My name is Brian and I am a smoker.
Great grandpa homesteaded on the Oregon coast. He and his brother had been in Kentucky and then Illinois, and then everywhere west of that. I think that they just kept heading west until the hit the Pacific and being able to go no further, Great Grandpa settled down to a life of fishing and hunting punctuated by work and business here and there.
Historical accounts of his life focus on the massive numbers of deer, elk, and bear that he shot. In those days you could harvest salmon from the creeks with a pitch fork so he did plenty of that too.
Preserving game has been in the family for a good long time.
What smokers do I have? Well there must be a half dozen around here in various stages of completion or decay. There is a stainless lined three door freezer in my shop that wants to be put on a trailer to lend to elk hunter friends. I guess I will get to it some day.
I also have some stainless boxes that were originally laboratory incubators for growing cultures in super precise temperatures. They have water jackets and are all stainless, case, racks, and shelves with super precise welds. I threw away all the computer stuff and kept them so that I can fill the water jackets with ice water and smoke at refrigerated temperatures.
To that end, I have been working on external smoke generator ideas for years, always trying to find a simpler way and now I have it down to a very simple system that is built all from off the shelf and commonly available recycled parts. I use the external smoke generator in the only commercially built smoker that I now own, a MasterBuilt unit. I like the smoker for its thermostat but I pipe the smoke in through the hole that was engineered to take pellets or chips.
I have also been working on the idea that a lot of people might like to be able to smoke in a very small way. To that end, I have built some very small chamber smokers that can take a pound of salt or a quart of garlic cloves. My daughter is an apartment dweller in a Delaware high rise so I am motivated to set her up with a small chamber and then a cardboard box based smoker that she can use and discard, keeping the smoke generator and heat source in a small storage footprint.
My family has always been makers of jerky and smoked salmon, turkeys too, but I have branched out into the smoking that most people think of, southern style. I have never had a two chamber smoker and I probably never will. I am happy enough with the pulled pork from the setup I have. As a matter of fact I can smell some right now... it is resting for dinner.
The smoker is going to be full of pork belly starting now and they is my first attempt to make bacon. I am going to use filbert for the bacon because I use filbert for everything. It is a native wood and I really like it. Today I finally ran into the guy who owns the orchard that I have been raiding for years. I always try to get standing dead wood so I did not think that he would mind and as a matter of fact he did not and even welcomed me to cut something down next time.
I cook as a hobby and it seems like I am always welcome wherever I go. At the home improvement store they remember the big jar of pickled eggs I left and at the auto parts store their faces fall when I show up just needing spark plugs and not carrying a loaf of fresh bread and a jar of soup. Obviously none of that gets people as excited as just anything at all from the smoker.
It looks like this forum is pretty active so I will be in here. I am eager to see what other people are doing for external smoke generators and other foodie/techie/good-ol-boy smokery.