 1000 watt which I can get at WILCON. Thinking about boat ideas and getting an outboard in there cheap. Talk to you later neighbor.

post #6 of 8



For the smoker, I'd use the coconut wood itself. Don't know how well a husk will do for smoking. The husks are good for fire fuel, the hull after you've drank the juice and removed the coconut meat is what is turned into charcoal. For smoking, I'd imagine that the hull is better than the husk for smoking but the actual wood from the tree is what I'd use. Shouldn't be any issue getting coconut wood. Biggest issue is getting it to season out some in 200 degree weather and 164% humidity!!! hahaha:30: Another one I want to try once I get there is bananna trees. Very curious as to what flavor it would give if it doesn't kill me for some reason. If your going to send any BB boxes, throw you some apple in there for chicken too. Chicken is EVERYWHERE. Go outside of town a few miles and you should be able to get *****native chicken***** without much issue. Pretty much organic the way I had it explained to me. No feed, no shots, hormones no nothing, just raised on what they find in the wild. Native chicken is VERY VERY common down by me, poverty is so bad down south, no $$ for all that artificial crap. You take a NC, on a rebar cooking grate/grill over charcoal sitting on the sandy beach watching the sun go down with some cold san miguel, makes for a very nice evening.


Your right, for you or me as a american its very hard to *own* land. My wife is filipino so our land is just going to be in her name. Business all in here name. I appreciate the living in cebu, I do already have it in my favorites. I'd expect your pretty close on the money, $1500 a month for cebu area to rent. 


One issue you will encounter on hotplates is, their electricity over there is 220 and ours here is 110 unless you get a industrial hotplate. Their well plugs are the same as ours but its 220, not 110. You can do a quick google search for *sm mall cebu city*. Once you get onto sm's website, and you have selected the cebu location, there will be contact info. Couple of bucks for a phone call or 2 can save you a lot of space in luggage if they have a unit with enough wattage. My wife hates it when I make her call for info for me. I have determined that I'm bringing a chain saw from here. Can get a 60cc stihl loggers saw used around here for approximately 3-500 used, over there to buy one new is $1500-2K usd (60-80Kpeso)!!!! Yup, disassemble it and split it between 4 BB boxes. Electronics though, flat screen tv's, WOW, much cheaper to bring one from here. Some pretty good deals can be found on sulit classifieds or ayosdito classifieds. Only meet in public places, I have beeen advised MANY MANY times by friends and family over there and my wife too, never give out your home location. As a foreigner, you will always have a bulls eye on your back as a target for trouble makers. Your actions/lifestyle will determine how BIG that target is. Dress down/casual and only meet in public, never go alone and never go with them.  That was the advice given to me many times. 


Here's a shot of our house. 3127sqft, less than $15,000.oo USD in it to date, roof will be on by the end of next week. 1000sq meters of land.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

So Louie, lets see. $1500 a month I am hoping to cover all my expenses for the both of us after I am initially set up. I am both a pretty good cook and shopper. That is what I'll try to do. Rent and utilities I am thinking will be about half of that at the most. I will try to buy food in the open markets vs. supermarkets as much as I can. Thinking only motorbike. The driving is like anarchy over there. My buddy bought one of those used  cars from Japan where you order and they ship it all broke down into parts and then it is re-assembled there so to avoid the import tax. He got like 2007 Nissan cube with a/c and only like 60k miles for $6k. Electric converters but don't know how good they are for the high intensity appliances. Want to bring a deep fryer there too for boardwalk fries and whitebait.  Do you think a 1,000 watt hot plate could get my trash can up to 250 degrees ??? My buddy was looking into bringing a flat screen back with him but the sales guy at Best Buy advised against it due to handling so I guess I'll have to buy mine there. I'll take your advice on the SULIT and AYOSDITO except I'll probably find my rental there   LOL. Go on the LNC board and check out a few posts on Health insurance and PHILHEALTH the health insurance was from A+ International. Guy says he has both and is pretty well covered for $875 a year except the health care quality seems pretty shoddy there. Dress down LOL  not a problem Shorts T shirts and flip flops almost 24 - 7. SM Mall I know,  go to the movies there. Might join S&R too.


Nice place you got there. What do you think in the end it you'll have tied up in there ? That's a lot of space too LOL 3k + WOW.  How good is the net there ? If it's decent you might want to find a friend or relative with premium cable here and pay for an extra box if they'll let you keep it there and hook it up to a SLINGBOX. I am trying to figure out what to do there that does not entail either working or spending too much money HaHa but that is the crux of the biscuit everywhere I guess. Going to check out Boracay for a short vist. Been to Bohol and Palawan. Maybe one of those places is the answer for me. I did think Alona Beach in Bohol was nice but kind of touristy, nicer beach though. Hey is your wife going to be packing ? I would never do that here but am concerned that people might target you knowing you as a foreigner are not allowed to be armed. haven't really mrt too many bad people there but I heard they are out there.


Figured some Australian or retired military guys would help us out with woods to smoke with there. I did start a topic on the LNC board so just will have to try some things but I will bring a bag or 2 of hickory. Wonder if that is breaking cstom rules. They never check me anyways.

post #8 of 8

i'd imagine a 1000w might do it. might need a bit of insulation. don't know. my mes30 is spec'd to have a 800w element in it but its also a insulated box, it will heat up to 275d. maybe somebody else with more knowledge will chime in on wether or not a 1000w hotplate will do it. might check through the smoker build section. might get a answer there too.


since they have american flavored chips available over there already, i'd imagine there whouldn't be any issues taking a commercially sealed bag or 3 in your luggage. 


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