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My life started SMOKING!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello all. New member here in a big way. First a little background; I love to cook. I attended professional culinary school and have been working as a Chef at an upscale restaurant. I was recently approached by a very large gourmet grocery chain. They are starting a new flagship store in my area. It is going to be huge. They are installing a giant smoker and are going to sell not only smoked meats from the meat case, but also put in a mini-cafe just to showcase them (with beer on tap!). They want me to run the smoker, design the menu, everything! I'm so excited. The only problem is I have barely used a smoker before. We did some smoking in culinary school, but most (fine-dining) restaurants don't use smokers so I haven't used one in the workplace. I've been pouring over books and websites in the last week to get more information over the last week, seeing as I haven't officially got the job yet, but that's just a technicality. I haven't seen the smoker yet. The store won't be open until the first of the year. So far I know that it is a vertical hot smoker. They are planning on using green apple wood at least for the start up and keeping the menu simple for the first month, until I can start playing with it and learning it's "moods". I'm not sure yet, but I believe it also can get down to 100 degrees, so slow smoking might be a possibility. Anyway that's my story! Looking for recipes on everything. Besides smoked meats, fish, and shellfish, I need to come up with other ideas such as smoked nuts (better to soak them in hot sauce or coat them in rub?), smoked cheeses, smoked potatoes, beans, stuffed portobellos, tomatoes, smoked fruits, smoked soups, possibly even smoked deserts (?), whatever. The world is my smoked oyster! I'll let y'all know more about the smoker itself when I see it next week or the week after. I've already signed up for the ecourse and purchased four books. So, thoughts, comments, suggestions? This is going to be fun!
post #2 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Sounds like win-win situation for you! Congratulations! We have some real pros, you certainly won’t find a shortage of anything here! From ABT’s to salmon to brisket to dog treats! Pull up a chair, ask and you shall receive! wink.gif
post #3 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Sounds like a wonderful opportunity 8) Might I ask what part of the world you are in?
post #4 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Wow. That sounds great. Do keep us informed.
BTW, welcome to SMF.
post #5 of 14
Welcome to SMF! Sounds like you have a whole lot of learning headed you way. Check out the various meat forums and the recipe section to gather some great recipe ideas. Best of luck to you!
post #6 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Welcome WholeSmoker (am I to guess the job offer is from Whole Foods?)! Glad to have you with us. I graduated from J&W in Providence RI, 1992; AOS Culinary Arts/BS Hotel Restaurant Management. I've found this to be the most OUTSTANDING smoking site anywhere. If it can be thought of or done, you'll find it here. Ask away my friend, there isn't anything we all can't do!! Enjoy!!
post #7 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

PS: Go get yourself a smoker for at home. It'll be GREAT practice...
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Thanks for the welcomes! I'll be doing my best to bring the taste of smoke more to the peoples mouths. Ya, I've got a lot of learning to do first though. Haven't posted any questions yet as I'm trying to read up all the forums first. There is a lot of info here! SmokeMack, yes, very astute guess. Also, I have a couple colleagues that graduated from J&W. Good school. I graduated from L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD. CajunSmoker, I'll post the exact location in a week or so when I've officially sealed the job, I'll include some pics too. P.S. SmokeMack, I live in an inner city area and don't have a spot for a smoker in my alley, however, my fiance and I will be moving out to the location in a month or two, which is in the outer-suburbs, and I will be researching home smokers soon for just that reason. I'll look into any suggestions you throw at me.
OK, I'm thinking a couple questions and guess I'll ask now before I try to read the ENTIRE forum list.
First, for brisket, It seems the most popular cut is with deckle-off and the point on, correct? Also has anyone smoked the whole fore-shank with bone-in? I'm thinking that would be really good.
Second, pork shoulder; Picnic cut or Boston Butt? I assume with bone-in is usually the preferred way for flavor, but that's from my oven roasting experience. Also, anyone smoke a whole suckling pig? -ya my mind is going crazy with ideas...
post #9 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

Welcome! I'm a new member myself and have a turkey in my smoker right now! I will be posting pictures when I'm done.
post #10 of 14
Welcome. Did you get the job? Did you get to see the smoker yet? Is it wood, charcoal or propane powered?

I have always wanted to smoke a large volume. Maybe you could post some educational large volume picures.

Good Smoke.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Re: My life started SMOKING!

YES! I got the job! Wooohooooooo! Yes, it's Whole Foods. It is located in Fair Lakes, Virginia. The opening date had been finalized as January 17th, 2007. They are flying me down to Austin first to get training on a smaller smoker they have there. We are going to actually start playing with the smoker starting Jan 6th. We are going to need a lot production ready before the opening day. I still haven't seen it yet, so I don't have any pics, but rest assured they'll be coming eventually. I'm a little worried, because it going to be a huge volume of stuff. More excited than worried though! Thanks for this great website for help, tips, recipe ideas, and good folks. Going out that way now to look at house/ apartment renting. See y'all later!
post #12 of 14
Great news! I use to live a few miles from Fair Lakes. My previous employer had a facility there.

Best of luck to you. Post of pic of that big smoker.

If you are a gun guy, check out Virginia Arms in Manassas. Tell Bernie that Mike sent you. Don't be intimidated if he tries to throw you out after you tell him that... Just kidding. They are good people.
post #13 of 14

Re: My life started SMOKING!

hello hello,
dude ,
it sounds like your "living my american dream"

please come back and tells us all about your experiences in smoking with commercial smoker.

im glad to meet you...
post #14 of 14
Welcome to SMF and congratulations on the new job Wholesmoker!!!
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