WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Smoker


On this journey of finding food for Abby,which lead to learning how to make food for Abby I have had to learn A LOT. From dehydrating chicken broth, to canning to even weird things(weird for us!)like chickpea nofu, I have certainly learned a lot.


As the months go by I have also cleaned up not just Abby's diet but everyone's diet in my home.


Derek loves preserved and cured meats. Bacon, corned beef, pastrami, sausage.. and if you ever read the label on most of those, you will find quickly that they are packed with all sorts of nasty chemicals we should NEVER feed our families.


So, next on the list was learning to make it.


Abby, cannot handle pork,beef, most ferments. Smoking is a huge question for us. If I use safe wood to smoke non-meat foods there is a chance she will tolerate it. She does pretty well with the smoked fake nofu pepperoni.. So I am thinking in moderation some smoked items may add some great flavor.. A smoked yellow pepper? Don't knock it, I found out they are delicious! They make amazing relishes and sauces and the flavor they pack can make the most boring salad into something special. We have tried homemade chicken sausage for Abby already, we think the hog casing caused a reaction.. she has gotten very sensitive to any pork these days.. If I can find some lamb casings I may try those with her before I rule out sausage completely. We tried some lamb a couple weeks ago, and though it was not a clear fail, it did not sit well either. On the other hand my effort to find sausage for her led us to realize we can make our own quite easily for the rest of us, and we all benefit once again from eating a cleaner real food diet.


But, in order to smoke food, you have to have a smoker.


I am beyond frugal, I have had to be with years of medical bills. At this point, even when I have a few extra dollars I hate to spend them, if I can do it cheaper even if it means more work, I usually do. Derek and I just love doing these type of projects together. We like to know how things work, and the best way to figure something out is to make it yourself.

Cold Smoker:

Free file cabinet

thrift store electric burner

High temp primer and paint

Assortment of steel hooks and bolts( we always seem to have an abundance of screws,hooks and bolts laying around from past projects)

First, pressure wash, prime and paint.

Second, remove top drawer. Careful pry the face off the drawer and hinge it back on to use as door. We ended up using a piece of wood to give the screws something to grab- just a scrap out of the garage from a previous project.

Then drill a hole in the back of the bottom drawer and through the back of the file cabinet, make it big enough to run the electric cord from the burner through the holes.

Lastly install your hooks- I added four somewhat centered. I have grill baskets I can hang, or you can hang the sausage directly, or tie what you want smoked with kitchen string and hang it directly from the hooks.

For drippy things I use throw away tin pans that I rest on the drawer runners left from removing the top drawer-

Done. Add a temp gauge if you want, but it was unnecessary, even in the Texas sun it never goes over 150-175.

We also added damper's to the back, admittedly the extra touches of stainless look "cool" but totally unnecessary since this is a cold smoker and has plenty of air circulation because of the way that the cabinet is built.

Smoke everything. Try fruit woods, pecan, mesquite, hickory.. it makes everything taste better! There are endless blogs and websites devoted to smoking and curing meats and I suggest reading a few. Especially with meat, there are concerns about food safety and most of the blogs provide some great food safety guidelines to live by.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

how about potato casings....I have seen them...will look for the link. I know that the Scandies used them a lot. I remember eating them and was surprised to hear that they were made of taters!!!
Also there is one called a collegan that is non edible...so it is just peeled off.
http://www.sausagemaker.com/casingsandaccessories.aspx
these folks have lots of info and you could call and talk to them bout ingredients and where to get the kind you need.

Diane said...

TY for the link. I did check a few of the collagen and the non- eatable casings- they were tainted with corn during processing and production. But, I only checked with a few different brands- I should look again.

Going to google and see if I can find a potato casing or something similar.. I thought about searching vegan, but the vast majority of vegan products are corn contaminated, so I have stopped looking at that for an option..

Just when I was about to give up hope! :-) Sausage patties are great, same thing- but they just aren't the same ! :-) I would love to have safe weenies for her.

I will keep hunting!

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