Thinking outside the box - Mailbox that is.

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by mr t 59874, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Many on the forum have added a mailbox (MB) or similar mods to their smokers.  These mods are meant to cool the smoke and decrease the creosote entering their product chambers/smoker.  In an attempt to help those who are experiencing a bitter taste on their cheese directly out of the smoker,  I asked forum member driedstick to do an experiment for me using his MB mod.  Hoping, the result would be cheese ready to eat with no bitter taste after being removed from the smoker.  This in no way means that an equalization period isn't beneficial after smoking.

     To produce a cleaner and smoother smoke, I personally use an external smoke generator either attached to or inside a cast iron stove which is used as a heat sink and a 8' run to one of my cold smokers.  This intern provides products without any bitter taste.

     Mass is needed for an efficient heat sink and an aluminum mailbox provides very little mass.

     As mentioned above, I ask driedstick to use a small block of cheese to smoke as he normally would, but also place a 1- gallon zip bag with enough ice in it to simply lay flat on top of the mailbox.  Optimistically this would help cool the smoke and collect more creosote inside the mailbox itself, rather than in the product chamber/smoker.  Hopefully, the result would then produce a much cleaner smoke and cheese without the bitter taste.   Of course, a longer run from the mailbox to the product chamber/smoker would be helpful in cooling the smoke also.

    Thank you driedstick for your time and effort in this experimentation.

    If anyone else would like to contribute to this experiment, please do so and post your results here.

     Things to look for:  Increase in moisture and creosote on the inside of the mailbox, a decrease in the draft, changes in color, density and temperature of the smoke.

    Good luck and have fun,


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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
    driedstick likes this.
  2. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, MR T for letting me help out on this experiment.

    We are trying to get a good smoke on cheese that you can eat right out of the smoker and have no bitter taste or acidic taste,,,and not having to need a waiting time..

    Well here are the players 

    Using a smoke generator 

    Below is a picture of my Mailbox set up. 

    The different cheese I put in 

    Got smoke generator going 

    cut mild and med into pieces so this experiment would be close for size of cheese ?????

    Did not have any ice on hand so I took what I could from the freezer 

    On top of the mailbox 

    Put towel on top of Pops to hopefully keep it cool longer, 

    This was on start up,,,, It cooled down Most of the day smoker sat at about 64

    I arranged these on the 2nd rack up from the bottom,, I put a piece of Tinfoil on bottom rack to break up smoke more instead of it just coming in and then right out the draft,,,Last time I used no foil and all pieces on left side got really good color, and I wanted to get all cheese the same color. 

    I had the smoke generator go out a couple of times due to gale force winds but turned the smoker around on patio to block some of the wind and that worked great. 

    I also had more pop sticks so I put some on the chimney to keep it as cool as possible.

    I was going for color on this and not time,,, Well smoke generator  went out after about 8 good hrs of smoke on it. 

    So,,, I did not get all the color on it I would have liked, I took some out of the smoker and tried it,,,Not bad, still need some work to do. Could be my pellets, 

    Took them out for the night and put in fridge,,,No cover just sat the rack in the fridge,

    Stay time in fridge was about 20hrs. 

    Well, I went home after work  and tested,,, the verdict,,,, close, I gave the wife and 16yr old daughter and 14yr old boy a sample, 

    Asked them if it was bitter or acidity or ash tray taste 

    Boys response, - whats an ash tray?? 

    Daughters response - very smokey!! but good, I asked her about bitter and she did not know, 

    Wife's response - Good but yes a little bit of ash tray taste, or acidity but good??

    I will also go with the wife's verdict,

    This was a sample of the Medium cheddar only, We did not try any others??

    I vac pac'd and fridged them, 

    I believe my next test is going to be with Todds Pellets I have used them before and are of good quality, just none on hand when we did this phase. 

    Vac packed and into the rest of my stash 

    Stash is getting larger 

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Mailbox Mod is used by some who can't seem to get enough airflow into their MES to keep the AMNPS burning

    There are various reasons for the poor air flow in the different models of the MES.  Some just draft better than others.

