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Topics - FunkedOut

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Bacon! / TenderQuick Bacon
« on: September 14, 2015, 02:09:35 PM »
I've been reading through this subforum ever since posting about my smoked belly and it really got me wanting to try some.  This is my first bacon ever, so I'm not sure if it will come out good, so go easy on me...
Most of this process is exactly the same as (and came from) Bear Carver on smokingmeatforum.

I started out by using a small butt that I had, about 6 pounds.
Took the bone out raw, and finished splitting the butt in half along where the bone used to be.  I then trimmed off all the pieces that were too thin, cooked and ate those separate.  I ended up with two pieces of pork, about 2 lbs each.

I weighed each piece separately and used the following recipe for the dry cure:

1/2 oz per pound of meat TenderQuick
2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar per piece
1 Tablespoon of coarse black pepper per piece

I first applied the TQ, thoroughly rubbing every nook and cranny.  Then the pepper, then the sugar and bagged the meat, getting all of the rub on the plate in there as well.  There wasn't a lot of rub that didn't stick.  I always use gloves to rub; rub doesn't stick to gloves at all.
Then I prepared the second piece of meat the same way.

Both bags went for 7 days in the fridge, getting flipped and massaged daily.  Each piece was just under 1.5" thick.

Last night, I opened the bags, rinsed well with cool water and soaked in ice water for 1/2 hour.  I then dried the meat  well with paper towels and coated liberally with coarse black pepper.  I put them in the fridge, uncovered on a grate to dry and form a pellicle.

Today, I prepared for a cold smoke by inserting the cold smoke plate into the lowest position of my SI3.  I filled the chip tray with maple, because I will follow the cold smoke with a hot smoke.  Loaded my AMNPS with pitmasters choice pellets, placed it next to the chip tray and lit it.
I stacked a few bottles of ice on the cold smoke plate, slide the meat onto a single rack at the highest position, probed the meat and closed the door.

Ambient temp is 87F today.
Meat was at 35F internal temp when I first probed it.
30 minutes after closing the door, the box temp had dropped to 65F and meat had climbed to 48F.

Planning on 8 hours of cold smoke, followed by:
1 hour at 100F
1 hour at 120F
1 hour at 140F
then 160F until IT of 145F.

I figure bringing up the heat slowly should keep it from sweating.
AMZNPS should go for 12 hours with the fan on.

Cold-Smoking / Smoked Chili Peppers
« on: September 12, 2015, 07:57:37 PM »
The Story
I love the taste of chipotle peppers.  they are nothing more than smoked, ripe jalapeņos.
From a young age, my love of heat has taken me on a journey seeking more heat than can be provided by the modest jalapeņo .
On that journey, I found that I like the taste of habanero peppers much more than jalapeņos.
So I thought, why not make my own habanero "chipotle?"

Fast forward to today, where I am making a batch of smoked peppers with a crop of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers.  The taste is very similar to a habanero, even through they physically resemble a Bhut Jolokia, aka Naga Jolodia or Ghost pepper .
It seems hot peppers record breaking levels are advancing at a rate that is hard for me to keep up with.  My crops are usually a year to two behind in terms of what is currently listed in the Guiness book of world records.  I was reading about the Trinidad while growing Red Savina Habaneros, and now that my Trinidad plants are thriving, a new record holder has assumed the throne, the Carolina Reaper.
At any rate, these Trinidad peppers pack quite a punch and have a wonderful flavor and aroma.

The Smoke
Today also marks my first use of a new AMNPS 5x8 (  I just received this unit and wanted to give it a go.  I used the pitmasters choice pellets included with the smoker tray, as I had read reviews on this board that these they are starved for oxygen in our smokers due to lack of airflow.  I was not sure if it would work and wanted to minimize my risk on investment.  I am happy to say, that it worked perfectly in my smoker, blown with the 23cfm fan.  One row of the MAZE lasted 4 hours, producing plentiful smoke from beginning to end.

