This is my first post. Although I have access to bisquettes, as Bradley calls them, I try to avoid them. I crossed this path when I smoked my first salmon and the price of the pucks at 50 cents CAD a piece cost me more than the whole salmon did. Something didn't seem right about this so I started to make my own pucks just as you smokers are discussing. However, I took a completely different approach than any of you are discussing. It is very simple and actually costs nothing.
When travelling or driving around I keep an eye out for available hardwood, such as something that was pruned out of someone’s yard or in the case of my cousin’s place in Nanaimo, red alder grows as a weed on the hill behind the house. I cut sections of 2 - 2 1/2 inch raw branches from any small tree such as Red Alder, Maple, Cherry, apple, crabapple or even green birch – the list is endless. Due to taper within the branches, the section I cut is usually only 2 – 3 feet long.
I take a 3/16” drill and pop about 10 holes down the end of the cut branch.
Then the branch goes on a WorkMate clamp and I use a bow saw to cut ½ inch pucks. After 4 cuts I re-drill the holes in the end and start all over again. It takes about 15 minutes to cut enough pucks to smoke a whole salmon all day.
The holes in the pucks allow the heat to burn the entire puck evenly. Solid pucks don’t burn, the holes are needed.
The pucks fit in the sleeve of the smoker and advance every 20 minutes.
The tally here is that I do not pay a cent for my wood. Timewise, I enjoy a walk to cut a few branches and use it as exercise. When the branches are home it only takes about 15 minutes to turn them into pucks. Does my salmon taste better made this way – I believe it does because I have invested in this food and made it personal throughout the whole process.
I tried to attach pics taken last week during a smoking session but this forum doesn't allow it. I can send pics if you want. Mail me at email@example.com