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Professor Salt
09-30-2011, 12:51 AM
A friend of mine asked me to recommend an electric smoker so she can start making salmon candy at home. I haven't used any electric smokers, so I thought I'd ask you guys.

First - she wants electric-heated, and something smallish. Nothing that takes up a huge footprint.
Two - I'm thinking something that's capable of lower temperature cooks (160F?) so the fish isn't blasted with heat.

What have you personally used that fits that criteria, and would work for my friend?

Garyclaw
09-30-2011, 08:42 AM
I think the Little Chef or Big Chef electric smokers go at 165*.

El Lobo
09-30-2011, 08:49 AM
Bradley's can keep the temp down low and I've seen them on sale all over the place. http://www.bradleysmoker.com/bradley-original-smoker.asp

I'm not really sure what salmon candy is or how to make it, but if it's cold smoked, check out the Smoke Pistol (http://www.smokepistol.com/). She could use an existing BBQ or make a small box for it.

thirdeye
09-30-2011, 10:57 AM
36 years ago one of my high school graduation presents was a Little Chief smoker, and I've used them ever since. I now have 2 Big Chiefs, and 90% of their usage is for salmon and trout. In the summer, I can get 175* out of them, but in the fall 150* is pushing it some days, so I have some insulation panels I use.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%208/DSC06534JPGa.jpg


I usually take my smoked fish to 150* internal and often it takes right around 4 hours to get there. If it's stuck at 140* at the 4 hour mark, I just move the racks into a 200* oven and it takes maybe 10 minutes to bump the temp where I want it.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2013/DSC01324a.jpg


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v377/thirdeye2/Barbecue%2013/DSC01411a.jpg

wildflower
09-30-2011, 01:22 PM
so looking on the internet there are like 1000000000000 salmon candy recipes :doh: :confused:

Professor Salt
09-30-2011, 05:08 PM
Wow, gorgeous-looking trout, Thirdeye! From the other threads I've read, the Little Chief / Big Chief looks like a good choice for making salmon candy.

@El Lobo - she doesn't have a smoker currently.

With the ambient temps around 75 degrees in Southern California, we can't use the chilly winter months to cold-smoke because we don't have winter months. :thumb:

gtr
09-30-2011, 05:19 PM
...With the ambient temps around 75 degrees in Southern California, we can't use the chilly winter months to cold-smoke because we don't have winter months. :thumb:

I hear ya. I'd love to cure/smoke country hams, but I don't think it's gonna happen out here.

PitRow
09-30-2011, 05:25 PM
Done tons of salmon candy in both the lil' chief and big chief when I was younger. Before my MES took a dump it worked great for it too, but often had a hard time producing smoke at that low of a temperature, unless it was really cold outside.

If you can find a used lil/big chief that's in good shape for not too much that's the route I'd go.

In your climate it should chug along at a good temperature for fish without needing to build an insulator for it. If it gets really windy you might need a wind break, but a simple piece of plywood works for that.

Professor Salt
09-30-2011, 05:35 PM
Any opinions on the Big Chief front-loader vs. top-loader?

It looks like w/ Thirdeye's setup, you can vent excess heat out of the top-loader. That looks like a good option to have, especially where I live.

PitRow
09-30-2011, 05:40 PM
I always preferred the top loaders. Because like you said you can pop the top to vent if you need to, and also I just find it easier to be able to pull the whole rack system out at once from the top, instead of dealing with individual racks from the front.

The down side though, is if the stuff on the bottom gets done before the top then you have to take the whole shebang out to get to 'em. I've never really had a problem with that though, truth be told.

oh yeah, plus with the top loader, if you take the racks out and just use the frame itself you can hang things from it, like jerky or sausage, I've even done a turkey on my big chief (but it was a warm day with an insulating blanket and still had problems getting it hot enough). It's much harder to do things like that with the front load.

Professor Salt
09-30-2011, 06:40 PM
So from the comments here, I take it that the Big Chief / Little Chiefs have a hard time getting up above 200F degrees? While that's a good thing for smoking fish, maybe it's not versatile enough to cook red meat like ribs?

Does the Bradley Smoker also have that limitation, or can it handle a wider temp range of say 160F - 250F?

swamprb
09-30-2011, 09:50 PM
I'll second the Little Chief!

It is my go-to smoker for Salmon, I've never stuck a thermometer in it to see how hot it gets, all I know is that it works and I've had this top loader for 20 years and got it at a garage sale for $10 and it was old then!

