Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby Headbutchersouthwest » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:59 pm


Been reading up on different ways to cold smoke & the smouldering times of dry or slightly damp sawdust !

Firstly I've always been told to cold smoke with only dry dust but to limit air flow so that the dust smoulders slowly! But I've seen multi able articles in well known books & sites saying spray the dust with water to dampen the dust so it smoulders slowly & giving a long smoke ,but this method is only used with some sort of heat source.

So what's the verdict here ? Dry dust or dampen the dust ...?
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby NCPaul » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:03 pm

Dry dust is what I use.
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby wheels » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:09 pm

Dry dust. To my mind all you produce with wet/damp dust is steam! But, I use a ProQ CSG for small-scale cold-smoking rather than the traditional 'pile of sawdust on the floor' used by the few remaining traditional commercial guys.

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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby Headbutchersouthwest » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:15 pm

I'm using dry dust too , I normally pile the dust in a heap on my sawdust tray then use a blow torch to light it , but within approx 3 hours its burnt up . I've shut the exhaust flue to 80% closed to limit air flow but it still burns too quick .
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby saucisson » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:25 pm

The proQ CSG smokers a lot of us small scale guys use tend to go out if the dust is at all damp, so it's another vote for dry here. Can you try a test run?
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby vagreys » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:39 pm

Headbutchersouthwest wrote:Been reading up on different ways to cold smoke & the smouldering times of dry or slightly damp sawdust ...well known books & sites saying spray the dust with water to dampen the dust so it smoulders slowly & giving a long smoke ,but this method is only used with some sort of heat source.


Emphasis added. This is key, and it doesn't really matter whether one is talking about small-scale or larger smokehouses - the nature of the heat source is fundamental to the answer. Sawdust in a pan over an electric hotplate element is very different from a CSG or straw and sawdust on the floor or a trough with green hickory smoldering away. It really comes down to soot control, doesn't it? Dry or dampened depends on the method and nature of smoke production. Dry is absolutely necessary for a CSG maze-type smoke generator, but dry makes for more soot on the meat if burned in a pan over an electric burner. Dampened sawdust in a pan over a burner produces a negligible amount of steam while reducing soot production in that method of smoke generation, but would fail to burn in a maze-type smoke generator. That's why smoking is at least as much art as science.
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby crustyo44 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:49 am

In my 45 years of hobby smoking I have never ever dampened the sawdust or chips.. In my 1st and smaller smoker now I use a stainless tray 5"x5"x20"long, bottom halve with chips, top half filled with dry sawdust.
I control the burning rate/smoke production with an aquarium air pump with 3 speeds for obvious reasons.
The full tray will last approx. 18 hours with cold smoking, about 8-9 hours with hot smoking.
To stop soot, I have the air intake fully open and the chimney damper approx. 1/4 to 1/3 open.
My large smoker has an external venturi smoker made by Alec Upfold from New Zealand, this seems to work flawlessly every time, but again with dry dust or chips.
My 2 cents worth.
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby saucisson » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:54 pm

Very interesting and informative guys, thanks.
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby Headbutchersouthwest » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:54 pm

vagreys wrote:
Headbutchersouthwest wrote:Been reading up on different ways to cold smoke & the smouldering times of dry or slightly damp sawdust ...well known books & sites saying spray the dust with water to dampen the dust so it smoulders slowly & giving a long smoke ,but this method is only used with some sort of heat source.


Emphasis added. This is key, and it doesn't really matter whether one is talking about small-scale or larger smokehouses - the nature of the heat source is fundamental to the answer. Sawdust in a pan over an electric hotplate element is very different from a CSG or straw and sawdust on the floor or a trough with green hickory smoldering away. It really comes down to soot control, doesn't it? Dry or dampened depends on the method and nature of smoke production. Dry is absolutely necessary for a CSG maze-type smoke generator, but dry makes for more soot on the meat if burned in a pan over an electric burner. Dampened sawdust in a pan over a burner produces a negligible amount of steam while reducing soot production in that method of smoke generation, but would fail to burn in a maze-type smoke generator. That's why smoking is at least as much art as science.