The Setup
The fan was blowing into the bottom rear of the smoker.
I put the SI smokebox in place, but it was empty.
I placed the AMNPS on the floor, at the front of the smoker, to the right of the SI smoke box.
I inserted the SI cold smoke plate in the lowest position.
I positioned the meat probe below the cold smoke plate, on the left of the SI smoke box.
I used the Auber to monitor temps, but did not power the SI element.
I used the Q-MATZ from amazonproducts to keep the peppers from falling through the grates.  I've had these for a few years and they have held up great.  They are just like new, although I only use them for this purpose; cold smoking.

The Experience
I filled two grates with peppers and placed them the top two positions.
About 2/3rds of the peppers were frozen, as I harvest and freeze until I have enough for a batch.
This made the top, cold smoke chamber drop quickly to 55F, while the ambient temp was 88F.
4 hours later, the top chamber was at 104F while the lower chamber with the AMNPS hit 116F.
I can see this setup working perfectly in the winter, but may need ice bottles up top for cheese any other time around here.

The Recipe
I take the peppers (smoke is optional), rough chop them and fill quart size mason jars.  Each jar gets 2 tablespoons of sea salt.  Then I snug brand new lids and boil the jars for 20 minutes to sterilize the contents.  Upon removing the jars from the boiling water, I tighten the lids and label them with pepper variety, smoke? and date.  They then go into those two cabinet doors above the fridge for at least a year to ferment.  This really develops the flavor and unfortunately lowers the heat.  This is the main reason  I go to great lengths to start with the hottest pepper I can.  The last batch of hot sauce I made fermented for 8 years; Red Savina Habanero.
When the time is right, I crack open a jar, and mix with 5% acidity white vinegar.  Liquify, strain and bottle.
3 Ingredients: peppers, vinegar, salt.  Delicious and requires no refrigeration.

The Pictures

Pork / The Most Complex Lazy-Q Butt Imaginable!
« on: August 30, 2015, 12:21:17 AM »
It has taken much planning, research, testing, trial and error on many fronts to get to this point, but I like where I am.  This may be the best butt I have ever put out, in any smoker, and it will be truly hands off!  I've got high hopes for tomorrow's grub; pulled Boston butt.

I won't get into brine or rub discussion much; everyone has their favorite recipe.  I think that part of the process can be substituted as desired.  My choice is to trim the thick fat off to gain more access to the meat.  Then rub and wrap in plastic overnight; no binder for me, but my rub has plenty of sugars, a wet ingredient.  Next morning, I freshen up the rub right before going into the smoker.

Here's where the fun begins.
I've got an SI3 with an Auber PID controller, and a 23cfm fan piped into the bottom, rear of the smokebox.  The fan is powered by the "Smoke Generator" port on the Auber PID.  That port is powered by the R1 & R2 settings in the 166 menu.  You set the program steps (1-6) that you want the port powered up.  You only get two steps to power the port, but I think that's perfect for this application.  I set the port to power up during steps 3 & 4.
Here is the program I use on the Auber:

Step 1: 999F for 0.3 hours (18minutes)
Step 2: 235F until internal temp reaches 165F
Step 3: 235F until internal temp reaches 195F - (fan on)
Step 4: 140F for 12 hours - (fan on)

I'll insert cold meat into a cold smoker.
The smoke box will be filled with wood; mostly cherry chunks, some maple chips and oak chips.  I soak the chips in water overnight to really delay their temperature rise.  That way I get their smoke later in the cook.

Step 1 set to 999F ensures that the element will be on and not turn off until 18 minutes go by.  This almost always guarantees that some of the wood chunks ignite and burn.  I know there's a lot written on this site on how to avoid that, but I am looking for that combustion to fill the box with nitric oxide to develop a smoke ring.  Hopefully, soaked chips will make it past the fire to provide smoke for the rest of the cook.

Step 2 set to 235F is my preferred cooking temp, but can be swapped for yours.  The fan is still off during this step to have the smokebox remain as humid as possible, something these units excel at.  With the meat moist, and NO2 in the air, you have everything you need to produce a smoke ring.  Once the internal temperature of the butt reaches 165F, the surface of the meat should be above 170F and there's no longer an opportunity to create any more smoke ring.  Now to work on the bark...

Step 3 remains at a set temp of 235F but turns the fan on.  This will greatly reduce the moisture content in the smokebox, replacing all of the humid air in the smoker with fresh air from outside.  This airflow also lowers the temperature of the smoker, requiring more firing of the element by the Auber to maintain temperature, crisping the meat surface, much like a convection oven effect.  This step runs until the internal temperature reaches 195F, again, which can be dialed to your liking.

