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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone gave me an old little chief smoker. the kind with the ceramic heating element and the lid has the little round tubing like a chimney vent? And right now I am smoking some salmon.
This is something new to me so I am not sure if it is working properly.
It did smoke a pan of chips in about a hr and I did 3 pans. The fish looks like its drying but the smoker dose not feels very warm to me. Is this normal? or should the sides and or top of the smoker feel hot?
I know it doesn't feel like its 145deg.
Will the temp go up as the fish dries more?
Looks like im going to be up later than I thought because of this. :depressed:
Thanks!

Mike
 

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I have always used the little chief smoker they work great but sometimes you have to help them. A couple of tricks I have used in the past. First rotate the racks top to the bottom and so on. Also I have used charcoal to help heat thing up. Put two or three peices of charcoal it the pan then add the chips. The charcoal will put some more heat out then the element by it self. Good luck nothing better than smoked salmon.

SL
 

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I wouldn't fool around with guessing if it's hot enough ... stick a thermometer in it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ok I found a candy/deepfry thermometer that gose up high enough. And no its only 125deg in there right now... so I need to take it out and put it in the oven to finish?? I hope I didnt loose this fish.. :depressed:
 

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Ray S.
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Prospect, don't panic leave it overnight. I use 2 of those things and an hour for a pan seems about right. I've been smoking for 20 hrs or more and it comes out great. Sleep tight. Check in the am you will be pleased.
Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ray S, I need to know now before I turn it off or put it in the oven... Its been in for almost 12 hrs now and the smoker is not hot to the touch at all.. and the temp inside is like I said around 125deg... I dont want to get sick eating the fish.. being around 120 for that long.. would it not spoil??
Help please!!!!!
Mike
 

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Ray S.
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My top 2 racks get warm I can take them out easily with my bare hands. The bottom one and the drip pan are a little hotter. I can touch them but I can't hold for long. If you used a good brine I'd say leave over night. Then see what you have in the morn. 20 to 24 hours in the smoker works for me.
Ray
 

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Ray S.
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Oh yeah I forgot to mention neither of mine get more than just a little warm on the outside. It's also important that your fish has been handled properly. Cleaned and chilled within a reasonable timeframe.
Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok Thanks Ray,
Well I used 1/2-cup salt. 1/2 cup sugar to one quart of water. Adding my own spices. It covered the fish. I brined for 11hrs.
I will leave it in over night then. I guess there is nothing to loose now. Except some electricity.
Bonneville will be working over time tonight. :laugh:
I have to laugh because if I don’t I am going to cry. :depressed:
This fish took me several trips fishing and 8 hrs of fishing to get yesterday and it’s my first salmon for this year. I never seem to get any salmon but Coho. :depressed:
If it doesn't turn out I am going to give up fishing, smash the smoker and. :mad:
Ok better not go there.
Again thank you for your help. :cheers:
Mike.
 

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Are you still up Mike?

Try to find a box and cover your smoker. Its getting cold out and it'll have a hard time keeping warm. I use the box that the smoker came in and cover it with a trash bag.

Are you fishing tomorrow? I am starting to feel better and am thinking about trekkin' to the Sandy to try to catch some fish. I won't be able to make it until midday because I'll have my family with me.

Scott
 

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prospect1999,
You can try a few things to bring up the temperature such as the box over the smoker or add a few charcoal briquettes as Salmon loser suggested. I use the charcoal in cooler temps.
I also finish it off in the oven.

Maybe you should just consider buying a new smoker whether it be a little or big chief. They are only about 60 bucks or so and that is small when you consider the gas, bait, ice, and time only to bring it back to a smoker you don't trust. You spend the money to go fishing long enough and you realize ...why cut corners with freebies.
Just my .02
 

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prospect 1999,
RELAX!! the fish is fine and so is the smoker. Yes it is an older model but a little cheif just the same and it has been put through a testing stage etc. before going into mass production for the public. I used one of that style for 10 years and they work great. with the hurry up pace our society has reached so has the NEW style of smokers. Your fish will be fine and IMHO better at a slower rate of drying even if the temp is 125 degrees. First thing is DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR SMOKER, and as said by other ifishers just rotate the racks every couple hrs..also load the racks with thickest pieces in center of the rack and place thinner ones to the outside. This will help in getting all the fish done about the same time and concentrating heat source to it maximum potential..Also remove done pieces as the finish to let more air travel around the fish. I have always used the shipping box it came in as an insulater around the smoker even in the summer. If you don't have one then I believe you can purchase them through Luhr-Jenson or make your own from a large box.
Tight lines, nothing better than your own smoked fish! :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
:shocked: Well I woke up to some smoked salmon that is a little too dry but not quite jerky.
22hr in the smoker was just a little to long I guess. :shrug: So I guess it worked.
What had me in a panic was this little chief tech report that said the meat is supposed to get to around 145deg or more to pasteurize it. :whazzup: I know it never got up past 125 but it is over done.
I guess it is still safe to eat. My mom ate some before I even got the racks in the house. :laugh:
She said its fine. Maybe I will wait and see if she gets sick :sick: before I try any.

Thanks! To all of you for your help and support. :cheers: Being this is the first time I’ve done this I am a little paranoid. Ok more than just a little. :grin:

Mike

[ 09-20-2003, 10:33 AM: Message edited by: prospect1999 ]
 

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

That's funny. I usually eat half of what I smoke before it's cool. Look for a box next time and watch it closely. The box makes it too hot sometimes.
 

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Ray S.
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Prospector, glad to hear your smoking debut turned out ok. I was so worried about your dilema I couldn't sleep too well. Tossed and turned til the clock said 0500. Rolled out and headed for the mighty Columbia. Got to my favorite launch and drove out into the darkness with running lights ablaze {i never go that early}... Put my gear out in the semi-darkness.... Didn't get a bump until 0750. Then another before 0820. Back at the dock at 0840 with 2 nice urbs. Great day for me. Tight lines to you.
Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Originally posted by Ray S.:
Prospector, glad to hear your smoking debut turned out ok. I was so worried about your dilema I couldn't sleep too well. Tossed and turned til the clock said 0500. Ray
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Oh no! I didnt want anyone else too loose sleep over my dilema. :depressed:
Sorry Ray. And thank you for your help.
I ate some tonight and it is over done but tasted real good.. And I don't like fish, But smoked is good. So now I just hope I can catch more.

Mike
 

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Just my 2 cents.........My first batch was ok the second batch tasted was better but looked a little funny (too dark) my third batch go compliments from experienced smokers and each batch has gotten better with 1 exception......forgot to add 1 extra cup of water to brine AND let it brine for about 10 hours too long. I don't know what happened there but I recovered. What I'm saying is just like everything else...Practice, practice, practice.

The main things that have improved my smoked fish was first not jumping the gun and pulling it out of the smoker too soon and finishing it off in the oven. To me this technique give you cooked fish that tastes smoked not cured, dried, candylike goodness. Second, I stopped using Luhr Jensen chips n' chunks and got the Weber chips. These allow you too relax and let it burn slow. Letting it go overnight is never a bad idea.
Third is glazing, use a small fan and maybe even some brown sugar packed on top. Glaze for 6-10hrs depending on preference. Some say 2-6 hrs but I like the slightly hard coating. I recently tried the BR Sugar glaze and EVERYBODY loved it.

Good luck and enjoy the tastiest part of fishing!
 
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