Friday, 26 June 2009

Smokey Joe's

R2D2 had tried nicotine patches, but had not been too successful.

This is our new home smoker. We tested him out this week and were quite impressed. It only 'hot' smokes, so in effect it smokes and cooks the food as opposed to 'cold' smoking which basically cures the food. We decided on a hot smoker because cold smoking is a longer and more complicated process involving brining and maintaining an accurate temperature control. Apparently we can use this one for cold smoking too, but it invloves making a run off pipe in which to cool the smoke down, but I think we'll get to grips with the hot smoking first.

The smoker is made up of a bottom tray where you place the charcoal briquettes - it has to be briquettes - you can't use charcoal as it burns too quickly. Then on top of that there's a bowl to which you add water, plus any aromatics ie woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme. When you've got the briquettes going, you lay a foil pack of wood chippings of your choice. We used hickory.

For our first attempt we put on a small free range chicken, which we spatchcocked (which went on the level just above the water bowl) and a couple of rashers of pork belly and some sausages.

After the first hour and a half, it really didn't seem to be producing anything other than warm meat, so Mr AC put all of the meat on the top griddle and shifted the water bowl up which allowed more heat to circulate. Aha... success. I know we sound like a couple of numpties but the smoker came without any instructions. We had to phone the company we purchased it from and then rely on the website forum for advice. Yep, I don't know why either.

Anyway, the pork slices were very tasty and moist, if a little tough and the sausages tasted really good, a bit frankfurterish - very smokey. The meat doesn't look overally attractive but don't let that put you off.

As the smoker can double as a straight forward barbecue, we finished the chicken by giving it a bit of colour, directly over the coals. I must stress here that I have a food thermometer and used it to ensure all of the meat reached a safe temperature of at least 70 degrees C.

We used the chicken the next day to make a warm bacon, chicken & mango salad, with some salad leaves, rocket & coriander from the garden. Salmon and mackerel are our next victims.


  1. Not entirely convinced by the smoker, better than a BBQ would you say? (Incidentally, I bought a new Weber BBQ this weekend for use in my almost finished garden, any tips welcome)

    But That salad looks gorgeous, bacon, chicken and mango - what a cracking combination.

  2. Dan, thank you for your nice comment. The smoker's not really a rival to the BBQ as it takes so much longer and doesn't so much 'cook' the food as imparts hot smoke, making it obviously much smokier.

    I've heard that The Weber is a very good BBQ. Don't know too much about them but I'm sure the internet will be helpful. Looking forward to some photos of the new garden! Sounds like you've worked really hard on it.

  3. Salad looks yummy!
    My mouth is watering....

  4. That looks like some serious piece of kit. I thought about making one out of a biscuit tin like HFW did on his programme, but this has taken the wind out of my sails on that plan now.

  5. Who ever knew that R2D2 had such a bad habit? That's a pretty impressive bit of kit, would be interested to see how the fish comes out.

    And duck! Ooooh yes, what about smoked duck breast?

  6. It all looks very tasty, Im impressed with your smoker and have toyed with the idea of doing a 'homemade' one like Diane using a biscuit tin, but somehow have never got around to it...perhaps I may now take the initiative...?

    Sending love
    Julia xxx

  7. this looks like a fantastic investment and such gorgeous food, especially that salad. I've been thinking about getting a smoker for a while now, but had no idea you could get ones that double up as a bbq - am totally sold on the idea now!!

  8. Loving the smoker. What a fabulous bit of kit. Very Star Wars. Have you tried smoking fish? It works like a dream.