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New to smoking. First time smoking salmon and walleye.
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Need some Opinions. I've been smoking Steelhead Trout for a few years. All my smoking in the past were done on an electric "Big Chef" smoker. The temp was a little difficult to maintain especially since the Steelhead season here in Ohio is Fall through Winter which means that when you return with your catch you are smoking (outside) in cold temps, sometimes even in the teens. So, temperature sustainability is difficult. With that said my average smoking time for the Steelhead in the "Big Chef" was 8 to 12 hours. Jump ahead to today. I went out and purchased a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. It has a digital read out, timer and temperature. It appears and what I have read is that due to the way this smoker is built, it maintains the heat fairly well once set, not like the "Big Chef". With this lengthy introduction, now to my question. Everything I read as to time and temperature when smoking Steelhead in the Masterbuilt suggest either 170 degrees or 250 degrees and the time runs from 2 hours to 4 hours. Questions: Why the difference in temperature? Why the shortest of time (4 hours vs my old 12 hours)? Any help would truly be appreciated.
I smoke a fair amount of Salmon in two Big Chief smokers but more when the weather is very mild to warm. Even if it was cold, I would use a thermal blanket designed for a smoker to help retain the heat in the this walled Big Chiefs.
Smoking at 250 is more of a hot smoke. I typically start out at 125, bump to 145, bump to 155.....all over a typical 3+ hour period, until I reach an IT (Internal Temp) of 140. What type of chamber temp do you run when smoking 12 hours? Sure seems like a very long time.
I forgot to mention that I have modified both of my Big Chiefs by replacing the stock heating element with an adjustable 1000w one.
Well, when I was using the "Big Chef", I like you built a somewhat thermal shield....this was built with a bunch of fire - chimney brick I had laying around, it worked OK but as I stated I would often be smoking outside, at night in frigid temps. As for the inside heat, it was a guess, no thermometer used. I like my smoked Steelhead somewhat dry so the 8-12 hours worked out fine after a number of trial and error smokes......most of the you tube videos I've been watching show the finished product somewhat moist. Anyway, this new Masterbuilt seems very well built, I like the digital readout and I believe it will hold the heat well. So, again......in your opinion, at 200-225 temp, after a good overnight brine soak, do you think the Steelhead would be complete?
Well, a good brine soak, some good seasoning, placed them in the Smoker. Started off at 175 degrees, one scoop of wood chips, then after about an hour took it up to 225, after 4 hours they came out great. I guess I'll simply have to experiment with the smoker, temperature and time, but again they came out great. Pictures are not in order but you can see where they first came out of the brine and I air dried them, then the seasoning, then in the smoker and Walla!