This ain't one of those mouth-watering meat-tastic posts, but it does make a WHOLE lot of different foods taste a whole lot better. What ain't better when it's smokey?! Well aside from maybe your house or car or, well, a million other things.
Well, I bought a grinder full of smoked peppercorns for some stupid high price at Whole Foods before I had ever thought about smoking my own and probably before I ran across this forum, so I ran out the other day cooking some burgers and figured I'd give the el cheapo soldering iron/soup can cold smoker setup out in my newly painted shiny mini-WSM.
Had to buy the soldering iron at Walmart, but for $7 I can't complain about that since I think that's about what I paid for that little grinder of smoked pepper at the store. Had a soup can and the wood chips on hand luckily.
Here's the setup. I used a splatter screen to spread the peppercorns out on since that is probably the finest mesh I know of that is also the perfect size to fit on my rack on the mini. Just smashed the plastic off the handle just in case it did get hot. Also had to bend it up so it would go in the smoker but that gave a nice little handle to pick the whole thing up with. I didn't get any pictures of the peppercorns in the smoker, but you get the gest of how it's done.
I think they stayed on the smoker for around 4 hours and I used cherry wood to smoke em. You can see from the therm that even though the mini ain't exactly big, the soldering iron cold smoker setup never even registered on it. I think it was about 47 degrees outside that night. Be a good think to use for smoking cheese or tomatoes too since it didn't get hot. Still gotta test it out in hotter weather though.
I think that the smoked peppercorns do a better job of deliver that smokey flavor that smoked salt does. Maybe it's cause it's ground after you smoke it unlike smoked sea or kosher salt. I decided that I would refill the exact grinder that I bought so maybe I could recoup the money I threw away so long ago on something that was SO easy to make and a whole hell of a lot cheaper. Makes a tomato sandwich or some scrambled eggs for breakfast all that much better. Give it a try.