Texas high schoolers compete in varsity barbecue


#81

It seems like it. But smoking indoors without commercial exhaust is a much bigger pain than many recipes let on. I happen to have commercial exhaust and its still a pain in the ass. Was gonna smoke em in the fish box first. Or just leave them in there the whole time. You’re basically making mushroom jerky and that’s part of what I have the fish smoker for.

You can make a very simple stupid cheap smoker out of a cardboard box and a hot plate, maybe a fan. Alton Brown style. Counter to that link this is no good for BBQ meats. Won’t get hot enough, was designed for hot smoking fish at a very low temp. Unfortunately Food Network seems to do whatever it can to pull most of Brown’s material down so I can’t find the original info for the build. But basically a box, 2 dowels, a rack, and a hot plate. He did something very similar in two terracotta pots.

Its pretty much identical to the small aluminium box smoker I have for jerky and fish. Which was originally a Norwegian design/product, and the idea was you mounted its box over the top of the unit if you needed to cold smoke. I won’t link to as it looks like whoever’s manufacturing them now want $125 for what used to be a $50 or less smoker. And it wouldn’t be worth buying at that price.

eta: Oh and there’s smoke guns too. If you want to spend that kind of money on limited capabilities. Basically the classy answer to modernist chefs who started using pot vaporizors to cold smoke individual portions of food in clever ways. My buddy uses his to smoke hot dog buns for parties!


#82

The electrics seem to vary in their temp accuracy, mine is OK, for now. Modding with an aftermarket thermostat doesn’t seem to be a big deal to do however. One reason I’m stubborn and didn’t want a pellet system or one of those AMPS trays is I have tons of my own peach, fig and grape prunings to use. I just got a small chipper off CL for $50, and am going to try my 1st smoke with it’s output this weekend, a batch of porgies I caught last month. Porgies are not known as a classic smoking fish, but boy are they good! They have enough oil content to smoke well.


#83

Classic early memes: high speed BBQ.


#84

I’d dispute that. Its a huge thing here and I’ve seen references to smoked porgy from my area that go back pretty much to when White people first turned up here, I’m gonna assume it goes back further just without the written references. Every fish market in the area sells them. You gut, gill, and scale them then cure and smoke them whole. Like white fish.

You could probably stand to chunk up your trimmings pretty roughly. I haven’t had much trouble with small chunks in the electric thing. You get a slow consistent trickle of smoke that slowly fills up the chamber. Doesn’t look like a lot but it you end up with a stronger, cleaner flavor with less wood than the smaller chips and borderline saw dust you sometimes get. The really small stuff just seems to burn up too fast.


#85

I’d be honored- I’ll wash my bib.


#86

Mmm, BBQ…


#87

Hell no. It should have the battle scars for conversation purposes. :slight_smile:


#88

I love this. Especially how the restaurant adapts the flavors for the Vietnamese pallet. You see this in ethnic restaurants in the US all the time, and it’s cool to see the same idea in other countries.

Also, now I want to try adding a little fish sauce to my own home made BBQ sauce.


#89

The closest thing I can find down here in TJ is my buddy’s pollo asado stand La Palmita (which is damn good chicken). I wish I had some, good sweet barbecue right now, though. Oh, and Texas Toast or butter yeast rolls. And sweet tea.


#90

Huh, when I googled ‘smoked porgy’ I did not get much. I could not even find a specific brine. When I cleaned this batch I was lazy and beheaded them. My 1st for them, I left the heads on and tried to hang them on hooks, disastrously! They fell off their jaws in a mess. But still tasty.

Up til now I’ve been cutting my branches up into ~1cm chunks on my bandsaw, which is VERY labor intensive. The next mod for the smoker is a dimmer for the smoke generator. I’ve read some commentary that it works great to start it high, then turn it down just high enough to keep from going out, and which will burn the small stuff more slowly. Below is what I’ve got from seasoned peach on the left, and grape on the right. I think I’d get bigger chunks from green peach.


#91

I’ve never had much luck finding recipes for a lot of specific fish. A lot of recipes are target to broadly available, mass market species. And smoked fish went out of style pretty hard in a lot of the coastal North East. It’s one of those old head things that people weren’t too excited about until recently. Couple smoke fished companies opened up here the last few years and most of the better fish markets never stopped doing it. So it’s very on trend and everywhere again. And smoking porgy was always one of the regular things the old guys did with them. Anything boney or the least bit oily.

Whatever brine or cure you use on any other white fish should work. Maybe look for recipes for smoked red snapper they’re pretty similar fish. You wanna make sure to get the guts and gills out of any fish cause they can make the meat gross. Scaling helps the salt get in, leaving the skin on helps it hold together. And the scales are just a pain to deal with when you go to eat them.

My neighbor usually lays them on racks, porgy is a little delicate and I could see it falling apart when hot. The local fish market smokes them as skin on fillets. If your gonna hook them I’ve seen it done through the tail.

Try some bigger chunks in the smoker, I regularly use the smaller chunks from the bbq bags. Maybe 1-2 inches in the hot plate and they work just fine. But the chips on the right look in the right area. The grape I think.