That is very interesting , I've finally got my commercial sized smokers cold smoke box to stay smouldering for approx 12-16 hours using a larger A-MAZE type tray but custom made and is approx 30cm x 40cm x 5cm deep so that it holds more dust so I can smoke for longer , but my problem now is producing enough smoke to fill the meat chamber so that the smoke takes to the meat in the 12-16 hour smoke time!
At the moment if I hang approx 10 whole loins of pork cured as bacon in the chamber it would take 24-36hours to penetrate the meat for a deep smoke flavour & also go a nice golden coulor on the outside , so I'm now stuck for producing more smoke for shorter times 14-16 hours . :(
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby wheels » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:08 pm

Why do you need to do the whole smoke in 12 - 16 hours? Many people would smoke for '12 hours smoke/12 hours rest' for maybe 3 - 5 cycles using just a trickle of smoke.

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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby Headbutchersouthwest » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:38 pm

wheels wrote:Why do you need to do the whole smoke in 12 - 16 hours? Many people would smoke for '12 hours smoke/12 hours rest' for maybe 3 - 5 cycles using just a trickle of smoke.

HTH
Phil


Well im In no rush so timings are only based on what others have told me and shown me and the results are great . I know one charcuterie who can smoke bacon / duck breasts etc within 2 hours using an old commercial smoker that recycles the smoke it generates and the results are great . Another butchery that use to smoke my meat for me use to put it in the smoker at 5pm and at 7am the next day it was a lovely golden colour and smoked right thru and they are using a home made smoker that has a automatic turning screw that feeds course oak sawdust onto a hot plate .
I'm just trying to emulate what I've seen but it's just not working for me perhaps I'm missing something ..?
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby saucisson » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:07 pm

Despite my scientific background I have to admit that smoking is an art :D

Getting the balance between smoked and acrid can be difficult as can getting a nice colour. If I had to produce a consistent product day in and out I would probably top myself :)

But in fairness to myself I only smoke a few times a year so I haven't yet immersed myself enough to consider myself anything other than a beginner.
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby wheels » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:13 am

Well im In no rush so timings are only based on what others have told me and shown me and the results are great . I know one charcuterie who can smoke bacon / duck breasts etc within 2 hours using an old commercial smoker that recycles the smoke it generates and the results are great . Another butchery that use to smoke my meat for me use to put it in the smoker at 5pm and at 7am the next day it was a lovely golden colour and smoked right thru and they are using a home made smoker that has a automatic turning screw that feeds course oak sawdust onto a hot plate .
I'm just trying to emulate what I've seen but it's just not working for me perhaps I'm missing something ..?


In that case, why ask the question? The simple answer is to get those experts to smoke your products: that would make commercial sense.

We are talking about cold smoking here aren't we? That's what your original post said.

I suggest that you look to any source of information about 'traditional' cold smoking and you'll not see times of 2 hours, or even smoking for just one night. I've no doubt that commercial smokers can achieve this - Torry smokers etc, but that requires a considerable investment.

However, I know that brilliant products are made commercially using the method I suggested, and at little cost. I know that we have members here who use this method to produce 'high-end' products to sell.

Hopefully, one of them will come along soon to point you in the right direction.

At the end of the day, I guess it depends whether you're after quality or mediocrity!
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby BriCan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:14 am

I'm back :wink:

I think I will av a whiff at this :lol:
But what do I know
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Re: Dry sawdust or dampen the sawdust..?

Postby BriCan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:25 am

Headbutchersouthwest wrote:
Been reading up on different ways to cold smoke & the smouldering times of dry or slightly damp sawdust !

Firstly I've always been told to cold smoke with only dry dust but to limit air flow so that the dust smoulders slowly!


This is true ...

But I've seen multi able articles in well known books & sites saying spray the dust with water to dampen the dust so it smoulders slowly & giving a long smoke


also true ... but under the right conditions and is usually done by the commercial (small) smokers ...

but this method is only used with some sort of heat source.


I am almost sure you have got things mixed up or have been reading the wrong books ;)

So what's the verdict here ? Dry dust or dampen the dust ...?


As been stated ... dry :)
But what do I know
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