    Some guys want to keep any and all heat out of their MES, and therefore use a Mailbox Mod for that purpose

    Some like the Mailbox Mod so they can access their AMNPS outside of their MES

    Creosote is generated by poor combustion and moisture

    Wet wood will generate more creosote than dry wood

    Increasing air flow will help combustion

    Something as simple as cracking the door of your smoker allows for addition combustion air, and transfer of smoke out of your smoker

    Remember, when cold smoking, "Air Is Your Friend"!

    And....Do Not Over Smoke!

    I only smoke my cheese for 2 1/2 hours

    I can eat the cheese I smoke the same day or next day

    Yes, it's better after it mellows for a few days, but it's certainly not bitter or tastes like an ashtray

    Questions or Comments????

    My phone is always on!

  4. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice try on the cold smoking 

  5. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, we are close to getting it.  I am sure Mr T and I will figure this out,,, I am going to see if I get time this weekend to try another experiment.

  6. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    DS so far the lightest smoke taste I got was from Corn Cob Pellets,after double smoking it is still very light on the pallet

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great experiment...Back when they were teens my kids would have killed me for melting the Freeze Pop!!!...[​IMG]...JJ
  8. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Richie, yep I was trying to do it with what was readily avail to anyone, just an apple wood,, I know there are apple pellets better than others so I am going to try a different brand of pellets this next time. 

    Just hate to pay for the shipping on them,,, trying to find them local if possible. I just did a batch with Orange pellets but never tried it right out of the smoker, was going for color on that smoke. 

    Many more experiments to come. [​IMG]

  9. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, I would have if it would have been summer,,,, but now they are drinking hot chocolate,,,,plus they weren't home at the time of the smoke,,, back in the freezer they go and no one gets hurt,,ME 

  10. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Edit..... Dave

    I apologize if I offended anyone with my post... That was not my intent....
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Dave, those hams look wonderful.

     This is exactly what we a attempting to replicate by cooling the MB mod down enough to cause a good amount of the creosote particles to collect inside the mailbox rather than in the product chamber.  It is our hope that this will produce the results that you and I are experiencing in driedsticks finished products.

      It takes an energetic and adventurous type person with an open mind and a desire to learn in order to help with such a project. I found one as he is coming up with his own ideas to help in achieving our desired results. 

    The inside of my 22cf product chamber. Even the glass door stays remarkably clean.

  13. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dave great pics,,,, I want that ham!!!,,, I am wondering now with my set up, with pipe right out of the top if I am loosing to much (stuff) and not collecting it on the roof. With yours going out the back I would think it may linger in there and stick to the roof a little better before the smoke finds it's way out???? IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE LOL 

    What brand pellets are you using?? 

    A full smoker 
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use Todd's pellets exclusively.... PC... Hickory on bacon.... Alder and Sweet Wood I have but not burned them yet...
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  15. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Can't even taste 2.5 hours of smoke on cheese...
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My mailbox mid vents out the back. I made mine for the AMNTS tube smokers though. I have one hole in the door and that's where the tube goes and it serves as the air intake.
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK, I am going to ask a question and then run away so as not to be assaulted by thrown rocks. Seems somewhere in my past lives I read an outstanding article here by the author of this thread about cheeses and white smoke. So I have been running probably on the wrong assumptions. I'll need to go find that thread again and re-read it.

    But my question is isn't with such a short smoke used a white smoke a totally acceptable application? I agree that most of the time we get too involved in color or appearance and forget that sometimes less smoke is actually more.
  18. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is this on your MB Mailbox mod or different set up?? yep, Time is not always the way to go,,,,which alot of folks do ,,,, I have been going for color lately and with the cooler tems (almost freezing) it takes longer to get the color on the cheese 

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  19. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DS Sounds like a cool set up,,,,Can you post a pic for everyone,,,get all great minds a thinking of different set ups we could do.

  20. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There's several posts of it in the mini-wsm forum, if I remember right.. But here's a few photos of it hook up to my GOSM.


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