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Bitterness

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    Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 7:24pm
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Titanium
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Hi All,had play a today with a portable smoker,been using manuka and have always got a bitter taste.
Today was in the warehouse and they have pohutukawa saw dust.
Smoked up a ky and snapper brined in golden syrup and sea salt .

No bitterness.
water water everywhere,how many fish does it hold?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Uncle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 7:44pm
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Paul, I'd suggest the bitterness comes from old sawdust or fish "juice" left over from previous smokes..
Needs to be scrupulously clean to minimise that bitter taste.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote pjc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 8:11pm
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Titanium
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Thanks Bill,will give it a good clean,its s/s done a lot fish though.
water water everywhere,how many fish does it hold?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 9:01pm
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Titanium
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Hi Uncle,
Do you really think that, not questioning more interested in your evaluation.
I too have noticed that bitter taste, but in general use softer woods in the smoke sense.
I thought it was due to a lot of light green stuff or particularly sappy portions of my manuka or too much heat producing more of a burnt note increasing that bitterness.
Be interested if your experience can offer me a better evaluation for my thoughts on this.
Cheers.
Just cruising in my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Uncle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 9:23pm
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It's been a while since I had one of those smokers Matt so am relying on old time memory, lol.
I used mine for trout quite a bit & the acrid taste did build up if not cleaned properly.
From memory, I only ever used dry manuka.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FarmerBrowne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2019 at 8:50am
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I think it is a combination of
1 keeping the smoker relatively clean, particularly the lid where condensation builds up and drops on the fish
 
2 making sure the heat is not too high under the smoker so the tea tree is not excessively burn't - i.e. a slightly less hot heat source
 
I have been mucking around a while now as at different times I have the bitterness issue and on a recent smoke after cleaning the smoker I still had the bitterness issue.  However the smoker was close to the heat source (gasmate cooker) which was on high.
 
Next time using the same heat source but the smoker elevated several inches higher from the heat source which was on slightly lower the trout came out perfect.
 
Generally don't have the bitterness when cooking on the BBQ above the grill part where the heat source is further away from the smoker box
 
A couple of things to try out
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Nek minnit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2019 at 10:57am
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I had the same problem with a cold smoker. I was smoking for too long with too much smoke. Try a fast smoke (20min or so with less saw dust)
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2019 at 10:59am
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Titanium
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We had a bitter background taste when 1st started smoking a few yrs back.
 The came across a Friend of a freind who is retired after yrs of professional smoking and now does craft smoking on a semi pro basis..
 Listened for couple hrs..
 !st thing he said was  dump the manuka.. when he now does a manuka smoke he throws a little in with the other woods  just to be able to say "manukau" as it is a big pull for marketing propaganda.
 And that is also the reason a lot of ladies dont like smoked fish...
 So We dropped manukau long time ago, experimented with apple, maple, feijoa, grape , peach, pohutukawa, miro, loquat and hickory   and blends of them
 Hickory we also dropped due to a slight background bitterness.
A lot of the woods came from our gardens...
 We also found that if we roughly stripped most of the bark before putting thru the big mulcher, that cleaned up flavours significantly.
Our go to for now is a feijoa / apple/ maple mix
 And thats for fish, muscles, scallops  home made bacon, chicken, sausages, pork belly, pork  and lamb chops etc.

 We have never cleaned the smoker out other than trays grills.. thu be very careful if condensation from any chimney is avoided.. we have a S  bend in the chimney with a hole to drain any. If this gets on the food I would not call it bitter.. its just a real crap taste.
 Any old accumulated meat/ fats laying around will also give an off background taste... espec if finishing off things like chicken by increasing heat at the end of the smoke.

Our general smoking temp is 48 to 52 with 5 to 7 hr smokes.. latter being things the size of large king fish slabs.

PS don't use iodised salt.. it will give a very faint taint, and will only notice if  in the same smoke use uniodised on some items and noniodised on others.


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Tagit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2019 at 11:54am
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After using Manuka for 20 years or more I switched to Pohutukawa as we have an almost endless supply at home. Also have a little Manuka, Feijoa and some other fruit trees to use. I mostly use the Pohutukawa now with maybe a little of one of the other woods depending on what I am after. Sometimes finish with the Manuka as I like a heavy smoke finish for making pates etc.
I always find the little portable smokers a challenge to get a result I like from. Usually cooked before there is a real smoke flavour in the fish. If using one I try to cut the heat back once the wood chips are smoking well and extend the cooking time at the lower heat. Would also put a tinfoil layer under the fish folded up into dish shape that drained the fluids away into a cold corner of the box rather than having them drip into the smoldering wood chips. All those details help. I always though the worst of the bitterness came from the sugar/salt/oils burning as they dripped off the fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2019 at 11:05pm
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I have just started playing with smoking.
I have a portable stainless smoker, that I have fitted a cold smoke burner thingy to. I can cold smoke with it, or put it over the BBQ grill, the smoke production is separate to the heat source. It seems to work ok, I can cold smoke for a bit, then up the heat.
Experimenting with recipes, and I might try some different woods.
Unfortunately my supply of fish is limited...
Must fix that...
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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