Sunday, January 9, 2011
I walked around the house yesterday trying to figure out where the smoke smell was getting in. It seemed to permeate everywhere I went in the house. I had finally taken the first giant step of seasoning my new smoker that I got as a Christmas present. I knew I had set it up properly out of the wind and had been careful about going in and out so that the smoke wouldn't follow me in, so it was important to me that the house not smell like a smoker.
Everything went as it should have, the pucks advanced, the smoke poured out the top and the digital instruments gave temperature and time readouts. It finished shortly after dark and I removed the generator and covered up the smoker after it cooled and came back into the house.
I could still smell smoke throughout the house - I finally asked the youngest if she could smell it (she has a nose as sensitive as a puppy's sometimes) and she said no - only a little in the kitchen by the generator. So I thought it was because I had inhaled a few whiffs and the smell was stuck in my nose. Later that night, I groaned when I realized that it was me that smelled like a smoked sausage! I had forgotten how smoke adheres to hair and clothing and permeates it completely.
So, today I put back on my smokey clothes and went downstairs to put in some marbled cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese, paprika and coarse salt to smoke. I poured the salt and the paprika onto some coffee filters and put them on the racks and loaded up the cheese racks. I preheated the bisquette burner and put them all into the smoker. I kept checking the temperature but it didn't want to go over 60F and I needed it to go to about 80F. So I turned on the bottom burner and waited for it to heat up. It was going so slow - 2 degrees at a time...until finally I went out to check the connections. I laughed when I realized I had not put on the oven burner cord because I had planned on cold smoking the cheeses. It heated up quickly to 80 once I did that.
A couple hours later, I pulled out the cheese but left the salt and paprika in. I raised the temperature to 260 and prepared a chicken I had been marinating since yesterday for smoking. I used a Rickard's Red beer can chicken stand to put the chicken on and with a bit of olive oil and Italian dressing I put it into the smoker. Halfway through, the whole unit quit working!! I unplugged and replugged everything numerous times until it finally kicked in again. I guess you actually have to push the plug all the way in so it can connect properly! lol
I removed the salt and paprika after an hour with the chicken, cooled them and put them into jars to use later on. The salt is going to be wonderful on crusty buns and as a flavour enhancer. It is interesting how it turned from a bright white to a soft tan, which will continue to darken as it sits.
I decided to finish the chicken off in the oven inside the house and brought the bird in. It looks wonderful! I put a casserole of rice in to cook alongside. I think I will make a broccoli and raisin salad to eat as well to help balance out the possible saltiness of the chicken flavours.
We found that the chicken had a lovely, mild smoke flavour reminiscent of a very tender ham. It was so good. I can hardly wait to try smoking some trout and the back bacon (Canadian bacon) I have marinating in the fridge!
Who would have thought that smoking a piece of meat and some cheese could turn out so great!