Smoking in the Gas Smoker

The smoker doing its thing

The smoker doing its thing

Today I got a smoker – and now I have to work out what to make with it. I got it from Aldi and when researching whether to buy it I found that it was a rebadged Hark smoker and that there was a cook book available on line so I have down-loaded it and so I can find it in the future I am attaching it to here:

Hark smoker recipe book

Hark Enterprises Pty Ltd
Unit 11, 41-49 Norcal Rd, Nunawading, VIC, 3131 T: 03 9857 0999; 1300 799 787 E: service@hark.com.au W: www.hark.com.au

img_20161120_162413-01

Added casters to the oven.

We added wheels to ours when assembling it – has worked out really well – easy to move away from the house when we are smoking and back under cover when finished .

This is what I have worked out I need to remember when  I cook:

  1. Have enough meat or other stuff to fill it up, there is no point running it for hours with only one piece of meat in there. I have added a tray of salt for smoked salt, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum, egg plant all wrapped in foil so they don’t get smoked and ordinary old sausages just sitting on the rack come out tasting a bit like cabanossi. I have cooked 2 flat chooks and a tray of chicken pieces in one go and an opened out pork shoulder, a beef brisket and some foil wrapped vegetables  in another. Plenty of leftovers and food for the freezer so week day cooking gets easier.
  2. You can do lots of thin sausages by hanging them from the rack. If I am smoking pulled pork or brisket for a large group I do heaps of sausages the day before – it takes about an hour, and they can be easily be reheated in the oven or covered bbq, in a foil tray and served if people become hungry before the slow cooked meats are ready, and the leftover sausages are yummy – there are rarely many, left over!
  3. Empty the shelves, water tray and wood chip tray out of the smoker after each use, wash the racks and line the water tray,  smoker tray and cover with foil so it will be ready to go next time.
  4. Remove the racks and trays and stack them, fill up the chip tray and water dish while it is heating up and when it is up to temperature put them and the food, already on the racks, in in one go, to minimise the time that the doors are open.
  5. Put a digital thermometer in the food and shut the door.
  6. Don’t open the door to look, the temperature drops – “When you’re lookin’ it aint cookin”.
  7. Soak the chips in water for at least an hour and better longer before using them.
  8. Use about a cup and a half of chips – don’t over smoke
  9. Select the chips according to the type of food that is being cooked. Start with what is suggested on the box/bag.
  10. Most of the smoke is absorbed in the first hour or two, until the meat reaches about 60C. There is usually no need to top up the smoke chips. It is better to be subtle in flavour than over smoked.
  11. Line the water and smoke trays with foil to make cleaning up easier.
  12. Add any herbs to the water tray – rosemary, bay, lemon grass etc
  13. Put hot water in the tray, it acts as a heat sink as well as humidifier.
  14. Clean the stove when finished – the racks go into my dishwasher.
  15. Generally meats are prepared the night before.
  16. Poultry improves with brining overnight, as do some pork cuts.
  17. Do rely on the meat thermometer. Generally, for slow cooks, when meat reaches 65 to 70 it often “stalls” so it is time to take it out, spray with apple juice or apple cider vinegar, wrap it in a coupe of layers of foil and put it back until the meat reaches 95.
  18. Long, slow cooked meat benefits from resting. I remove it at 95, wrapped in its foil, wrap in a tea towel, a bath towel and a rubber backed floor mat or put it in an insulated freezer bag or esky/cooler.  Ignore it for a couple of hours.
  19. Clean the racks & shelf holders by running them through a cycle in the dishwasher. This removes the grease and gunk but they are still brown. Go over them with steel wool and without much effort they come up clean and shining. Line the smoke box and water tray with foil and put everything back into the smoker so it will be ready for next time.
  20. The base of the smoker needs to be wiped out or grease built up over tieue drips on the paving.
  21. The chips used give a lot of the flavour – I usually add some hickory to the pre packed chicken & pork chips because there is not enough flavour in them.

Smoked Chicken

  • whole chicken – cut along the breast and open out, wash well and remove excess fat
  • Chicken pieces mixed or drum sticks

Brine – 1 tbs salt in litre of water – enough for one split chicken in a large zip-lock bag

Mix brine, put chicken pieces in zip lock bags and cover with brine, squeeze out all air and place in frydge over night.