From experience you want more smoke early on and then you want to taper it off. And you can stop adding smoke altogether by the end. Apparently for hot smoking once the exterior is cooked, it’s basically sealed up and won’t absorb much more smoke. Your just depositing it on the outside after that. For true cold smoking or preservation you need to smoke all the way to the end.

Smaller chunks and chips tend to burn hotter and faster and produce a lot of soot and creosote. Which leads to harsher more acrid and agressive smoke taste. And gets gross if you let it build up on the exterior of the food. It’s a lot easier to get that light, sweet “blue smoke” with bigger pieces of wood. And they burn longer so your adding less often.

What seems to work in my machine. Is mostly having chunks the size of your grape vine, and nestling a couple of bigger chunks in there too. So you get clean smoke fast and in volume from the small pieces going up. But the chunks keep it going longer, and by the time the machined heats up to the point where it might burn the stuff too fast. The small stuff is already gone, and the bigger stuff still burns clean.

My smokers gotta pretty shit hot plate in it though. Basically a bare electric element with a thin aluminum pan mounted over it. And there’s no thermostat of any kind. I may be dealing with hot spots and power cycles you aren’t.


#92

Something kosher.


#93

The only place I EVER saw local smoked fish was a shack in Riverhead LI that was displaced by an outlet mall in the 90s. No porgy, but they had local blackfish, marlin, tuna, & eel.

Whatever brine or cure you use on any other white fish should work. Maybe look for recipes for smoked red snapper they’re pretty similar fish.

90% of brine recipes online are for salmon. I tried to find a whitefish recipe, and found little. This is what I’m using for the porgy, it’s pretty tasty. I reduces the salt 25% from the original, which was way saltier than my bluefish recipe. I was tempted to replace the powdered ginger with fresh, I love ginger, but I wimped out for now. 5.5 lb of porgy are in the brine right now!

1/2 gal Cups Water
1.5 Cup Soy Sauce
3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tbs, 1 tsp tsp Onion Powder
1 tbs, 1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tbs, 1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbs Ground Ginger

Smaller chunks and chips tend to burn hotter and faster and produce a lot of soot and creosote. Which leads to harsher more acrid and agressive smoke taste. And gets gross if you let it build up on the exterior of the food. It’s a lot easier to get that light, sweet “blue smoke” with bigger pieces of wood. And they burn longer so your adding less often.

That seems at odds with the popularity of the A-MAZE-N pellet trays. It seems to me from what I’ve read low creosote is more about getting the correct low level of O2 for a slow smolder.

My smokers gotta pretty shit hot plate in it though. Basically a bare electric element with a thin aluminum pan mounted over it. And there’s no thermostat of any kind. I may be dealing with hot spots and power cycles you aren’t.

I don’t believe my smoke generator has any thermostat at all, it’s on 100% all the time, and has no plate, but a heat element under a screen which is the bottom of a tower filled with wood chips.


#94

I meant white fish as in the kind of fish, white flakey fish. Not whitefish white fish. Try looking for herring or blue fish. I’m thinking about trying to make some porgies into kippers. Or local butterfish, don’t tend to find so much herring at the local fish markets. Which is annoying because we apparently catch quite a bit.

I remember that place. Frankly he wouldn’t have stayed open even if the outlet mall didn’t happen. Not much business in smoked fish out here at the time. Also Long Island is a geographical feature not a municipality, Riverhead, NY.

Low creosote/clean smoke is about controlling the burn temperature/combustion level. You can do that by restricting oxygen. And that’s part of what size does, there’s just more oxygen getting at more of the wood if its smaller. But a pile of small bits has a bunch of air mixed into it as well vs 1 solid piece. Temperature you’re putting into it has an impact too. Because if the temperature you’re throwing at it is high enough to cause the wood to ignite, it’ll ignite more of the small pieces much easier and you get a dirty burn.

Bigger pieces put out less smoke for longer, but it tends to be cleaner better tasting smoke. And in a restricted box it doesn’t matter as much since once it fills up, there’s about the same volume/density of smoke circulating inside unit you open it.


#95

I know what you meant, but I was really trying to find a whitefish recipe, as opposed to a salmon or bluefish recipe, since it seemed similar to porgy, right down to keeping the head on and it being firm and salty, unlike many salmon recipes. I’ve seen some very low salt content and brine time recipes, and that’s definitely not what I’m after. I was raised on salty “belly lox” that is rarely found these days of light “scottish smoked” fish. In my porgy batch I included half a dozen snappers that were bycatch. Tasty too, but too much of a pain to separate the meat, far more than fresh fried snappers. I’d do 1-2 lb cocktail blues though.

Long Island is a geographical feature not a municipality, Riverhead, NY .

Umm, yes I know. I grew up there. But having no idea where you were, it seemed a better clue. Geography is funny that way, every address in the 5 boroughs should be “NY, NY” but that is not how it’s done in practice, right? Brooklynites generally will put “Brooklyn” but Queens residents will put their “town” like Jackson Heights or Forest Hills.


#96

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#97

Next step: varsity whiskey making


#98

I just wish that Whiskey making was legal without hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses…


#99

Never stopped people from making/enjoying moonshine


#100

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