Step 4 has a set temp of 140F and keeps the fan on to cool the box as quickly as possible.  This step is just here to keep from having to babysit the last few minutes of the cook, and save the day if I plan to leave for hours at a time and want the butt to remain in the safe zone.  Ideally, I need to create a step 5 with the set temp at 140F and the fan off to keep from drying out the meat.  I might just watch it tomorrow and see how long it takes to cool down from 235F to 140F to finish the program.

I subscribe to the method of wrapping and resting in a cooler for a couple of hours before pulling.
Not only does it allow the meat to rest and juices to redistribute, but it's one less thing to worry about before chow time.  I finish it early so it's waiting on me, not the other way around.

I love BBQ... 8)

With a less than stellar explanation of the PID parameters in the manual, and the differences in PID parameter nomenclature and definition across PID controllers, I felt a little clarity on the subject was warranted.
While much (if not all) of the following will apply to any of the Auber PID's used for electric smokers, I included the model number in the subject I am referencing, as I have seen other Auber controllers with differing definitions.

Real Basic PID Explanation (geared towards this forum)

A PID controller will monitor the box temp via the temp probe, compare that reading with the set temperature, and control the power applied to the heating element in a way that brings the box temp in line with the set temp.
The total power applied to the heating element is comprised of three components; P, I and D.
Most of the tutorials you will find readily available online will discuss tuning of PID controllers by manipulating the gain factor for each component.  The gain factor is multiplied by each component directly.  This results in a simple relationship where doubling the P parameter, doubles the P contribution to the total power applied.  Halving the I parameter halves the I contribution.  Same for D.  While that is a straight forward way of describing the concepts of PID control, they do not apply directly to the parameters utilized by the Auber.
Below I will attempt to explain what the Auber is asking for in the 166 menu:

Auber Specific

P - Proportional contribution to the total power applied at any given moment is based on the difference between the set temp and the box temp at that exact moment.
The P parameter for the Auber is given in 0.1 degrees.  The factory setting of P = 70 means that the proportional band is 7 degrees.  When you first fire up your smoker with a box temp of 80F and a set temp of 200F, the P contribution will be 100%.  That means if I and D stay out of the way, the heating element will receive full power from the Auber, just like if you had plugged your smoker right into the wall outlet.
P contribution will continue to be 100% until the box temp reaches the proportional band.  In this example, the proportional band is the range from 193F to 200F (200F - 7F = 193F).
At a box temp of 193F, proportional contribution is still 100%.
At a box temp of 200F, proportional contribution will be 0%.
Simple math can be used to figure out the contributions for temperatures in between those two end points.  It is a linear relationship.

I - Integral contribution to the total power applied at any given time is based on the history of the difference between the set temp and the box temp up until and including that exact moment.
The I parameter for the Auber is given in seconds.  The factory setting of 600 means that it will take 600 seconds for the I contribution to ramp up until it equals the P contribution at this time (assuming nothing changes between now and 600 seconds from now).
This I contribution can be positive or negative, depending on whether the box temp is below or above, respectively, the set temp.  This contribution is added to the P contribution (and D, of course) to determine the power required to apply to the heating element.

D - Derivative contribution to the total power applied at any given time is based on the rate at which the box temp is changing at that exact moment. 
The D parameter for the Auber is given in seconds.  The factory setting of 150 means that the Auber will assume the current rate of change will remain constant for the next 150 seconds, calculate what the box temp will be 150 seconds from now and compare that temp with the set temp to determine its contribution, just like it did for the P contribution. 
Example: The box temp is rising at a steady rate of 0.1F every second.  The box temp is currently 175F.  The set temp is 200F.  150 seconds from now, the box should be at 15F higher (0.1F x 150), or 190F.  190F is still outside of the proportional band, so the D contribution will be 100%.
The D contribution can be positive or negative as well.

Upgrades / The James Jerky Dryer
« on: August 11, 2015, 02:44:34 PM »
Anybody with The James Jerky Dryer or knowledge about it care to share some specs?
I am wondering what the CFM rating is for the fan inside the unit.
Power supply voltage and current might be clues if the CFM data is not printed on the fan label.
So would RPM and fan diameter.

