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Which ingredient(s) are best carriers of smoke with shortest amount of time?

Poll Results: What type of ingredient absorbs smoke the best?

Poll expired: Jan 31, 2016 This is a multiple choice poll
  • 100% of voters (3)
    Fats & Lipids
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Grains & Legumes
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Veggies & Fruits
  • 33% of voters (1)
    Meats & Fishes
  • 0% of voters (0)
    purees & stocks
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Cooked grains & legumes
3 Total Votes  
post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'd love to explore hot smoking, but don't want to devote all that time to it. Use deep hotel with wood chips/dust/other sizes and a perforated pan on top and lid. I have 2 hours to smoke...I have a commercial kitchen at my disposal and with that comes a refrigerator/freezer/dry goods rack as test subjects. 

 

Which ingredients will carry the smoke the most and the least and find out what the optimal level of smoke for the palate?

Fats, proteins, liquids, grains, fruits, veggies? 

 

Does the size of the vessel you place the ingredients in matter?

For example, 1# melted butter unsalted in a shallow dish where more surface area is exposed versus in a tall vessel which may take longer to absorb smoke, but retains the smoke essence much longer.

 

What is the optimal heat application?

High heat to get smoke going with wood dust right on top of burner and place increasing size of wood chips towards the center or medium heat throughout the whole process?

 

Does placement of ingredient matter?

 

Does soaking wood chips matter?

 

I got tired of playing devils advocate to multiple theories as to what the answer is for the questions above. 

 

Whoa, that was a Cheftalk wormhole, I came on to see if my other question passed moderation and 3 hours later and many threads read, I'm posing another question I need assistance with.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 11

I hot smoke but the concepts are the same.

 

So here are my tips:

 

-Wet fuel is pointless.  It won't smoke until the water is gone, you're just delaying the burning/smouldering that makes smoke

 

-There's clean smoke from burning at a high enough temp and dirty smoke from not burning at a high enough temp.  Billowing white smoke will make your food taste like a chimney and possibly get you sick from creosotes,  thin blue smoke is what we aim for in barbecue.   Someone with smoke gun experience will know better about the particulars of how you want to burn.

 

-If you're smoking fish (or meat), a very important concept is the pellicle formation.  Before you start, you should  air dry long enough that the surface is kind of sticky.   If it's wet the smoke won't adhere as well.

 

-How about some spices?  The key on this is surface area,  spread them out.  Actually that goes for fish too if you slice it thin you get more surface area for smoke adhesion. 

 

I think you'll get the best results cold smoking the traditional stuff that is cold smoked:  cheese, fish, spices.  You won't get a ton of flavor into meat unless you slice it very thin.  For vegetables, you'll get a lot more flavor out of charring it hard. 

post #3 of 11
Fats absorb odours very quickly and easily, this is your best bet for smoking.
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post #4 of 11

I only have minimal experience with smoked foods (A place I worked at smoked chickens for 6hrs before roasting), but I think fat absorbs smoke flavor the most. The chicken had a smoky flavor mostly through out, but the skin and fat really held that flavor for the finished dish. A side note about the process is that this place did not have a traditional smoker, they had a metal cambro type of container that would hold perforated sheet pans. Two sizzle pans would be filled with hickory chips and fired up on the range, after igniting and burning for a few minutes would be extinguished with a damp side towel and placed at the base of the container. The container was sealed (Airtight I think?) and rolled outside until the shift change. Anyone else seen this technique used in lieu of a full sized smoker?

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOrleansCookJ View Post
 

I only have minimal experience with smoked foods (A place I worked at smoked chickens for 6hrs before roasting), but I think fat absorbs smoke flavor the most. The chicken had a smoky flavor mostly through out, but the skin and fat really held that flavor for the finished dish. A side note about the process is that this place did not have a traditional smoker, they had a metal cambro type of container that would hold perforated sheet pans. Two sizzle pans would be filled with hickory chips and fired up on the range, after igniting and burning for a few minutes would be extinguished with a damp side towel and placed at the base of the container. The container was sealed (Airtight I think?) and rolled outside until the shift change. Anyone else seen this technique used in lieu of a full sized smoker?

That gives me an idea for a smoked fried chicken and waffles. I wonder if i could also infuse the batter with smoke or would that be overkill?

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cook1st View Post
 

That gives me an idea for a smoked fried chicken and waffles. I wonder if i could also infuse the batter with smoke or would that be overkill?

 

Sure you could infuse the batter with smoke. Do that instead of smoking the chicken. Sounds like a great twist! Doing both would probably be a little too one note overkill.

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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cook1st View Post
 

That gives me an idea for a smoked fried chicken and waffles. I wonder if i could also infuse the batter with smoke or would that be overkill?


I'd agree with Chef Layne, mostly because the sound of smoke and fried chicken skin doesn't sound appealing to me, skinless breaded tenderloins perhaps. The only item that I've seen done well with smoked then deep fried food are smoked pulled pork cakes with smoked cream cheese and scallion in the middle. I'll try any food at least once, I say go for it using a few different variations and see what your results are.

post #8 of 11

I smoke and fry wings all the time.  I've won chicken wing contests in fact you can say they are award winning.  Usually with chicken I smoke at 325+ to render fat from the skin and get crispy skin.  If i'm going to fry,  i go low and slow 225-250.   The skin is leathery but the deep fryer will crisp it up before saucing/glazing.  This gets you that soft tender juicy meat you get from low and slow cooking, and a hint of smoke.  The other thing this does is lets you smoke the wings ahead of time and parcook. 

 

This whole method is so forgiving.  If you pull the wings at 150 or 180 IT,  it's still good.    dry rub -> smoker -> fryer -> glaze

post #9 of 11

Hmm.. I was thinking more on the line of it not working well for southern style fried chicken and waffles (Usually dark meat.), rather than wings which make sense. I think I've had smoked fried wings at the same place that had the pork cakes. For wings do you toss in cornstarch or other light breading before frying?

post #10 of 11

Yep wings has a great surface area of skin/fat and also a great amount of fat overall.  For this style wing I wouldn't coat in anything before frying.  The other thing the smoking does is it will dry out the skin.  When you fry it will crisp up on its own very fast.   Same principle as when you see dehydrated chicharrons before frying.  The second it hits oil they expand and crisp.  Corn starch or flour will make it hold more oil unnecessarily and also that type of crust gets soggy in the sauce faster

 

There's no wrong way to do wings though :)

post #11 of 11

BBQing foods to add smoke flavor is much different then long smoking of foods. When you smoke using a BBQ the fat does not absorb more smoke flavor. So you want to expose most of the surface of the item when BBQing. The fat will give the protein a better flavor but won't absorb more smoke.

  We don't do much BBQing down here, most of it is long smokes.

I  cold smoke salmon and trout in an old convection oven that didn't work anymore. The fan still worked though. I would burn wood separately. The take a good size piece of ember and place it in the oven with the fish and keep the fan on low. Great  way to utilize seasoning while smoking.

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