Remove from bags, rinse and dry with paper towels. Rub all over with oil and sprinkle with any combination of spices or herbs or a pre-made rub and rub it well into the chicken.

Remove the racks, water container and smoke box from the smoker and turn on. Soak a chinese food container full of chips in water while the smoker is heating up to 110°C.

Place the food on the racks, fill the water container with hot water and put soaked chips in the smoke box,  put in the thermometer and come back when it reaches 73°C. Remove and rest. It’s a bit hard doing the meat thermometer in chicken pieces so I just cook them for about an hour.

BUFFALO WINGS (CHICKEN WINGS)

These are so cheap, you can make masses, and they get eaten.

This is a wet overnight marinade. It doesn’t matter if you add sugar to smoked marinades because, unlike barbecuing, the sugar in the smoker doesn’t burn.

Wash chicken wings and dry well. Cut the wings in half, cut off the wing tip season with salt and pepper and put into a zip lock bag. Pour the marinade in the bag with the chicken wings, squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Leave it to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Prepare and heat the smoker. Place the chicken pieces on a rack, we have a grid that fits on the shelf that is good for small items, and smoke at 120°C for an hour to hour and a half, until done.

Marinade for chicken wings

  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (see below), plus more for serving, optional
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tbs Dijon mustard

BBQ Sauce (bottle the leftovers, goes with everything)

2 tbs onion salt
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbs smoked sweet paprika
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbs honey
3 tbs golden syrup
1 tbs black pepper corns (bit peppery – use less and add ground pepper to taste if worried)

Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend thoroughly. Pour into a medium pot, and stir continuously until simmer point is reached. Simmer for 10 minutes over. Remove and use to baste brisket while hot. Pour the remainder into a bottle and cap. Refrigerate until needed.

 

BBQ Sauce for ribs (bottle the leftovers)

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup scotch whiskey (preferably a smoked one)

Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend thoroughly. Pour into a medium pot, and stir continuously until simmer point is reached. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and use to baste ribs while hot. Pour the remainder into a bottle and cap. Refrigerate until needed.

 

 

PULLED PORK

Pulled pork with pickled beetroot and coleslaw

Pulled pork with pickled beetroot and coleslaw

Pulled pork done in  a smoker is so much nicer than done in the oven or BBQ. It has a slight taste of bacon and with the vinegary sauce that you pour over it adds to the flavour.

     Watch this YouTube clip. Aaron has a very popular restaurant that specialises in pulled pork, I rewatch before I cook if it has been a long time:  cooking pulled pork

Remove most of the fat inluding skin, rub all over with any rub that seems like what you are going to feel like and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least over night.

Keep the skin and cook separately .

Cooking

Allow about 7 hours minimum, not for lunch unless started in the wee small hours.

Prepare the smoker by filling the water tray, putting a few rosemary sprigs and a couple of Bay leaves in the container, adding chips to the smoke box and  oiling the racks, put the meat in the oven while it is coming up to temperature, this helps dry the outside and the meat begins absorbing smoke. Put the thermometer probe in in the meat and close the door.

When the oven gets to about 110°C adjust the burner,  trying to keep the temperature in that range. When the meat hits 70°C take it out, give it a spray with apple juice or water, wrap in foil, put it back into the smoker and replace the thermometer probe. Wait until the temperature reaches 95°C then take it out and wrap in a couple of towels and place in an insulated bag (I wrap in a rubber floor mat) for a few more hours.

After all this remove the packaging and pull the pork using two forks or a pork puller.

Pour the sauce (below) over the meat and serve with coleslaw, pickled beetroot salad, bbq sauce on bread rolls.

This is a good sauce to pour over the pork after pulling it,  to keep it moist and help cut through the grease when eating it.

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of half a lime or lemon
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

As usual taste and adjust – it may taste a bit vinegary but actually taste on a piece of meat because that is what it goes with.

BRISKET

This video on cooking a brisket is necessary viewing. There are 3 in the series. Cooking brisket with Franklin – 1 of 3.

It takes at least 7 hours so have it all ready to go the night before and plan to be up early.

You need at least a 3 to 4 kg piece of brisket. Prepare it by removing the big lumps of fat between the muscle (watch the video), neaten up the fat on the top to about 1cm thick and remove some of the blue gristle on the bottom. Rub all over with selected meat rub. I usually use pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and any meat rub I have in the cupboard (it is best not to add salt at this stage. Add salt just before putting the meat into the smoker. ) or make a batch of the Memphis Dust below and use it for every thing. Wrap well and leave in the fridge over night.