Thanks in advance.

Pork / Smoked Pork Belly - Take 1
« on: July 24, 2015, 01:18:01 PM »
Usually, I only eat belly when cooking a whole hog, but it's my favorite part of the beast, so once or twice, I've spoiled myself.
I've always cooked whole hog in a pit or caja china (, and bellies always in the oven.  Bottom line, always high heat.  This will be my first slow and low belly.

Got 3 pounds worth of pork belly from the local meat market, just to try it on the smoker.  This was a skin-on belly.  I love crisping up the skin to eat cracklings or chicharrones or pork rinds or whatever you want to call them, but again, that's a high heat deal. 

So I decided to skin this belly, cut the skin into strips for deep frying right before serving the belly.  A little salt, black pepper and smoked habanero pepper powder and into a bag they go until dinner time.

Now to focus on the belly...
I used 3 tablespoons of tender quick and rubbed it in real good, wrapped in plastic tightly and put back in the fridge for 1 hour.
Washed it off real good and put in a brine of guava nectar and salt.   The nectar has more than enough sugar, and I subtracted the 3 tablespoons of tender quick I had used earlier from the total amount of salt I normally use in a brine (1 gallon of water, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of sugar).  I let this sit 12 hours in a plastic bag.

Pulled he belly out, pat it dry, no rinse, and coated it with black pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, oregano and a bit of paprika with a real light dust of cayenne.  Immediately into the smoker loaded with pecan chips and cherry chunks.

Here's the plan:
Cold belly, cold smoker
225F until IT of 140F
200F until IT of 160F
Pull the belly out to rest a bit while I:
Glaze with a gauva BBQ sauce/glaze that I haven't invented yet
Get the smoker up to 300F
Put the belly back in for 30min or so.

Serve topped with fresh fried rinds along side rice and black beans.
I'll get some pics up later.

Model 3 & 3D - The Big Brother / Red Cedar #3 Cart
« on: July 19, 2015, 02:06:16 PM »
Decided to raise the #3 up 3' to make getting in and out of it a standing position.
Used red cedar so it would weather well without a finish. 

Attached the casters that came with the #3 with some t-nuts, and attached the SI3 with 90mm long bolts; M12x1.75 threads on both.

24" full extension drawer slides hold 100lbs and should make (un)loading a breeze.  the drawer may double as an auber operating location if temps are unaffected by the heat above.   I'll take some measurements.
Hooks on the back to get the auber out of the way for any reason.

Thought I'd share in case anyone was thinking about something similar.

Model 3 & 3D - The Big Brother / Airflow
« on: November 08, 2014, 09:07:10 PM »
Anybody modified their #3 to allow more air in?
Been thinking about getting an inlet port near the rear of the bottom to knock two birds...

1) get more airflow for eliminating more moisture.  I'm in FL and have plenty of humidity in my box.  can't seem to get a decent bark on anything or crispy skin on birds.

2) cooling off the rear of the element should balance it with the front (factory drain hole), hopefully making wood along the smoke box burn evenly.  at the moment, only the few half of the smoke box is functional.  front half doesn't produce smoke.

Thanks in advance.

Introductions / New guy with a #3 and a question
« on: November 08, 2014, 04:35:45 PM »

Joe is me. 
I've had a #3 for about a year now and I'm getting around to seeing results I'm happy with.
I had a 40" MES that was absolutely fantastic for a couple of years until the element gave out.
Stick burners before that.  I'm just hooked on the ease of electric.

This #3 never has been able to "burn" either wood chips or the hickory slugs that came with it on the front half of the smoke box.  I prefer wood chips so I can mix what wood I use easily.
I'll fill the smoke box with wood chips, and no matter how long I smoke, the rear half is ashes and the front half isn't even black.
Is this normal for you #3 owners?
It's like the front half is not getting hot enough to "burn" the wood.

I've got a feeling it may have to do with the fact that the only air inlet is the drip hole near the front.
Wondering if I add an inlet port near the rear, things will even out. 
If I leave the door open for a bit while adding/removing meat partway through a smoke, the front half will "burn" up.

Thanks in advance,

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