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old smoker

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    old smoker

    Just ran across your site. I enjoy preparing my own meats. I literally grew up in a meat packing plant that served the southern half of Missouri. My family owned it and my dad ran it. The building was old, built before 1900. Refrigeration was supplied by a huge ammonia system, driven by an enormous compressor pump. A lot of stuff was run with steam, there were two huge coal-fired boilers going all the time. Water from an 8" (or so) well drilled slightly over 1000 ft. to a really pure aquifer. My education in smoking meat started there. The smokehouse part was four stories. There were three smokers, each fired on the bottom floor with four foot hickory logs. The first floor was for meats that just had to be cooked, as it was the hottest. Weiners, Franks, Bologna, Salami, etc., were cooked there. The second floor was where hams were smoked and cooked, and the top floor was where the bacon was smoked. Tending the fires was a fine art. They had to be low and smokey, and then at the appropriate time increase the heat. No dials or meters. Just some old men that knew what kind of fire they needed to smoke the hams, then cook them.

    I learned a couple of things about smoking meat. The meat will only absorb the smoke (flavor) at lower temperatures. Keep the smoky low temps quite a while. When the meat starts to get hotter, and cooks, it stops absorbing the flavor. Then it's just the smoke on the surface. They always told me when it gets over 120 - 130 degrees it won't smoke any more, but you can lose a lot of juices, so when you are ready to cook it, cook it faster. The smoke is mainly absorbed in the fatty tissue and when the fat starts to melt, you start to lose the flavor. When you are smoking a couple of tons of meat essentially over an open fire, you better know what you are doing!


    #2
    Welcome Aboard

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      #3
      @brucephallis, Welcome to the Pit, a little old school knowledge is a desirable attribute! Dan

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        #4
        Great story, I would have liked to see that smoker!!

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          #5
          bucephalis ... welcome to the Pit.

          Great story of such a huge smoking operation. I would love to know what small modern day smoking device you are now smoking meat with and how you use it. Are you saying the meat quits absorbing the smoke flavor at 120°/130°? What temperature would you finish the cook at for pork butts and briskets?

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            #6
            Interesting.
            Welcome to the Pit bucephalis

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              #7
              Great story! I'm trying to talk the wife into another brisket this weekend (a few vacuum sealed ones already in the freezer) and I will follow this advice IF I get the go-ahead!!

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              • Breadhead
                Breadhead commented
                Editing a comment
                Hmmm... Asking for forgiveness is better than asking for permission.😁

              #8
              Welcome to The Pit bucephalis! Glad to have you here. Dr Blonder's seminar on smoke is very cool, you should check it out if you haven't yet. He talks about what smoke does do and doesn't do with regards to meat.

              Since this is your first post, please check out our homework assignment post for new members, it contains a few how-tos and please-dos.

              Also, it's very important that you add the domain AmazingRibs.com to your email safe list in case you are ever drawn as our monthly Gold Medal Giveaway winner!

              Hope to hear & see more from you!

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