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 follow...in about 3 weeks
Edited by knuckle47 - 3/3/14 at 6:24pm