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cruzmisl

Smoke pot?

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Hi,

I am going out today to buy a dutch oven. I'm going to give the smoke pot idea a try. I Was thinking about a bayou classic 1qt dutch oven but wondering if it's too big, too small or just right. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Joe

PS I was also considering 3-4" threaded iron pipe but I'm unsure if I'd ever get the caps loose after a cook.

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Re: Smoke pot?

Hi,

I am going out today to buy a dutch oven. I'm going to give the smoke pot idea a try. I Was thinking about a bayou classic 1qt dutch oven but wondering if it's too big, too small or just right. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Joe

PS I was also considering 3-4" threaded iron pipe but I'm unsure if I'd ever get the caps loose after a cook.

Just drill 4 or 5 holes in bottom and you are good to go. Works just fine.

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Seal the lid isn't a big process, if I read the boards right. Some use a flour and water "dough." I've seen the same at Indian restaurants for sealed cooking pots. Make dough, make a long rope of it, put around the lid to seal.

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I'm not sure why you are doing a smoke pot.

1) If you want to smoke in a KK I suggest that you soak a big chunk of pecan and put on the coals in coal basket, smoke will form.

2)If you really need a smoke pot why not try wrapping aluminum foil around the soaked chips and poke holes in the foil before putting on the glowing coals.

3) another method would be to spiral soaked chips starting in the center of the unlit charcoal lumps the light the center of the lump, as the glowing coals start to burn the chips should yield a fairly constant smoke.

Hope these help.

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The benefit of the smoke pot is to yield a mellowed smoke, by not burning the wood itself and re-burning the smoke produced as the wood is converted to lump inside the pot. I can't say I have tried it, but those who do it swear by it.

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Thanks firemonkey; I use chunks of pecan and no smokebox, more knowledge is always good. Possibly being from the north shore of the USA makes any smoke that I create a smoother flavor :eek:

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Yes, it's simply a different, perhaps smoother taste. One can master working either way. My wife likes this way and won't let me go back. It isn't politics, it's food. See which way you like the taste!

A one quart pot is fine, I also have no problems with a two quart pot being too much. I buy my smoking woods in 40# bags from Lazzari's warehouse; were I buying retail, two quarts at a pop might give me pause. I vary the ratio of chips to chunks to play duration, more chunks for 20 hour shoulders, more chips for ribs.

Sealing is "optional" but the issue is if the lid goes ajar, there's convection through the pot, defeating the purpose. An alternative that was popular was "pipe bombs" with threaded end caps, holes in the middle. Much more money to avoid working with flour paste, I passed.

I make up flour water paste in a tiny ziplock bag, push the bag around to get the consistency like toothpaste, then slit a corner. This is a trailer-park version of those cake decorating tubes, in the spirit of rolling pasta at the beach house with a wine bottle. Then squeeze a ring of paste around the lid, wipe up with a paper towel. Takes longer to say than to do, once one gets the hang of it.

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I'm going to give it a go. The pot was $10 so if it doesn't work then so what. I have used the usual method for years and want to give it a try. I'll post my results when I get the pot and find some time. I have a box of ribs just waiting to be smoked :D

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When you use a 2qt Dutch oven, exactly how do you put it in the cooker? Do you just set it on top of the coals or do you bury it in the charcoal and just sacrifice the space (a low and slow really uses very little charcoal so I assume you will be fine). Would you do anything different if you used a 1qt oven? I use a BBQ Delight smoke pot and it is small enough that I just place it on top of the lit coals and don't worry about it interfering with the heat deflector.

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Yes, I just set it on top of the charcoal. I see no difference using 1 qt, 2 qt here. Sometimes for a 20 hr cook I'll build up the coals around the sides, even though that's invariably more fuel than I need, then start the fire right under the pot using a blow torch.

Lately I just start some coals with an electric starter, then build the rest of the fire as I set the smoke pot. Principle of least effort.

I typically start the fire an hour before the meat goes in, to let it stabilize. This is in conflict with maximizing the smoke ring; I understand that some BBQ competitors like cold meat to go into a cold cooker, to maximize the period before the meat gets too hot to continue forming a smoke ring. But hey, we're cooking for ourselves, and as the only smoke-flavored food on the table the taste comes through loud and clear.

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10135_143004539975_588449975_3428087_6549212_n.jpg

Hickory chunks and apple chips. More flour paste than necessary.

10135_143004544975_588449975_3428088_5078584_n.jpg

Set in with fuel. More than needed for a 20 hour shoulder, but easy to reuse what's left.

10135_143004549975_588449975_3428089_3268238_n.jpg

16" unglazed terra cotta plant saucer, covered with two sheets of foil, as drip pan / heat deflector. (This isn't a KK; we hope to replace it with one.)

I drilled three 1/8" holes near the center. That's plenty, but I don't think it matters too much. The issue is to allow gases to escape without allowing enough oxygen back in to start a fire inside the pot. So three 1" holes would defeat the purpose, but four 1/4" holes might be fine. On the other hand I'm a big fan of "minimum effective dose". Three holes in case two are unlucky, get blocked by chips of wood, and 1/8" is plenty big enough.

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The goal of having the holes on the bottom is to direct the smoke back into the fire where more volatiles can burn off. This smooths out the flavor of the smoke and produces a different effect than letting it leak out the top seal.

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10135_143375799975_588449975_3433286_5934700_n.jpg

One could, and that is indeed simpler. I believe that one can taste the difference, doing it my way.

The gases that emit are flammable, and I like to give them a chance to at least partially burn through the hot coals. For this same reason, one doesn't want to use a smoke pot at higher temperatures: At higher temperatues, the gases create a self-sustaining fire (pictured above through my draft door; pretty, huh?), and one no longer needs the charcoal.

I in fact got the idea for a smoke pot from how one makes charcoal, which I also tried. (As a mathematician and as a functional programmer, I've spent my entire life trying to train myself to think abstractly, as in smoke=poach, grill=sear.) Here's a good tutorial: Making Charcoal

Had Danny Meyer asked my advice before opening Blue Smoke, I would have recommended that he devise a "gas oven" for his commercial pit, where the gas source was a separate chamber that heated logs to the point where they emitted this gas. A modern abstraction of the classic "two fire" approach, I'd bet it would work spectacularly well.

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verticality

I wonder if you put a cast iron vessel on the bottom of the charcoal basket, lid on, no holes or paste and loaded the charcoal on top of that, the gasses would leak out and burn up as they pass up and through the fire.

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