Author Topic: Too cold, now what?  (Read 3748 times)

Offline Matth

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Too cold, now what?
« on: March 02, 2014, 01:44:24 pm »
I brined some fish for today hoping the weather man would be wrong.  He wasn't.  It's so cold I'm afraid that I'm not going to get the temps I need to do the job.  Going to try though.

Anyway, the fish is done brining, 24 hours plus.  So if I can't smoke it today, what can I do to preserve it for a warmer day?

I have both northern pike skinless pieces (wet brine), and whole salmon fillets (dry cure).

Appreciate your help.

Offline Tenpoint5

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 01:50:35 pm »
Smoke it today anyhow! It is -2 here and I have sticks in the smoker
Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

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Offline WoodlawnSmoker

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 03:07:27 pm »
For sure go for it.  I've been smoking constantly here in Canada the last two months, it takes a little longer to get up to temps but everything gets there and turns out well.  I'm going to build a little enclosure this spring for my smoker to make winter smoking even more comfortable.  The cold doesn't bother me that much but I'm figuring out fast what enclosure options will make this perfect.

Offline Matth

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 03:43:06 pm »
Idk...pre-heated and empty the temp went right up.  I recall something about the Auber pid sensor not working under 17 degrees so I preheated with out the unit. When the box was heated, I dropped the sensor though the vent just as it should be.  I left it like that for about 15 minutes thinking then I'd connect the pid.  Again, all seemed to be going well. 

Then I loaded three racks of the northern and turned off the pid and turned it on again to restart the timing program.  I used a Hi-Mountain brine mix and am attempting to follow those directions.  .5 hr at 180 no smoke, the smoke at 195 for 2 hr and/or till fish reaches 160.  It's been going for an hour now and the temp on the unit has not passed 160. 

I want so much to take a peak but opening the door when it is zero outside will set the whole damm thing back an hour.  I even fashioned a blanket of sorts from an old sleeping bag and wrapped the whole thing to insulate it from the cold.  Of course, the top and the vent are left uncovered.

What do you think? What am I missing?

Last time I tried during these outdoor temps, there was a tremendous variation from the bottom rack to the top.  I realized that I very well might have overloaded the smoker.  I only placed 3 racks this time and left lots more space between pieces on each rack.

Any ideas?

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 05:25:47 pm »
The only thing I see wrong is the time you started smoking. You should have started earlier. You will get there it will just take a while.
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

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Offline Matth

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2014, 06:08:30 pm »
Just brought the first batch in, it's all good.  Some is crispy, some is soft.  Smaller pieces on bottom rack are jerky, but that's ok.  It's all good.

Started round two.  Two trays of northern on the bottom, two of salmon on the top.  Why? Cause I don't want the wet brined northern dripping on the salmon.  Why together, because I want to go to bed sometime tonight. 

Set the pid for 1.5 hrs @ 115 (the salmon didn't get a lot of air time so going to attempt to get pellicle this stage), 2.5 hrs smoke @ 145, finish for 1.5 hrs @ 180.

Hope to get to bed by 1:30 am.  Things we do for smoked fish.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 06:32:22 pm »
If some of your smoked fish is crispy and some is soft, you need to rotate your racks during the smoking process.  Periodically take out the bottom tray, move all the trays down a notch, and put the tray which had been on the bottom notch into the top notch.  You can also spin the trays 180 degrees, so the side of the tray which was by the door ends up by the back of the smoker.

Another option is to put a fan in your smoker, to circulate the smoke and even out the heat.  There are a lot of postings in this forum about adding fans to smokers.  I posted a description of how I added a fan to my smoker at http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=27281.0 .
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 07:37:33 pm by pmmpete »

Offline Matth

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2014, 07:31:09 pm »
Yes, I'll be looking at adding a fan, and perhaps a second element.  When the outside air temp is zero, I don't want to be opening up the box to rotate trays.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 07:39:38 pm »
When the outside air temp is zero, I don't want to be opening up the box to rotate trays.

I'm from Montana, and frequently smoke in cold weather.  Don't worry about opening the door.  The smoker will get back up to temperature within a couple of minutes.

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Too cold, now what?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 09:42:49 am »
Even with a fan you will want to rotate, just maybe not as often. Adding a couple of tinfoil wrapped bricks preheated in the oven will help a lot when it is cold.
I like to walk threw life on the path of least resistance. But sometimes the path needs a good kick in the ass.

OBS
BBQ
One Big Easy, plus one in a box.