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_1422.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_1420.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_0450.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_0451.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_0452.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_0458.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_1424.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_1425.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_3166.jpg

I use it for "cool smoking" cheeses with the box set above the top and it works excellent. I don't think I would care for a front loader to do this.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/100_2158.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/100_2160.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/IMG_3176.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/LittleChief/100_2168.jpg

I usually rotate the racks so the stuff on the bottom doesn't dry out.

This was my first smoker and I played around with some of the recipes from the manual for cured fish and razor clams, but was never really happy with red meats or poultry that that I put in it for smoke flavoring, then oven or grill finished. At the time I wasn't hip to it and didn't have the patience to go through the processes.

The Little/Big Chief is an inexpensive, easy to use and worthy addition to ones outdoor cooking arsenal.

thirdeye
09-30-2011, 10:42 PM
So from the comments here, I take it that the Big Chief / Little Chiefs have a hard time getting up above 200F degrees? While that's a good thing for smoking fish, maybe it's not versatile enough to cook red meat like ribs?

Does the Bradley Smoker also have that limitation, or can it handle a wider temp range of say 160F - 250F?

Well, Brian's post just about says it all, doesn't it??

That said, the Little Chief & Big Chief are more like a flavor smoker when it comes to things like chicken, ribs, bacon etc. They tell you that right up front. I like to time my things for the pre-smoke, usually an hour or two at the most, then finish off in one of my other cookers. In the case of fish, the oven works fine for me to get the fillets up to the right internal temp.

I've had some very good prime rib off a Cookshack, and ribs as well. their temp range goes into the 200's for sure. I would think a Bradley might be right there too.

Sammy_Shuford
09-30-2011, 10:49 PM
So from the comments here, I take it that the Big Chief / Little Chiefs have a hard time getting up above 200F degrees? While that's a good thing for smoking fish, maybe it's not versatile enough to cook red meat like ribs?

Does the Bradley Smoker also have that limitation, or can it handle a wider temp range of say 160F - 250F?

Yes, the Bradley can maintain 250, I preheat my at 300 and set down to 225.

And I have cooked lots of butts and ribs in my Bradley.

Blackened
09-30-2011, 11:34 PM
The little chief is my go-to for smoking fish

http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/4425/smokedsalmon003.jpg

http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/6315/smokedsalmon007.jpg


and peppers


http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/4580/redjaps.jpg

http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/188/chipotlepowder001.jpg

swamprb
10-01-2011, 12:09 AM
I also would like to recommend the Cookshack electric. This is the Smokette 008 and it would definitely fill the bill as a small footprint cooker capable of doing whatever your friend wants.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2261.jpg

Low temps for Jerky

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2259.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2193.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2190.jpg

Smoke roasted nuts

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2184.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Cookshack008/IMG_3179.jpg

Prime Rib/Rib Roasts

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Cookshack008/100_3272.jpg

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/Cookshack008/100_3277.jpg

Double Smoked Ham

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t310/swamprb/100_2186.jpg

I've done Butts and Ribs and they've turned out great too. Solid, dependable, and you can use it as a holding oven. The Cookshack Forum has a lot of good info and there are also a few Brethren with them too.
I would also look at the Ameri-Que-its got a little bit more cooking space if you need it.

Professor Salt
10-01-2011, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I appreciate all the pr0n you posted.

Brian, I think the Cookshack looks great, but at ~$600, it might be a little too spendy for my friend.

swamprb
10-01-2011, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I appreciate all the pr0n you posted.

Brian, I think the Cookshack looks great, but at ~$600, it might be a little too spendy for my friend.

...so is a propane smoker out of the question?

I had one of these for a few years before I really got into live fire cooking and it worked great, very inexpensive to buy, I could get @ 30 hours of smoking from a tank of propane.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&q=great+outdoors+smokey+mountain+smoker&oe=UTF-8&cid=3880626059432152768&ei=E6SHTtzCAYmYiwS4zL3DDg&ved=0CCMQrhI

Foil is your friend when using the GOSM. But it is capable of cold smoking or high heat cooking.

Professor Salt
10-01-2011, 11:33 PM
Not sure if gas would be acceptable. I'll ask next week when I see her.

boatnut
10-02-2011, 11:25 AM
Thanks for the great responses, everyone. I appreciate all the pr0n you posted.

Brian, I think the Cookshack looks great, but at ~$600, it might be a little too spendy for my friend.

i'd take a good look at the Masterbuilt Electric's. Cabelas has them on sale from time to time