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Cold Smoking

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Greetings,
I have a few posts asking for advice for a new guy and really appreciate the input. I have not been hear for a while . I am thinking about cold smoking. I researched a bit on line and would like to know if anyone has any suggestions. I have a Masterbuilt digital smoker and saw the cold smoker kit, any input?
For what it's worth, I love this place. I have a lot to learn and feel that this is the place.
Thanks to all of you for the help.
post #2 of 13

I got interested in cold smoking about a year ago and was tossing around various ideas but fortunately my fiance bought me an Amazn Pellet Smoker for Christmas this year and in my opinion it's the greatest thing since the invention of bacon.

Easy to use and makes a perfect smoke for whatever you have goin.  I just started a batch of cheese, potatoes and butter that I'll leave in while I go to bed and harvest in the morning.

 Cold smoking opens up a whole new world of ways to smoke.  Enjoy my friend !

post #3 of 13
I'm glad it's been going well for you! Cold smoking is a great time! @MrT gave me a huge hand getting going and doing it right. First lesson, don't turn on your MES! I have a MES too and did this modification for cold smoking using a smoke generator.

You can read details in this thread:
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/243838/epic-fail-redemption/20#post_154130
If you try it you'll be happy!

Also check out Mr T's thread, it'll provide you a lot more info! He's the mentor:
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/237723/thinking-outside-the-box-mailbox-that-is/20

For more info check these out:
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/123130/mr-ts-smoked-cheese-from-go-to-show-w-q-view
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/243936/cleaning-up-your-act-clean-smoke-is-delicious-smoke
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/240463/what-is-going-on-with-smoking-cheese http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/123840/my-cold-smoking-options-w-q-view

If you have anymore questions PM me!
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks to you all. I actually have a MES box that was defective so Masterbuilt replaced it, no questions asked, but I had to cut the cord in order for them to send me a replacement I'm thinking the old replaced box would be great for converting into a cold box. Just need to build a new door give it some legs. If anyone can share a good way to build this I would appreciate it. I've seen some good ideas here but am in need of proper construction ideas.
Thanks again to everyone willing to teach a new guy.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by hooked on smoke View Post

Thanks to you all. I actually have a MES box that was defective so Masterbuilt replaced it, no questions asked, but I had to cut the cord in order for them to send me a replacement I'm thinking the old replaced box would be great for converting into a cold box. Just need to build a new door give it some legs. If anyone can share a good way to build this I would appreciate it. I've seen some good ideas here but am in need of proper construction ideas.
Thanks again to everyone willing to teach a new guy.
It just so happens that I can help you with that. For around $50 (depending on what you have on hand already) you can have an amazing cold smoker! I think you will be able to see my setup by browsing my threads, but I will update this post with a link when I get home. I'll send you a private message with more details.

Edit:

Here is the thread I was talking about.

As you can see it really works well. As bauchjw said, you should look into Mr T's posts, he is the one that helped us create our cold smokers. He has a lot of experience with smoke and is kind enough to share the knowledge he has accumulated.

I sent you a PM.
Edited by Setesh - 4/3/16 at 5:23pm
post #6 of 13

Below is a working cold smoking setup.....   mailbox, 2 adjusting 3" elbows, 3" flex aluminum dryer duct....   You can use this hooked to a cardboard box and cold smoke stuff....

 

....click on pics to enlarge......

.. ..

 

.. ..

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post
 

Below is a working cold smoking setup.....   mailbox, 2 adjusting 3" elbows, 3" flex aluminum dryer duct....   You can use this hooked to a cardboard box and cold smoke stuff....

 

....click on pics to enlarge......

.. ..

 

.. ..

 

 

Dave,

 

As you know, I copied your setup exactly, except for adding more pipe.  How do you handle all of the condensate that accumulates in the mailbox?  Do you use a catch pan underneath?  This is what my mailbox looks like after a 25 hour smoke with full trays of pellets with both ends lit (6lbs of pellets).

 

 

The runs you see went through the seams of the mailbox and onto the ground, which is unfortunate and messy!

 

**I don't mean to hijack your thread hooked on smoke, this will be relevant to you soon if you follow suit**

post #8 of 13

I haven't lit both ends....  I smoke with one end lit and for a longer time I guess....   I like a thin application of smoke...   The meat comes out golden color....

 

..... Turkey ............................................... Loin .........................................................Turkey .........................................

.. .... ....

 

 

... Bacon 12 hours of cold smoke ........

..

 

 

Do you have the 3 holes in the door ??   I think the upper hole adds air to burn volatiles in a secondary action....   Maybe you don't have enough air flow through your smoker...   Or the pellets you are using have some pine or fir or some other wood in them ....   100% hardwood pellets shouldn't have that much creosote....   something is amiss....  I dry the pellets before each use...   275 dg. F for 2 hours....

THE GOOD NEWS !!!!!!   All that krap is not being applied to your food.....   Lucky you.....  And the inside of your smoker isn't getting all that build up inside it....

I just took these pictures of my MB inside ....    Periodically it will fall off of the inside of the box...  It gets brittle and I put it in the garbage.....  and I will take a stick and scrape it off...   I don't want it to fall into the pellets...  it could catch them on fire....    this MB was last "cleaned/scraped" about 6-8 months ago....   I haven't checked the duct work.. probably should...  If it catches on fire my house could burn to the ground and my MES 30 would be history....

 

 

...click on pics to enlarge......

.. ..


Edited by DaveOmak - 4/4/16 at 2:15am
post #9 of 13
Quote:

That sure is some pretty food!  Now onto the questions:

 

Do you have the 3 holes in the door ??   I think the upper hole adds air to burn volatiles in a secondary action....  

