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Process for tracking smoke recipes

Discussion in 'Blowing Smoke Around the Smoker.' started by waywardswede, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Hello all

    So, my experimentation with curing / smoking continues.  I'm trying a lot of different things, so I'm doing my best to document everything just in case I get something right.  I thought I would take a minute to share what I'm doing, to see if a) it might be helpful to anyone, and b) anyone might have suggestions on how I could improve on it.

    I've set up a spreadsheet to track the different recipes, I used a pdf file from here as the base template (I think it's one that Pops uses?) and tweaked it quite a bit for my own use.  I've changed it fairly substantially, so I don't think I'm breaking any copyrights, but I'll be happy to hand it over to this forum and/or add a copyright from here if there is an issue.  Everything I've learned has come from here anyway, so I don't have a problem with you taking ownership.

    I'm going to try to attach it here in case someone else could find it useful, not sure if this will work.  Again, I hope it's OK to do this, if not maybe a moderator or admin will either remove it or let me know and I'll take it down.

    Anyway, here is my process.  First, I set up a new folder on my computer for each recipe, starting with the date and then the basics of what I'm trying to do.  For example, I just tried some Canadian bacon using Pop's cure, so I set up a folder called '2013_10_CBacon_Pops_brine'.  I use the date first so that they sort in chronological order, as I'm hoping that after I do this for a few years I'll get better at it, and I want to see how I progress over time.

    Then I put a copy of this spreadsheet log file in the folder and re-name it using the same name, and also add the original recipe and any photos to the folder.  I take as many notes and track everything as well as I can, as I want to have as much information as possible for when I really mess something up, or happen to get something right.  Having the original recipe and where I got if from, as well as the photos, is proving to be very helpful.

    This is especially true on the items that have some time curing, as it's weeks from the time I start until I actually taste it.  On top of that I'm trying a bunch of different things at the same time, and I'm finding it's easy to get confused on when I started something and what I did from the beginning.  The log file is coming in very handy, as I can look in the fridge and refer back to the log to see when I started, what I've done so far and when it's going to be ready to finish.

    I love to cook, my favorite things to do are the large meals we eat on Sundays or for holidays.  I'm always tweaking things just a bit, and I'm not real good about always measuring things out or keeping track of what I did.  It's not unusual after a meal for my wife to say 'That was (good / not good / don't ever do it that way again), you should write that down', and I'll say 'Yeah, but I'm not really sure what I did'.  So I'm using this as an excuse to keep better track of everything, not just the smoked meals.

    Any comments / suggestions will be greatly appreciated, thanks for looking!
  2. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    This is great and I can see this being very helpful. One of my biggest issues is that I do not track all of the things that I do and that makes it hard to go back and do them again.

    I may give this process a try the next time I smoke something.

  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, I didn't do the file, know nothing about Excel files or how to create them.  But, I did look at it and appeared to be very good!
    larry berrones likes this.
  4. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for that.

    I saved it, I needed something like that.
  5. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks. I will look at it.

  6. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I just printed off the curing one for cured, smoked pork chops.
  7. How many folks rather have a smoked turkey then a bake turkey... And why?? I am just curious?   
  8. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Larry

    I've only had cold smoked turkey--love it.  Never had hot smoked turkey. Have had rotisserie bbq turkey, and except for the fact that it ended up as a blazing fireball that we had to roll in the grass to put out, it was really good.

  9. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Cannot open your file.

    I only have open office ad MS Works.  Can you try to save it in another format and post that file?
  10. Hi Frank

    Here are a couple of different formats.  I couldn't convert it to MS Works, and I don't have Open Office loaded, so I tried a couple of different formats, hopefully one will work.  I had to zip the open document format to upload it here, hopefully you have a compression program that can open it.  If not, do a google search for 7-zip, you can download it for free.  As a last resort you can print out the .pdf file and write in the entries.

    Hope this helps, thanks for looking!
  11. Here's how I do it:       I rarely do log sheet for every cook anymore.  I name them with meat and date so I can refer back if/when required.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  12. eight433

    eight433 Fire Starter

    I had intentions of doing something similar but opted, for now, go use a three ring binder so I can scribble notes as I go. Then I can go back and clean them up on the computer when I get it just right. I also recently bought a scale and try to be very diligent about weighing the ingredients before I toss them in the mix. I've made some hit or miss bratwurst and think I've got a good start now to a recipe worth repeating! Its hard after you may or may not have had a few glasses of liquid bread to remember how much of what went where!
  13. I hear you. Weighing ingredients in a recipe is probably the best way to go. One man's "heaping teaspoon" may be another man's less than "heaping teaspoon".
  14. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the other files David.  The zipped one works for me.

    Thanks again.