Remove the meat from the fridge and remove the shelves, water dish and smoke tray from the smoker and turn it on to pre-heat. Turn on the BBQ or large cast iron pan to pre-heat.  Oil  the shelves, place the drained, pre-soaked wood chips in the smoke box and fill the water dish with hot water.

Rub salt into the meat and sear the brisket, fat side down first for a minute, on the hot pan/BBQ, then lay out on the oiled rack.

My meat is always too large for the rack so I hold the rack over the meat with the square corner of the meat aligning with the corner of the rack and cut off the piece that doesn’t fit. This piece can then be rotated and placed on the rack.

Put the meat on its rack, the water dish and the smoke box back in the oven. Put the meat thermometer probe into the thick part of the meat and set the alarm for 65°C. Close the door and check the temperature. Try to keep it about 120°C.

When the meat hits 65° to 70°C take it out, give it a spray with apple juice, apple cider vinegar  or water, wrap in foil, put it back into the smoker and replace the thermometer probe. Set the alarm for 95°C.

When the temperature reaches 95°C take it out and wrap in a couple of towels and place in an insulated bag or esky for a few more hours.

By now everyone will be starving and all the snacks will be gone so it is time to unwrap and carve.

Carving and serving

Watch the 3rd video of series mentioned above. Slice about 4mm (1/4 inch thick) and serve, again just with coleslaw and pickled beetroot on bread rolls.

Smoked Almonds – method 1

Pretty good and heaps cheaper than the bought ones. If there is ever a spare rack then  use it to toast some nuts. They take 1/2 hour to cook, turning once, then about 2 hours to cool.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kg raw whole almonds
  • 1 tsp fine grain salt
  • 3 tsp spice mix of choice (Memphis Meat Rub below is pretty good. The sugar melts on to the nuts and it all hangs together well.
  • A tray with holes to let the smoke through but small enough to not let the nuts through. Make sure it fits on the rack.

Method

Have all the ingredients ready. Oil the tray (spray oil works).  Turn on the smoker and when it reaches about 100°C add the smoke chips.

Now – Put the almonds in a bowl of water and leave to soak for ten minutes (set a timer).

Drain, return to the bowl, sprinkle on the seasoning and salt and stir to coat.

Spread on to oiled tray on a rack and straight into the now smoking oven.

Set a timer for 15 minutes, turn over and return to the oven.

At 30 minutes remove and allow to cool, Store in an airtight container, or freeze until needed.

Smoked Almonds – method 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of whole, raw almonds
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp celery powder
  • Preheat the gas smoker to LOW: 105-135°C (220-275°F) and use a light flavoured wood like beech or apple

Method

  • Melt the butter in a small dish, add the almonds and stir till coated.
  • Remove from the heat and cover to rest stirring every couple of minutes for 10 minutes.
  • Grind the onion powder, celery powder, salt and sugar in a mortar and pestle until it forms a
    fine powder.
  • Drain the almonds, coat with the powder and spread on a tray that is lined with baking powder.
  • Smoke for 30-60 minutes.
  • Allow to cool before storing in an air tight container.
    Note: The almonds will be soft when they are removed but will become crunchy as they cool.

Meat rub

Make a batch and store – use on just about anything. A lot cheaper than pre-made rubs and no fillers. Read the ingredients list to see what is actually in them.

Memphis Dust Recipe

Refer to this site for everything to do with smoking: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_pastes_marinades_and_brines/meatheads_memphis_dust.html

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 tbs ground pepper
  • 2 tbs ginger powder
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary – ground

Mix all together and store in an airtight jar.

Ribs rub

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs mustard powder
  • 1 tbs dried oregano – ground
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns – ground
  • 1 tbs white pepper
  • 1 tbs cayenne pepper

 

  • 3 full racks of pork spare ribs
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup smoky bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 cup apple juice in a spray bottle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Smoking in the Gas Smoker”

  1. marion November 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    thanks for all that info the aldi smokers don’t come on sale till 26/11 up here. but going out to buy one a lot of interesting tips many thanks

    • Nerakween November 20, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Good luck, start with sausages and chicken drumsticks, cheap and quick. I did dinner for 40 last night – went really well and so easy.

Leave a Reply