Frequently Asked Questions
After I have used several pans of Chips in my smoker, should I leave the smoker plugged in?
Yes. The smoke/drying process is actually two parts. The initial phase uses the wood chips to impart the desired wood flavor to the product, the secondary phase is the time needed to dry the product to your taste. Unplug the smoker when your product is dried to suit your taste or goal.
Do I want to wet the wood chips?
No. Do not wet the chips. You will only create steam (moisture) inside the smoking/drying chamber, when what you are trying to do is to drive out the moisture.
Do I put the wood chips in one pan after the other, or spread them out through the complete drying time?
You will want to run your pans of smoke in the first few hours in the Smoker. Two or three pans may be sufficient for the flavor you desire. You do not need to continually add smoke through the entire drying cycle.
After smoke curing of my meats, how long can I keep it, or do I need to consume it right away?
You can leave the finished products in the refrigerator for about two weeks. For a longer period you will want to freeze it.
I have some larger chunks of wood. Can I use them in the Chief Smokers?
No. Your smoker is designed for a cooler smoke/drying temperature. The unit will not achieve the necessary temperatures to ignite large chunks of material.
Do I leave my fish in my new Big Chief for the same amount of time it took in my Little Chief?
No. The Big Chief is intentionally designed to do large quantities of product (50 pound capacity). If your "load" does not completely fill the Big Chief smoker, then you must reduce the smoking/drying cycle to a time period commensurate with the quantity of product that you are processing. If your load is 75%, reduce the cycle time to 75%; if your load is 50%, reduce the cycle time to 50% and so on. The cycle time (total drying time) depends on the recipe and type of food you are smoking. See the Recipes & Operating Instructions booklet that came with your smoker for over 50 recipes that include approximate or estimated total drying time. Please contact Customer Service if you do not have a Recipes & Operating Instructions booklet.
Also, please remember that there are other factors that impact the total cycle time, such as the ambient (outside) temperature, windy conditions, temperature of the product when you put it into the smoker, use of an inadequate extension cord that might drop the supply of voltage. Please remember that the smoke/drying process is subjective and it is an "art-form". Regularly check the contents of the smoker to be sure you are not over-drying the load.
Is a good practice to use the smoker shipping carton as an insulation tool, during cold-weather processing?
DO NOT use your smoker box as an insulation blanket. However unlikely that a "Mr. Murphy" event will occur, it still is not a safe practice to use your flammable shipping carton as an insulation tool. Smokehouse Products offers a non-flammable smoker insulation blanket just for this purpose.
I have purchased your brine and sausage mixes, and am wondering how many pounds of meat will these do?
Each package will cover about 5 pounds of meat.
I have already brined my meat in an aluminum container. Have I ruined my product?
The aluminum may have a reaction with the salt that may leave a bitter or even metallic flavor. It won't hurt you to eat it, but you may not like it.
I noticed the recipes call for non-iodized salt, why is this?
Iodized salt may give the product a slightly bitter flavor.
What are your recommendations for combining various kinds of meat with the different flavors of chips or chunks?
ALDER ~ The Northwest's favorite! Mild and sweet. A good flavor for ALL game, seafood, and fish. CHERRY~ Distinctive and delicious. Excellent for all dark meats and game, poultry, pork, and beef. Combine it with other woods for new flavor sensations! APPLE ~ The sweetest and mildest, delicate and fruity. None better for turkeys and other poultry. Its subtle, velvety flavor may make it your favorite! HICKORY ~ The commercial favorite and famous for its flavoring of hams and bacon. Zesty and exciting — guaranteed to please! MESQUITE ~ Westerner's delight! Hearty, clean smoky flavors. Great for all red meats and poultry.