Need to see if this would work..

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Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 17th, 2013, 9:34 pm

I would live to try smoking some hard cheeses like cheddar and eventually....bacon. I have a 53 gallon whiskey barrel left over from our wine making days. I see many cold smokers made from wine barrels but no details on how it is assembled. Now that the cooler weather is coming, I can have a better opportunity for success keeping the barrel temps down.

I have one of those amnps zig zag pellet/dust trays. I wonder how the thing should be put together such as spacing between the pellet ray and the rack of cheese, size of the stack etc.

Anyone know about these?


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Pete Mazz » November 18th, 2013, 6:27 am

The few I've seen have the smoke source connected to the CC with a run of ~4" flexible duct. Not sure how they're controlling the heat unless they have the length of duct down to a science. For true cold smoking, a heat lamp would probably be enough heat, as long as the outdoor temps weren't too low.


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Gizmo » November 18th, 2013, 8:45 am

I think heat will be your enemy when cold smoking.

The right time of year will help as you mentioned.

Current suspicion by a lot of folks smarter than me indicates that to "apply" a smoke flavor to a food you want the food/environment cold - like right out of the fridge kind of cold - up to about 100F is all.
The ductwork Pete mentioned allows heat to dissipate before reaching your wine cask - so that's a good thing.

Maybe use a cardboard box first to check the results before you cut into your cask?

So just fiddle with it and see …. just one of the many perks of this hobby …. :D


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 18th, 2013, 9:15 am

Good ideas.... I did see another cold smoke generator here made with a 12" nipple and an aquarium air pump. Seems as though the ones around the web are somewhat similar. The mad scientist in me says I need to follow a plan...but if it's a mad scientist, maybe not

I'll give a try as I take a few breaks on the big one


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 18th, 2013, 9:24 am

Does anyone know if a long coil, to cool the smoke, would affect the quality of the smoke? I am thinking that if it is being forced thru the tube into the barrel, eventually even 20 feet of hose should be ok... Any thoughts on that...


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Rodcrafter » November 18th, 2013, 10:16 am

I'm not a cold smoking expert, but I do know you need to allow the smoke to remain at least hotter than the chamber you want to use it in or it will not rise to the top and exit. You don't want the smoke to become old in the process. The process requires new smoke coming in and old smoke moving out.

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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 18th, 2013, 12:34 pm

Thanks RC, did not know this about the temps. All I thought was the internal temp for the barrel for the cheese was to be below 85 degrees F.


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Gizmo » November 18th, 2013, 1:06 pm

RC is correct - the cooler the more stubborn it is to establishing a draft.
I think the way around that would be to run a slight positive pressure on the cabinet.
That's what the aquarium pump is for but you will need an airtight cabinet to accomplish it.
Silicone is your friend. :D


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 18th, 2013, 1:27 pm

this puts a different thought in my head.... Am I correct in thinking that smoke, no matter what temp within reason, is only exposed to the product and then exhausted and replaced with new smoke...? If we we doing , parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, would it be similar to exposing product to the scent of herbs and then the product absorbs the flavoring or, does some heat need to be in the mix.

I only use the herbs as a comparison, I really can't find much on this process


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Gizmo » November 18th, 2013, 7:42 pm

smoke leaves it's flavor on it's way by …. you want it to keep moving or it gets an acrid quality about it as it cools …. that smell you get in the first few minutes when you light charcoal … hard to explain but I think it's just starting to form creosote …

but I'm no chemist…. :D


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » November 18th, 2013, 8:54 pm

Yuk. I am getting the point, sort of. The balance will be critical


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » December 1st, 2013, 5:04 pm

So I am nearly done with the cold smoker in terms of function, cosmetics can wait but here are a few pictures for anyone interested. If you have any ideas, please say so.

I took my raunchiest wine barrel in case this was a complete loss. This barrel was almost rotted on the bottom and had been dropped on one side. Had a few broken staves and the inside char was peeling off. I replaced the bottom and framed out a door to eliminate the top opening loading problem. Used some rough sawn slabs of maple I had lying around from my guitar neck stash. This way the racks can stay in place and I can place product directly on shelves easily. Planning for three racks. I took some scrap and made a little platform to keep the hot pellet tray from burning the new wood bottom. As I get it finished up, I'll get some other pictures of it completed in its medieval theme. Needs a stack and some input vents. But, it may all have to wait. Wrenched my back really good working on the steel smoker , the one that weighs a ton. The last 4 days have been rough
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That little pellet tray really seems to work great. Our big thing is cob smoked ham, bacon and cheese. We' ll see
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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Smokeone » December 1st, 2013, 7:11 pm

Sweet!


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Usually more beers than smoke.