 

      Yes, it is set up exactly as yours is.  I even tried enlarging the small top hole to the same size as the large, no change on air flow.  I think you are also correct that it lets the smoke flow more evenly towards the back of the box and out instead of swirling around in there, starving the pellets of O2.

 

Maybe you don't have enough air flow through your smoker...  

 

      The draft is very strong, I use a variable speed high static pressure fan on the exhaust to ensure that.  I live in good ol' Oklahoma and when that wind comes sweeping down the plains it really messes with your draft! The fan ensures a nice steady flow.

 

Or the pellets you are using have some pine or fir or some other wood in them ....   100% hardwood pellets shouldn't have that much creosote....   something is amiss....  I dry the pellets before each use...   275 dg. F for 2 hours....

 

      I am using 100% hardwood pellets.  My go to are Pitmaster's Choice (delicious!) and 100% apple pellets.  I do dry them in a toaster oven in my garage at 250 for 2 hours, plus the time it takes them to cool down with the door open.  This makes a huge difference, so much so that it isn't optional IMO.  I can do about 3lbs at a time in my little toaster oven.  After they cool I put them in a 5 gallon bucket with a Gamma seal lid.  The same thing I use to store my brewing grains.  They work extremely well and will keep the moisture content at whatever it is when the lid is screwed on.

 

THE GOOD NEWS !!!!!!   All that krap is not being applied to your food.....   Lucky you.....  And the inside of your smoker isn't getting all that build up inside it....

 

     Boy, you aren't kidding!  I had to scrub the entire inside of my MES after the last tests I did.  That black junk was completely covering it and I didn't want it in my food!  You know the funny thing now is that my rig cleans the smoke so well, I get hardly any color build up at all.  Here is cheese that I smoked for 25 hours with both ends of the tray lit, 100% apple pellets.  This was a LOT of smoke, but notice the color is not drastically changed:

      Yes, there are black streaks from the racks in places. :mad  I scrubbed those darned racks so much and got them as clean as I could, but apparently cheese sitting on them for 25 hours can clean better than I can 

 

I just took these pictures of my MB inside ....    Periodically it will fall off of the inside of the box...  It gets brittle and I put it in the garbage.....  and I will take a stick and scrape it off...   I don't want it to fall into the pellets...  it could catch them on fire....    this MB was last "cleaned/scraped" about 6-8 months ago....   I haven't checked the duct work.. probably should...  If it catches on fire my house could burn to the ground and my MES 30 would be history....

 

     I hadn't considered that stuff being flammable, that is a scary thought.  The last thing I want is a fire on the back porch!  I'll take mine out and clean it.  I think I'll even take a torch to it and see just how flammable it is, just to know my enemy.

 

Those pictures helped a ton Dave!  I can see that your mailbox has runs too, but instead of going through the seams like in mine they are puddling at them.  On mine they just go right thru.  Yours must be put together better than mine.  Maybe a good cleaning and some judicious use of foil tape will set me right?   Once again you are a big help Dave, thanks!thumb1.gif

post #10 of 13

Get some Q-Matz from Todd when you can....   They are great for cheese, wings, bacon.....  anything you don't want the metal grate marks on...   The cheese won't sag when it gets warm....  I've had that happen...   The stuff inside the MB is the same stuff in your home chimney JUST before you have a chimney fire......  burns hotter that all get out....

post #11 of 13
Quote:

Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

 

Get some Q-Matz from Todd when you can....   They are great for cheese, wings, bacon.....  anything you don't want the metal grate marks on...   The cheese won't sag when it gets warm....  I've had that happen...   The stuff inside the MB is the same stuff in your home chimney JUST before you have a chimney fire......  burns hotter that all get out....





Well I feel stupid, I actually have the frog mats and didn't even think of using them for cheese, I've been using them for nuts and other small stuff but obviously they would be great for cheese!

I'll break out the ol' sandblaster and give the mailbox a good cleaning out, then run some beads of high temp silicone on all the seems and one across the floor at the door to create a sort of bathtub for the condensate, that way It will stop dripping out.  After I finish smoking I'll clean up the mailbox with paper towels and run my fan on high for a day or so to dry out the piping.  

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Setesh and everyone else. I'm on it. I love a new toy.

post #13 of 13

Hi Setesh

 

Keeping a good flow of air through the unit is key to minimising condensation however you will never eliminate it all. As the inside of in the mailbox generator will almost always be warmer than the outside the walls will usually be cooler and so water and tar will condense.

 

The pellets actually burn so slowly so that with your fan assisted flow you should not have a problem keeping them alight. The mailbox mod does have a design flaw though that does not help keep the pellets burning. As the burn of the pellets switches through 180 degrees at each turn, when burning towards the smoke outlet the natural air flow is helping to pre-heating the pellets in front of it and leaving ash behind - whereas when it is burning away from the smoke outlet (towards the air intake) the heat flow is back towards the already burned ash. Under ideal conditions this would not cause a problem however in blustery conditions or in colder weather it can make the burn less reliable - especially at higher altitudes. I initially had this problem and it was resolved by turning the AMNPS through 90 degrees so that the burn was always towards the smoke exit and away from the air intake. This isn't practical though I don't think in a mailbox.

 

As you found, drying the pellets in an oven or microwave first certainly helps.

 

Hardwood pellets do produce a lot less tar than softwoods, however they do still produce a lot. With good air flow a good proportion of the tar will pass right through the smoking chamber however you will always get some condensing. It is obviously better for it to condense in the mailbox than in the smoker.

 

Wow! 25 hours for cheese is a long time!

 

I avoid the grill marks on my food by placing them on wire cake cooking racks on top of the grill racks. They are cheap and easy to wash. As Dave mentioned the Q-Matz would work well too.

 

Great pictures - Thanks for sharing Thumbs Up 


Edited by Wade - 4/17/16 at 9:58am
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