Since then we went down building the filing cabinet version, firstly with the little square smoke generator, then building more elaborate air pump powered ones. These didn't work, the smoke flow through them was almost none existent, and what food came out of it was wholly inedible. The problem was that the smoke condensed and turned to creosote, all over the food and just dripped out of the cabinet. This was scrapped and the filing cabinet system totally binned.
After this I carried on on my own mostly. I have spent countless hours on the net, bought various books and finally last year had another go based on my own ideas.
I modified a large wooden box I had made some years previous, and lined it out with new plywood, as the interior had been varnished, I didn't want that contaminating anything. It didn't take too much doing, and was soon ready.
Then we come to the sticky subject of smoke generation. I have dismantled and binned the old stuff, so I decided to go down a different route. I made my own version of the AMPS. ( I have no intention of breaching copyright here, I have made it solely for my own use.) I did this as I couldn't afford one and I can squirrel way bits that might come in handy. Some perforated stainless mesh and I made into my own version of an AMPS. It was made purely on visual and with what material I had. I have to admit, I was really impressed with it, it ran for twenty five hours on one load of oak sawdust.
So what do we do first. I have always wanted to make my own smoked salmon. I have read many recipes for this, but the one that kept making the most sense and had the most recommended posts was Bob Ballantyne's on this forum.
So off to Costco and thirty quid of salmon later there I am ready to commit. I followed the recipe to the letter and the result is way better than anything I have produced before, in fact I'll go so far to say it's the first truly edible result. It is a bit too salty for me, but that is something I'll have to have a look at. I have used the #1 cure, this is to help with the cure and prevent any contamination affecting the product. It recommends 48 hours in the cure stage, I don't know if shortening this will have implications with the #1 cure, as this takes time to break down to harmless salts. I might increase the desalination time, but this could also remove the salt content from the fish and then leave it exposed to contamination.
That said I am really pleased with the way the cold smoker has performed and I have also smoked Garlic and cheese in it with outstanding results. (Outstanding for me at any rate.)
I am really hooked on this now and will continue to evolve my technique and recipes. Here's some pictures for your comment, I welcome anything good or bad.
Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year.
The first smoke generator
The second one built onto the filing cabinet.
First attempt with the wooden box smoker.