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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Clover Ridge Smokers » December 1st, 2013, 7:15 pm

:LG:


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Pete Mazz » December 2nd, 2013, 6:19 am

Man, that smoke must've smelled pretty sweet!


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Rodcrafter » December 2nd, 2013, 10:46 am

:LG:

Puff,is there an exit for the smoke in the barrel?


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » December 2nd, 2013, 6:37 pm

Not yet.... I was so anxious to get something running ...I just lit the tray to watch it smoke. Figured if nothing else, I would see how long it burns and smell the smoke...but I have it drilled on top now with a 3" hole for some tubing about 24" long. Not really sure of what length it is going to take and I was also waiting for the glue to setup on the door assembly. I am using rough sawn maple slab about 1 1/4" thick. Ran it thru the planer today. Bought the hinges and two Weber replacement racks for the inside. Tomorrow when I get home, if it's not too dark, I will add the door and it's locking screw

Today I lit another "flavor". That little tray burned 1 row of corn cob about 3 1/2 hours and it's still going. About 1" more to go. I'll call it seasoning the barrel. :D


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Rodcrafter » December 3rd, 2013, 7:41 am

:LG:


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » December 4th, 2013, 8:46 pm

Here is an update on this project... I finished the door, added the hinges and added a door lock using a carriage bolt and t- nut. Going to tack a little "L" on the bolt to act like a speed bolt. For venting under the pellet tray I drilled ( 5 ) 3/4" holes across the bottom of the front. I don't know if this too much or too little but it all seems to be working well. The tray burns about 3+ hours with one of the three rows filled.

This is the 4th day I have been unable to bend and weld or lift more than a few pounds so I did the easy stuff. Closed the door and lit the tray again, this time with hickory. Works even better with a door on it ... Lit at 4:30pm and as if this post time (8:30) it just went out. The steady stream of thin smoke just seems to roll effortlessly out of the stack and the tray remains lit. I guess it is still seasoning the wood...haha

I'm going to try to find some pork bellies locally for the weekend and get two days in. One for the cheeses I picked up and then the bacon. Trying to use TQ's guide. Supposed to be colder Saturday and Sunday. Good experimenting weather
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Cosmetics to come
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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Big T » December 4th, 2013, 9:40 pm

:LG:


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Gizmo » December 4th, 2013, 10:33 pm

That's nice! :D


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Rodcrafter » December 5th, 2013, 10:24 am

That looks and sounds great Puff. Did you get hurt? If you said so, I missed that some how. Hope you back on track soon. I have some questions about this project if you don't mind.
1. What sort of temps have you been getting inside vs outside ambient temp?
2. I was wondering about getting one of these and adding an refrigerant system to it so I could do this sort of stuff down here where it is never Winter, do you think that will work?


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » December 5th, 2013, 2:27 pm

Hi RC, I will assume you are familiar with the little zig zag pellet tray? First, my only source of knowledge on this kind of stuff is by reading constantly. And I have read thousands of pages on building, smoking and recipes. I still know very little but I read a bunch o' stuff.

My ambient temps in NJ have been about 50 on the days I had lit this unit up, Which has been the last 4 days. The barrel is roughly 55 gallons. The internal temp on the barrel had risen to about 82 degrees on the lowest rack and about 78 on the next rack which I have at 21" above the tray and 17" above the tray. I have another rack to add but bending is a sore spot .

It seems my mom, brother and I all share a level of genetic weakness. Just under the right shoulder blade and when it goes it is a 7 day rest process ...nothing else but Percocet or 800 mg ibuprofen helps and when it spasms ...your in big trouble. I have been muscling around the tank and trailer the last few weeks and this was a surprise ...hadn't had it in years. As things get welded more and more...it just weighs so much. I have a rolling floor jack and a hi-lift jack . The rest is a game of outsmarting the steel.

I did read about a guy who used an old working refrigerator ... Seems like the consensus was yes. With a few changes in the plastic stuff, it looks good.. His Florida location would make good use of its ability to keep cool. I did read about creosote and it's formation and I believe you will need to regulate the cooling enough to keep it below 90 degrees and high enough to keep good draft.

I have not used the barrel yet for food but I am tickled pink in the textbook performance it is currently exhibiting I know I just got very lucky as there are really no exacting plans for this as there are for Franks tank blueprints

I am really hoping m to try the cheeses an Saturday and the bacon Sunday... One problem is I have no idea in NJ, where I am finding pork bellies !
Last edited by Puff on December 5th, 2013, 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Puff » December 5th, 2013, 3:03 pm

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Re: Need to see if this would work..

Post by Rodcrafter » December 6th, 2013, 8:49 am

Thanks Puff,

Good info.

I hope you get both a quick recovery and a gantry. Have fun!


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