Tropical woods for smoking?

Tropical woods for smoking?

Postby tristar » Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:52 pm

Hi Everybody,

I have been lurking in the background for some months reading all the posts and have just recently tried hot smoking with a Kettle Grill, If I say so myself the results were superb, but were somewhat costly! You see I live in Indonesia and had to buy imported Hickory and Mesquite wood chips for the smoke! I would love to try some of the tropical fruit woods, to give my food a local flavour and was planning to use some mango wood, until I found quite by accident that the smoke from mango wood is apparently very toxic! I understood from all the information I had read on the web that any fruitwood was suitable, but this appears not to be the case! Do we have anybody with experience of the tropical woods who could point me in the right direction, I could easily get wood from the following trees: rambutan, water apple, avocado, star fruit, citrus, etc. but would like some advice to avoid possible poisoning!!!!! :P

I guess I could always test it on my mother in law :twisted:

Best Regards,

Richard
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Postby sausagemaker » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:49 pm

Hi Tristar

Welcome to the forum, please see link below I found on the internet, it may point you in the right direction

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Postby tristar » Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:24 am

Hi Sausagemaker,

Thanks for replying to my question, but I can't seem to find the link?


Regards,
Richard
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Postby sausagemaker » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:43 am

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Postby tristar » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:11 pm

Hi Sausagemaker,

Many thanks for the links, two of them were new to me and well worth knowing. :)

After some further research of my own on the web, it would appear that literally any wood smoke can be potentially toxic! But as our grandparents and their parents before them have been using woodsmoke for centuries to preserve and flavour their food, I cannot submit myself to the dictates of the 'Nanny State' and will forge ahead on the road of discovery and experimentation to find new taste experiences and dining pleasures, which for some reason our own and the previous generation have discarded, but which our grandparents and those before them considered everyday fare. The joy to be obtained from producing real food in the home and sharing that pleasure with ones family certainly cannot be beaten, especially if it means forsaking the 'pleasures' of mechanically recovered protein, manmade chemical preservatives and flavourings, and the blandness which is produced in the name of profit by the large multinational conglomerates which control the worlds food industries.

:oops: Sorry that came out sounding like a 'Rant' didn't it? didn't mean to!

Thanks again for your links!

Best Regards,
Richard
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Postby Epicurohn » Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:48 pm

Hi Richard,

I live in the tropics also and had to import my first batch of Hickory and Mesquite chips. I have access to locally logged oak which is a staple here for making charcoal but after speaking with local cooks of popular grill houses they told me the wood of choice for them was Nance. Nance is a tropical hardwood from a fruit tree. The fruit looks exactly like a cherry but smaller (about 1 cm. in diameter) and colored bright yellow. The taste of smoked meats withNance has much more depth than Hickory but it's not fruity. My mother-in-law is the daughter of a Kielbase producer in the USA and she claims my Kielbasa smk=oked with Nance is better than her father's smoked with Applewood.

David
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Postby tristar » Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:19 am

Hello David,

We would appear to have a local tree which would be very similar, the fruits are as you described, but seldom get to the yellow stage as most of them dissapear before attaining ripeness due to the local kids who just love them! I don't know the proper name for the tree but it is locally know as 'Ceri'. Maybe I should just experiment on small quantities of food with all the different woods available.

Presently I am in Gabon, Central Africa and yesterday was talking to some Australians here on a remote location in the Jungle, they have just recently built a barrel smoker and basicaly they throw any dead wood they can find on the thing and have as yet suffered no serious consequences!

Maybe a suitable method of testing is to burn a small quantity of wood and if the smoke is pleasantly aromatic and not acrid it would be worth trying? Not very scientific I know, but without toxicity testing equipment it may be a viable alternative?

Anyway thanks for your reply which has been helpful, I will, when I get back to Indonesia let you know how I get on.

Regards,
Richard
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Postby Epicurohn » Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:03 pm

Cut 1"-4" branches and let them dry for a couole of weeks. Chop the branches into chips or chuncks and put them in top of a charcoal lit BBQ. Check the smoke for acridity and after a couple of hours smell the cover of the BBQ. It should smell nice. I made my smoker out of a Weber 22" kettle grill which I modified to be able to cold smoke. Every time I walk past it I get hungry. It reeks with a delicious smoky flavor.

