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Original poster
Dec 31, 2005
I live in Japan, am a furniture maker by trade (lots of free wood chips!).
In my shop is a big hand made wood stove made from a large piece of flat steel bent into a big pipe shape, capped at one end and with a large door in the other. I also grill and smoke in it besides heating the place (cold winters here). Inside is a removable grate that is elevated above the fire. I like it because I can control the heat and amount of smoke somewhat independent of each other. I had a party in my shop yesterday, four guys sitting around the stove as I put in and took out various taste treats, of course accompanied by sufficient liquid refreshment. After pulling out the cooked meats, I can set them on top of the stove where there is a flat elevated plate to keep things warm until consumption, and I can do it all while sitting down! I haven't heard of anyone cooking like this in a stove, but it works great. Happy to meet ya, bon appetite!

Welcome, Dennis!! The Smoking Meat Forums is a truly "international" forum. It's nice to be able to "sit" and visit with friends while smoking meats and other goodies while enjoying liquid refreshments. The camaraderie that's developed is an added benefit of your art! What kind of temperature do you maintain in your stove (as you called it) and how do you control you heat temps? Please tell us more about what you like to 'que and how you do it. Hope you will learn a lot here.
Hi Dennis,

The internet is a great thing! How else could we sit in the comfort of our homes and share our interestes with new found friends so far apart. I'd like to welcome you too.

Thanks for the welcome! Originally from the west coast, I grew up with barbecue as a regular event. After nearly fifteen years now living on the other side of the Pacific, some smokey taste and the general activity itself, is something that helps keep me from getting too homesick. There is some barbecue and smoking activity going on amongst the natives here, but it isn't nearly the refined art as compared to that in the US.

My stove has an adjustable air intake below the door, and a damper in the pipe going up through the roof. The two work together is some kind of balance that I'm stll learning about with regard to cooking. I can have a full blown fire going in there and if I close both the air coming in and damper, it immediately kills the flame and an intense hot smoke environment results. Variations of adjustment give me control from high heat little smoke, to any ratio going in the opposite direction. How much heat is ideal is something I hope to learn about from you guys. If I can control my hunger, I generally wait until the logs have turned to coals before putting any meat in, still, it's very hot in there, I'd guess 400-500 degrees. Even at that temperature, totally shutting the thing down and pushing the coals towards the back and away from what I'm grilling, keeps from burning the food, and I'm finding that quick cooking this way allows for a nice grilled exterior with a still very moist interior, that is for chicken legs and wings, and for ribs. All sides of the meat are getting hit by the same temperature I reckon. It takes about fifteen-twenty minutes to cook this way, and as I mentioned, closing up the stove during the process adds a lot of smoke flavor. With thicker meats, like the slab of pork I had for lunch today, I'm having a problem with the outer thinner areas drying out while the center is just about right. I'm up for trying some salmon soon, and I think it should work pretty well. I see on the internet that some "experts" recommend low heat cooking, and I'm confused about it. I sure could use some advice. Thanks for any recommendations, and I'll read through what has been discussed previously.

Wow.. Dennis, glad to have you all the way from Japan! I have many friends in Japan and they have told me many tales about the place, the people, the food, the culture, etc.

It sounds like you already have part of the method down.. try building a cooler fire in the range of 200 to 225 degrees inside the cooking area and even thought the meat will take longer to cook, you will be absolutely amazed at the flavor.
Thanks Jeff. I think a thermometer will help me go a long way towards tightening up the cooking process, i.e. cooler fire as you suggest. By the way, one thing that is available here with regard to good flavor, is good charcoal (called sumi). There are zillions of restaurant/bars that serve skewered chicken, liver, etc.cooked over open coals and repeatedly turned over and over (a profession in itself). People make a living producing the charcoal for this, done in hand built kilns up in the mountains from the local hardwoods. The high grade stuff, called binchutan(sp?), is very hard and lasts an amazing long time, puting out smooth even heat and great flavor as the fat drips on it. When you knock two pieces of this charcoal together they ring like a musical instrument. Perhaps such is available in the states now? I'd trade good charcoal for a turkey, they're hard to get.

Hello Dennis,
Greetings and welcome to the forum. Your method of cooking sounds very interesting. If you can post some pictures, I'd certainly like to see them. By the way, what kinds of meat are used in BBQ over there? Again, welcome and please let us hear from you often.
Hi Bill, it must be nice having warm weather in January. It's already New Years here, so a happy one!

I'll try to get up some photos of my stove. The one I'm using now is a second generation model. The first one, made from an old water tank, lasted twenty-seven years before burning through. A leaky roof over it didn't help. I'd been meaning to get up there and fix it for the last ten
years, but am kind of a slow mover at times, the cow being my birth critter.

As far as meat goes, just about any sort of domestic raised type, as in the states, is available. As I mentioned, where I reside, Turkey is hard to find, but where more westerners live it is sold. The Japanese aren't into turkey, kind of ignorant about it. Lamb is available, but mostly imported. Japanese raised beef is world class, but the price is way up there too, say fifty-sixty dollars for a decent sized steak. Beef from the US and Australia is readily available at cheaper prices. I live near the mountains, so deer, wild pig, mountain goat (mostly illegal to hunt), and bear (small black in my area and grizzly types up in the north), is sometimes available. Absurd gun laws don't allow me to hunt, unless I put in an application for a rifle license and pass the tests and wait seven years for it to maybe come through. That's right, seven years! My neighbor hunts, so he brings me game once-in-awhile. We have raccoons too, but I haven't heard af anyone eating them. Lately I've seen young pheasants running around my shop, but the little buggers are too cute to hunt. Lots of large sized wild monkey too, such that it is getting to be a real problem with them coming down in groups to steal crops and whatnot. I've spoken with a few people who have partaken of this higher order of intelligence species, but whether they're tasty or not depends on who you talk to, or maybe how hungry you are.

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