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Smoking woods.. not manuka

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    Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 10:29am
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Titanium
Titanium


Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Location: Sth Auckland
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Points: 8602
I have commented several times about dropping manuka as a smoking wood and going to just about anything else. Due to an underlying bitter taste that is usually picked up by the ladies.

I went this way on advice some yrs ago by a retired craft smoker guy.. who as he put it, added a little manuka just because of the marketing propaganda in NZ.. but now only does private craft stuff on small scale doesnt use at all.. including pohutkawa... and hickory (mildest bitter of the 3)

So after a lot of experimenting, of apple grape fejoa persimmon cherry, locquat , peach few others. (putting pruned branches thu a large chipper.
 Have found this.
  Very important Remove the bark..And wounder if it is the bark of manuka rather than the wood that is bitter (open on that for now)

 My go to is apple chips 10% (easy to by) and fejoia (tree grows like a weed).
 Now that I dont have the big chipper but fejoia 'logs' 2 to 4" diameter been looking at using lumps of these instead.
 They have been chopped into 250/300mm lengths and thrown into a loose pile in a dry ventilated wood shed for approx 12 months.
Now to get the bark off..
trim with hatchet.. moved onto machete, then the bandsaw, then the bench grinder, then the wire wheel. The wire wheel worked best, 1st go vertically then across the grain is easiest and fastest.

Then split the pieces.. some easy with hatchet but long run did on the band saw, espec the joins where branches went off.

Then cut lengths into 75 to 100 mm chunks.

I use an old round cake tin (paint burnt off 1st) with 1/8" holes drilled in the bottom and lid (dont bother with lid just sit on crooked, cause after burning the paint off it will not fit anyway.)
 over the lpg burner flame so low a slight wind will blow it out.
I was wondering how the chunks would burn.
 So laid flat side down in bottom of the tin. Then laid (as usual) 3 to 5 good handfuls of pre mixed chips  very quickly wetted out and drained, up around the sides. And 2 hand fulls dry in the middle cone formed.
 This gives (without the chunks) a good 5 to 6hrs.
Anyway the result of the chunks being used , has meant more smoke, constantly with better control over a little longer time.

The basic apple fejoa mix is what we now use for everything from fish, selfish, pastrami, bacons veggies, everything.
 If a little cheery , peach or other similar woods come available blend those in to make the apple fejoa woods last longer.

 Anyway thought some may find this of interest or worth experimenting further with also.

Smoker is a basic elcheapo red shed modded to 5 shelf, custom wire shelves (so muscles dont fall thru) lpg cabinet type with adjustable lpg regular so be able to turn the flame down to very low. Inside the shed, vented thru under the eaves, draft 'sheilds' around the base so the flame doesnt blow out.
 Can hold a 21 kg kingie plus a little more, filleted and cut into suitable chunks




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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote waynorth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 1:56pm
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Location: Kerikeri
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The black sooty mold often found on manuka is definitely a no-no. Fortunately, manuka bark is pretty easy to peel off. Kanuka is a very different wood, and doesn't seem to have the same issue with mold. Their popularity as smoking woods probably has more to do with their ready availability throughout the country than anything.

I have a old book on smoking that claims oak, citrus, and hickory as being suitable for meat but too bitter for fish. 2 that are recommended are bay tree wood and mangrove. Gorse is supposed to be pretty good too.

There was a thread on here years ago that might also be worth a read. 

treat fish like fish
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 4:25pm
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Titanium
Titanium


Joined: 10 Sep 2010
Location: The Dawn
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Try removing the bark while green.

Or age the wood for a few years.

Easier to cut the wood green, slightly.

Cut into chip size lengths.

I then process through three different chippers to get the grade I'm looking for.

Which is now quite fine to go through my mechanical feeder.

Yes the bark is the mainstay of bitterness.

But today there are a large number of pre graded types of smoking wood.

I do take advantage of these.

But as you will know there only so many types available so sourcing your own is a great way to supplement your stock.
Just cruising in my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 10:37am
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Titanium
Titanium


Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Location: Sth Auckland
Status: Offline
Points: 8602
Hickory.. messed with that.. my conclusion is hickory is the nth American ' manuka' not quite as bitter.. but bitter.
Maple is nice.. think since the surip comes from the truck saps, not flowers etc
As to expectation a apple or fejoia , whatever, flavour from these woods.. nope doesnt flavour to the fruit.
 Wine, rum whiskey either woods soaked .. nope havnt found makes any difference. Most the flavours will burn well before evaporate due to the very high temps of the wood charcoaling under a limited amount of oxygen

 I think a must for taste, is not to depend on your own taste.. it is to easy to have it influenced by your own knowledge of what you have used / added.
 And to ask the right questions.
"do you like it?" is very much the wrong question.
 Rather, ignore if they like it or not.. politeness etc messes that one up.
Ask "what would make it better?
 It is then they think about the flavours/ textures.. sweetness, bitter, back flavour, after tastes, salty, and moist,  leathery over cooked , dry etc.

Did up my 1st west coast muscles (a little bigger than supermarket ones) earlier in the week (low tides) 4 1/2 hrs.. on the racks , not in shells..lips facing down to drain off well..
Comments, nice, very nice, not leathery, and sweet chilli just right..and found hard to believe they had 4 1/2 hrs.

Kanuka is a very different wood,
 yeah found out accidentally back in the early days...it was very bitter. worked ok on a few guys after a lot beers

I then process through three different chippers to get the grade I'm looking for.

 
Found the best was a one of those approx $1200 miter 10 types chippers,, washed out well, throw a few branches thru to 'flush' anything else out.. then the bark stripped branches
 Then they are laid out on large tarps for 5 or 6 days in summer to dry. If not dried enough you will get mold, ever so important. Once dried a good supply will last 3 or 4 yrs in supermarket bags

 Since down to 3 or 4 bags now , hence why playing with chunks  and chips around them.

Citrus.. tried that couple times but didnt smolder well, hard to work with.

Also found its the heart wood thats good/ , a little light wood on the outside ok, which is why we use 3"/4" diameter branches , not new wood. new woods (small diameter branches) also give a slight more background bitter.

Another huge no no, not mentioned.
 Alway inspect your remaining charcoal after a smoke ...that you have NO ash...this means your oxygen supply to the wood is too high.
Ash is bitterness and an off flavour.

ie as the vent holes in the bottom of my cake tin corrode larger.. more air, I then place an old skill saw blade under it.
Not many round good diameter/ height cake tins left around 2nd hand an op shops these days. grab spares when see them.

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