David
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Postby tristar » Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:24 am

Hello David,

Thanks for the advice, I will be giving it a try!

Just out of interest, what modifications did you carry out to your 22 1/2" Weber Kettle, did you just make an extension ring to be placed onto the bottom section or was it more complicated than that? Do you use a seperate smoke box? I would love to know as I am planning mods for mine. I would love a full size smoker but being a little restricted for space need to experiment first with what I have until I can justify to my beloved the construction of a larger unit, if in fact it is necessary!

Regards,
Richard
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Postby Hobbitfeet » Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:23 pm

On Jamaica, the famous jerked meats are smoked/bbqed over pimento (allspice) wood.

The pimento tree, Pimenta dioica, formerly officinalis, Lindl., belongs to the family Myrtaceae and is closely related to the Bay Tree and to Cloves. It is an evergreen tree, medium in size and in favourable locations will attain heights of from 6 to 15 m.

It should be growing in Honduras but I don't know about other parts of the world.
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Postby tristar » Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:27 am

Hi Hobbitfeet,

Thanks for that information, leading on from your post I googled the word 'Myrtaceae' and have found that the 'Water Apple' tree is from the same family, I luckily have to prune one of them in my front garden when I get home, so I will be preparing and storing some of the wood for use later!

Regards,
Richard
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Postby Hobbitfeet » Sun Jan 01, 2006 11:36 am

Glad to be of help. I've never heard of a Water Apple. Does it have fruit? Does it have any scent?
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Postby tristar » Sun Jan 01, 2006 2:46 pm

Hi Hobbitfeet,

In the west the Water Apple is also know as the Rose Apple, it's local name is Jambu, with the most common being called Jabu Air, meaning water jambu. It doesn't really have much flavour, just a slight sweetness when eaten and it has a slightly sweet aroma also, however the flowers have no scent that I have been aware of.

The Indonesians most commonly eat Jambu Air as part of a tart fruit salad called Rujak, which is a collection of slices of different fruits, such as Sour Mango, Jambu, Pineapple, unripe Papaya, and a small cucumber called Timun, these all being sliced thinly in bite sized pieces and eaten together with either a sauce made from palm sugar, hot red chillies and belachan (fermented shrimp paste) or just with ground fresh red chillies and salt.

Image
Rujak

Picking and dipping as they proceed through a communal bowl of fruit, you will often find the ladies of the neighbourhood eating this as an afternoon snack all sitting around one neighbours porch or doorstep sharing all of the latest gossip.


Here is a link to a description of the fruit and tree:

http://www.dnull.com/jambu-air/

Regards,

Richard
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Postby Hobbitfeet » Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:18 pm

I know this fruit! In Jamaica it is known as an otaheiti apple or an etioti apple (SP?) and tends to be eaten by children as the flavour doesn't interest adults so much. It should do a good job as a smoking wood. Good luck with it.
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Postby Epicurohn » Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:16 am

Hi Richard,

Sorry I neglected the thread. I'm really proud of my modified Weber. As you said I just had a 24" extension made (kind of like the shape of an union adaptor for PVC piping). It should fit snugly between the bottom and the cover to reduce smoke and heat leakage. The metalworker made a 20" X 20" door on the side to add charcoal or wood chunks. I put a thermometer probe through the vent on the cover. The extension rests on the original grate supports. I also made a 14" wire ring out of �" rebar to support the drip pan at the same elevation as the original food grate. I've smoked 20# of sausages hanging from the food grate 34" above the heat source (did I mention I can use coals or electric). I think I can also smoke another 20# of cured meats on top of the food grate, plus the hanging sausages.

No need for a separate smoke box. My wife complained about how ugly the contraption looked and if I was going to buy a new grill for BBQ's. When she tasted my first Pastrami she shut up.

I can still use the grill as it was originally intended, so I don't think your significant other won't mind the alterations. As to cost, I spent $20.00 in materials and $15.00 in labor.

David
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