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Pistachio shells and the amnps

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
While Leah has already used the shells for her salmon, I have collected enough shells to run quickly thru the food processor and fill a few rows of my pellet tray smoker for a cold cheese smoke. I'm sitting on a heck of a stash, about 6 lbs chopped.

Several of us have discussed some interesting hopes but I wonder still, if anyone else has actually used them. The temps outdoors were in the 20's and I loaded my lower tray of the whiskey barrel with Vermont white cheddar, Danish Havarti, Danish Gouda, and some Italian provolone, asiago and mozzarella.

I placed about an inch of oak pellets for the startup ash bed in the tray and laid out 3 rows of corn kernel sized pistachio shells. They lit very well and then started a beautiful medium density smoke that wafted through the cold air with a wonderful pungent scent. For the first minutes of the burn it was almost necessary to seal the burning tray in the smoker and shut down the vents. The fire would not die out. However once the laws of physics took over, it worked great.

If I could find the word to describe this terrific smell I'd consider myself brilliant but all I can say is that it was was like a combination of closet cedar and a lively aroma of rosemary. It was no way near the typical smokey fragrance of .....smoke. It was a stimulating aroma that heightened my sense of the crisp winter air and the puffing smoker. It never seemed to possess a dry stale smoke smell as the tray smells when it is finally all done.

My cold cheese smokes are usually about 4-5 hours. We prefer a deep smoke taste and the Vermont in us screams for cob smoke flavor.

Anyone who may have thought about trying this pistachio shell thing, I would encourage you to start saving up your shells, smash them up just a little and lite 'em up.

A review of the smoked product to about 3 weeks
Edited by knuckle47 - 3/3/14 at 6:24pm
post #2 of 19
Not thought of pistachio shells, have to give that a try ! Sounds good ! Love pistachios !
post #3 of 19

Looking forward to the taste review!

gives me an excuse to go buy some stachios

post #4 of 19
Sounds Like something I'll have to try...
post #5 of 19

Well I must share that Knuckle47 has changed my life!!!! Smiles.




I have not ground or crushed up the shells but used them whole and am so grateful for your idea!!! You really put me onto something amazing and I agree that the smell is beyond lovely!


What I have noticed, is that with smoking chips, the SMOKING PROCESS smells very strongly, and with the pistachio shells the process on the porch doesn't smell as much as hickory or such, but then the FOOD smells amazingly and also tastes so well and oddly, seems softer????


In any event, thank you, indeed, for your great idea, and I am VERY excited to follow and learn of your next smoked result!!!


Cheers!!! - Leah

post #6 of 19

My Son in Law works at a place next to a pistachio orchard owned by his boss.  He is going to get me some of the wood and they have tons of the shells.  he said he was going to bring me a 5 gallon bucket full.


It seems that we potentially have an unlimited supply of the stuff.  I do wonder how the small branches will work.


The ideas here for these little wonders are awesome!



post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Leah, you may have discovered better words to describe the smoke. It really is a pleasant fragrant aroma of smoke and not the fireplace ash smell of other woods. One of the issues I have with my cold whiskey barrel is that when I am actively in the chamber turning pieces of cheese, my clothes quickly absorb the smokey scent and it lingers with me as you said about your porch. It's as if I was chimney sweeping all day.

It's not a pleasant scent. With my "Felix Unger" type personality, I feel that I can't rest comfortably until I go take a shower and change my clothes. At best, that's 5 hours from the start of the smoker. My wife may describe it a bit differently but you get the idea.

Let's hope there are other frontiers on our smokey horizons
post #8 of 19

Aha! (Your Felix comment is fun)!


Certainly though, the pistachio smell is nicer than chips, as far as clothing goes, and also hair!


(The latter being what shall absorb each and every scent on earth and the very most by the way, and so the only way to "rid" an aroma from a person entirely is to make sure, in addition to changing clothes, to wash one's hair - hence the reason many a bloke gets caught with a perfume scent lingering on him from "somewhere" - smiles - despite him changing shirts).


But that's food for fodder in other genres, and so here's to those pistachios and fabulous things!!!!!!!!!!


Your resourceful idea with these great shells, is simply brilliant!


Cheers!!! - Leah

post #9 of 19

I wonder what other nut shells would be good for smoking. Pecans, walnuts.......

post #10 of 19

I have used pecan shells  many times just be sure the shell is empty no fruit or it gets bitter.

post #11 of 19
Macadamia nut shell are good too.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Is there a source for macadamia nut shells? We don't have them here in NJ. They don't make it past the George Washington Bridge :). Sorry local joke. Couldn't resist
post #13 of 19
I.don't know of any off the top of my head but if your serious about getting some I can make some calls.

I usually get some Mac nuts from my father in laws property. He also has a bunch of avocado and mango trees in that area that we raid once or twice month. The kids love pickled mangoes!
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Great offer and opportunity. I'll would think 10 lbs of shipping anything from Hawaii is not minimal in costs. I shipped my daughters wedding dress to California from Nj. $196.00 later, I could have almost bought it an airline ticket for the seat next to me. Then to add insult to injury, I had to ship it back.... Although I just love that koa wood!

Maybe I should just stop by and pick some up biggrin.gif
post #15 of 19

I have smoked pork tenderloin with both pistachio shells and pistachio wood.  Both are a fantastic, light, sweet smoke.


I was at one of the big pistachio farms in Alamogordo, NM last year when they were pruning the trees (early March, I think).  They told my dad and I that we could take as much wood as we could haul off. We gladly took them up on that offer.

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
We have some large apple orchards here and I thought about asking for the limbs and chunks they cut and prune but I am wondering whether or not any pesticides used on theses trees might prove to be an issue
post #17 of 19

I have never heard of using nut shells to smoke. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

post #18 of 19

Yes, thanks to Knuckle47, we have ONLY used pistachio shells, and for months now, (no more smoking chips at all), and just love the result!


The lobster I smoked Wednesday (in seafood section) was thus done with only pistachio shells, and on a tiny Brinkmann gas smoker no less (and an OLD one at that) and yet I was so pleased!


As always, "Thank you to Knuckle47" therefore, for changing my life and the way I smoke!


Cheers! - Leah

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey Leah,

Thanks for the accolades. I'm best thinking that the pistachio shells are now just commonplace as a smoking material we enjoy. I wished it was penicillin or some other miracle development but it's just a nut sack. I do however have about 9 lbs stashed in a zip lock or two.

I admit the fragrance is very nice compared to some other wood we use. I need to use it more for other foods but I may need to get a smaller unit that creates heat without flavoring from other wood or coals. Keeps the shell a singular commodity rather than a hybrid mix.
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