Weekend Smoke with Apple and Pear Woods November 17 2014

Hi Folks!

I broke out my smoker a week or so back and got busy! I batched out salmon, baby-back ribs, a whole chicken and a variety of sausage, including some authentic Kielbasa from back east. I did my usual low and slow method, made easier by the fall weather that has come into it's own the last few weeks. I was originally shooting for a Saturday smoke with friends and family, but wind conditions made it impossible. So, >when the wind changed direction favorably on Sunday, I invited everyone, but only my Dad was able to attend. We ate well!

My temp range for the cook was ~170 deg F, +/-10 deg F. I brought the temp up to 190 to finish the ribs and chicken at the end. I used our offered Pear and Apple smoking woods in my 2 door vertical gas smoker as shown here going full tilt. I started with Apple wood, and added fresh chucks of Pear wood every time I added sausages. When I did the salmon I used just Apple wood, as it gives me the best results with my rub and technique.

Loaded Smoker

I loaded up the ribs and chicken to launch, and as soon as the temp stabilized where I wanted it, I added in the first sausages, 2 packs of breakfast links from Costco. Here's how those turned out:

Freshly smoked breakfast links

After about an hour to an hour fifteen, I pulled the sausages and swapped in my salmon. The salmon was soaked in brine for 36 hours, then rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and sprinkled with rub. I prepped the fillets first thing in the morning so they had time to set up before smoking. I personally think they turned out beautifully. Here are some pics of the salmon prepped and after smoking:

Brined and seasoned Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic Salmon fresh off the smoker More Atlantic Salmon fresh off the smoker

Next up on the spare rack were the Polish Kielbasa from Ohio that a friend of my Dad's picked up for him on a trip through the Midwest last summer. He has a stash of this authentic, top-quality sausage in his freezer now that he breaks out for events. Thanks for sharing Dad!

Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic of those when they finished, but I do have a pic that includes them from dinner at our weekly meeting a couple of days later down below. Somehow I forgot to gets pictures of the chicken before it was demolished. Next time!

About 6 hours in I foiled my ribs and put them back in to finish. I stopped smoking at this point, and let the last of the Apple and Pear wood chunks burn out for the benefit of the chicken. I pushed the temp up to 180-190 deg F for the next 1.5-2 hours, then pulled the ribs and chicken and shut everything down for the night. It was a long smoke with lots of good food, total run time was 11:30 in the morning to 8:45 at night. The finished ribs looked like this:

Baby Back Ribs, ready to eat!

I brought a rack of ribs, section of salmon fillet and the last two kielbasa to our weekly meeting night and we had a great meal together along with the fried potatoes supplied by Rich. We frequently have events like this where we share the results of our smoking activity, assuming we aren't grilling and/or smoking right at the shop! Did we mention we love smoked food? Here is a pic of some of the spread:

Smoked Salmon, Baby Back Ribs, and Polish Keilbasa for dinner!

I've mentioned elsewhere that my low and slow technique using mild woods like Apple and Pear allow me to smoke the food consistently for hours without producing poor smoke flavors, while allowing incredible smoke penetration. Notice in the rib photos that there is almost no ring effect because of complete penetration by the smoke. This also gives me incredible storage time on my smoked foods when properly refrigerated. Considering the amount of food I smoke in a given batch, this is a very helpful effect.

Everyone raves about my salmon, it was the first food I mastered on my smoker in a quest to supply my SO with one of her favorite foods. I'll post in the future with the details of my salmon smoking method for those who would like to try it for themselves.

Happy Smoking!

Bob C.