Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Smoker "Cook" Times

  1. #1
    Member Tomcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    293

    Exclamation Smoker "Cook" Times

    I've been using a Big Chief smoker for several years with great success. However, based on the "cook times" cited by others, I'm thinking that mine runs significantly cooler than the average temperature for this appliance.

    On average, it takes roughly eight hours to smoke a batch of reds -- and that's when I insulate the device with cardboard boxes (shallow produce crates that are free from Costco) to speed up the process. Exposed to the elements (uninsulated), it takes about 12 hours to finish a batch of fish with this smoker.

    Granted, I ususally smoke my fish in September and October, so the outdoor temperatures are getting fairly chilly by then and probably prolonging the "cook" time.

    Still, when friends and colleagues tell me that they're able to crank out a full batch of reds in four to six hours, I can't help wondering whether I'm dealing with a "lemon."

    Please advise. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    wasilla ak
    Posts
    640

    Default big chief

    lots of people i know who use those say that the heating source is inadequate.....they have ripped it out and put in a good electric hot pan...six hours sounds about right for reds....change out the chips every 45min to one hour so the smoke doesnt get bitter
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

  3. #3
    Member Tomcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    293

    Thumbs up No More Early Morning Wake Ups

    I'd love to be able to knock out a batch in just six hours. I HATE getting out of bed at 2 or 3 in the morning to pull my fish out of the smoker because the process takes so long. Sounds like a hot plate just might be the way to speed things up.

    As a side note, a buddy bought a Big Chief recently and tried smoking some salmon (silvers) for the first time. It was a warm sunny day and he called me after four hours to say it looked like the fish was done. Based on my experiences, I told him it seemed rather early, but to pull the racks out of the smoker if the meat had a varnished look to it. He decided to wait another hour, then called back in an excited state to announce that the smoked salmon had turned out awesome.

    After work, I stopped by his house to see the results. Couldn't believe my eyes. In just five hours, that fish had turned to salmon jerky. It looked like burned steak, but tasted fine. Just not the desired consistency.

    Anyway, the important thing is that my friend and his wife were thrilled to have prepared their own smoked salmon and I'm sure they will be able to fine-tune the proper cook time with experience.

    Again though, the heat generated by some of these smokers seems to vary significantly.

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    8

    Default Big Chief

    I borrowed a Big Chief from my sister, same problem that you mentioned, just didn't seem to heat enough after several hours. Figured it was an old unit so I decided to replace the burner, when I unplugged the cord from the burner on the back of the unit, I noticed one leg of the plug was burnt and not making contact, probably from a loose connection at one time. Replaced the cord, cleaned the terminals of the old burner and it heated like a new one. Check the condition of the connections.

    Good Luck

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    233

    Default

    A smart thing to do is to use an oven thermometer to test the actual temp of your smoker to what the dial says. Then you adjust your temp accordingly.

  6. #6
    Member garnede's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    soon to be back in Alaska
    Posts
    1,214

    Default

    Big chiefs are not insulated and just a little brease or moisture in the air can extend the smoking time considerably. When I smoke this time of year it normaly takes 4-6 hours and when I smoke in September it regularly takes 12+ hours.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Member AKGUPPY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    S.E. AK
    Posts
    176

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by garnede View Post
    Big chiefs are not insulated and just a little brease or moisture in the air can extend the smoking time considerably. When I smoke this time of year it normaly takes 4-6 hours and when I smoke in September it regularly takes 12+ hours.
    X2. Cool breezes extend cooking times alot. That's why I bought a Bradley Digital Smoker. Set it and forget it.

  8. #8

    Default go just a little hotter

    You're running about 120 F in your big/little chief, and maybe a little hotter if you put the cardboard shipping box over it while going - yeah it sounds crazy but I've never had one ignite.

    But a good gas fired smoker gives you the flexibility of 110 F to 500 F all steady-like, so in answer to do you have a lemon, the answer is yes if your trying to be a smoking pro, and no if you're just doing.

    Don't go over 150 F (internal smoker temp) on reds, or cooler if they're teeny, but you'll quicken your smoke times greatly with no downside by getting a smoker that goes hotter, or (disclaimer here) by putting your cardboard box over your chief.

    If you don't have a thermometer mounted in your smoker then (...deleted text here...). Sorry.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •