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Fish smoker

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Fish smoker
I could use some help in choosing a new smoker before I start pulling in boatloads o fish. My family doesn't eat fish much but they do like them smoked. Any brands, styles or particular models you like or don't?

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"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
You can go expensive or more reasonable in price for one, myself, I use a little chief. I now have two and they both use an electric element for heat.
Here is a link to the ones Walmart sells:
https://www.walmart.com/...mp;wl13=&veh=sem


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(This post was edited by wiperhunter2 on May 4, 2018, 6:36 AM)
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
There are lots of new smokers that have great temperature controls, automatic feed of pellets or blocks, etc. These are great for smoking ribs, chickens, turkeys or other large chunks of non-fish flesh. They are also good for hot smoking fish for shorter periods...good for trout, salmon, whitefish, etc.

I have a good temp-controlled smoker for the above. But for long slow smoking...with lots of smoky flavor and maximum moisture reduction...I stick with an old Little Chief smoker I have had for at least 30 years. And I had another one for many years before that. The only heat it generates is from the burning sawdust, chips or pellets. Almost impossible to get the temp over about 180...and usually averages lower. Just right for long slow smoking with lots of smoky flavor. I couldn't do my fave "smokitty" recipe without it.

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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
I had a Little Chief for years and it gave me good results with some limitations. I found the Little Chief would not work well if the air temperature was below about 60 degrees even when I placed the box over the unit. The heating element just wasn't big enough to produce sufficient heat if the conditions weren't favorable.

I bought a Masterbuilt electric model with the digital temperature control a few years ago and I've been very pleased with the performance. I find I can use it even when it's cold and breezy out on my deck. I've smoked fish in the winter and I've watched the unit maintain it's temperature even in temps below freezing. The model I bought is about $249.00 list price but it's often on sale and I got mine for about $200.00 three years ago.

Cabelas and Sportsman's Warehouse both carry the Masterbuilt models and you can get it in an electric or propane unit. I suggest the electric just for ease of operation.

I hope this helps.

Mike


"Fish TopH2O and your skill will surface!"
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Re: [TopH2O] Fish smoker In reply to
TopH2O wrote:
I had a Little Chief for years and it gave me good results with some limitations. I found the Little Chief would not work well if the air temperature was below about 60 degrees even when I placed the box over the unit. The heating element just wasn't big enough to produce sufficient heat if the conditions weren't favorable.

I bought a Masterbuilt electric model with the digital temperature control a few years ago and I've been very pleased with the performance. I find I can use it even when it's cold and breezy out on my deck. I've smoked fish in the winter and I've watched the unit maintain it's temperature even in temps below freezing. The model I bought is about $249.00 list price but it's often on sale and I got mine for about $200.00 three years ago.

Cabelas and Sportsman's Warehouse both carry the Masterbuilt models and you can get it in an electric or propane unit. I suggest the electric just for ease of operation.

I hope this helps.

Mike

We have the same one and agree it works well for the price, plus Masterbuilt has a very active facebook page with tons of useful tips.
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
I don't care to much for trout to eat, but I do like to eat them smoked. I bought a gas smoker from Walmart years ago for $100, and its still smoking my fish today with no issues. It does a great job, for smoking. I have done deer jerky in it and it does a good job at that too. It all depends on what you want to spend on a smoker. I'm just cheap and went with one from Walmart. You have to order it online, but they will ship it to the store for free.





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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
I really love my masterbuilt digital smoker. They are more expensive than a Little Chief (I have one of those too) but not as much as some of the others out there. There are several things I like about the master built:
- You can get a cold smoke attachment for it. The little chief does heat the fish a bit. With the cold smoke attachment you can smoke with little to no heat.
- If you want to hot smoke you just turn the main smoker on and set the temp to whatever you want.
- The main smoker has a temperature probe that makes cooking a turkey or butt a breeze.
- No charcoal or anything to tend. Set the time and temp, load the cold smoke units tube with pellets and thats it. No worry about getting the temperature right it does it by itself.

- Master built units are insulated. They work great in cold weather.

Definitely get the cold smoke attachment if you get one which again can be used for both hot and cold smoking. The chip tray on the main unit does not give off enough smoke - it pretty much sucks.
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
I think you have to add some more info to your question. What kind of smoked fish are you wanting to make? The cold smoked is like the thin sliced salmon you have from Scotland called Lox by some almost the texture of raw fish. I can't help with this. The other type is smoked salmon cooked at 200 degrees or above for a short period of time. This is like a grilled smoke flavored salmon steak. The way I believe most recipes call for is (1)brining,(2) dry to form pellicle. (3)smoke at 150 to 160 degrees until it is the texture you like (4-6 hours usually), (4)check internal temp and if not above 160 add heat until internal reaches 160, done, store in refrigerator or freezer. I think Tubedudes answer is spot on. My Masterbuilt is great when I set the temp above 200 for brisket, ribs etc..If I set it to 150-160 no smoke so it does not work to do fish the way I like it. So I drag out the Little Chief I bought in 1978 preheat it, add Alder( my favorite for Trout or Salmon) smoke until the fish flakes how I like it. It seems like about 4 hours for small trout and as long as eight for King Salmon filets. I really go by how the fish feels and looks more than by time. I then check the internal temp and if it is below 160 I put it in a 200 degree oven until it hits 160.
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Re: [lifeshort] Fish smoker In reply to
You should read my post ^^^

Cold smoker kit for masterbuilt:

https://bit.ly/2IdMLdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X2agLg9O6Y
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
The best smoked salmon I ever had, bar none, came from Naknek, Alaska from native Alaskans. Smoker was a small to large wooden shed.

Salmon was cut in narrow strips with the skin on it. Salt was added to a bucket of water until a potato floated. Soaked for only 15 minutes in that brine. Hung on racks and cold smoked in the shed until the flesh was clear like rock candy. Essentially the smoke is there to keep the flies away and give it a mild smoky flavor.

This salmon like this is so tasty and will last for months and months in a paper bag as long as it stays dry. Dried salmon candy is what it is.

Anyhow, that isn't what you where asking for, I know, but man that brings back the best memories. When I was a captain on the salmon tender there I had a lot of native fisherman friends. When I gave them some of my smoked salmon (super tasty) they would often bring me smoked seal, caribou, salmon, and even walrus. I was offered raw beluga once. My favorite by far was the salmon candy.

Good memories..... ahhhh.
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Re: [wall3y3] Fish smoker In reply to
I did and agree with everything in it. Did I say something wrong in my post?
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Re: [lifeshort] Fish smoker In reply to
Oh no I was just trying to relay some info. You mentioned the problem of lack of smoke below 180. Personally I don't think it puts out enough smoke on its own at any temperature. My post presents the solution to that problem.
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Re: [wall3y3] Fish smoker In reply to
Thanks for the link it looks like a good solution to the problem.
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Re: [lifeshort] Fish smoker In reply to
Thanks to all who have replied so far. I purposely left it kind of open so I could get as many points of view as possible. My old Little Chief is gathering dust (and leaves and cobwebs) in the garage. I think my grandfather had it a long time then gave it to me in the sixties or seventies. Last time I tried it the handle on the pan bent like cardboard and the element didn't put out enough heat to make any amount of smoke. But I loved using it to make the pretty-dry, very-smoky stuff. Does anyone know if you can get those replacement parts? I also have a freezer full of elk meat all sliced thin to make into jerky. Which type would do that best?

~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~~ }<(((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>
~~~}<(((((((((°< ><=;> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }<((((°>

"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
The Little Chief is my choice for dry/smoky stuff. Also good for making jerky if you prep the meat right and only use smoke part of the time. It maintains a good temp.

The Little Chief is made by Luhr Jensen. They have a list of replacement parts ON THEIR WEBSITE

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Re: [TubeDude] Fish smoker In reply to
Another vote for Master Built digital. You can also get them at Home Depot. I also have a Traeger that works okay, but not near as good as the Master Built. I also have a little chief... it is the low on my favorites. I'd rate them Master Built no.1, Traeger No. 2 and Little chief 3rd.
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
Checkout the BBQ Pitstop. The original is in Lehi just south of the Cabelas exit. A new one opened up in Layton east of Hill AFB on SR 193. They have some more elaborate pricey smokers and can guide you also in in what type of smokers available. They also have classes you can sign up for to learn smoking techniques. This is a little more beyond of what your looking into.



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Re: [Bduck] Fish smoker In reply to

I started out with the Little Chief many years ago. When the heating element died, I bought a Big Chief and used it for about 5 years. Doing some research on smoked meats and fish, I stumbled across the Bradley Smoker website and their forums. WOW!

Loaded with absolute tons or useful information for everybody from novice all the way to expert. I still visit those forums several times a year. Any who, based on what I found out from that research, I bought my first Bradley Smoker – a 4-rack manual model in black. I used it for about 4 years and decided it might be easier to control temps with a digital model, so I upgraded to their 4-rack digital model, again in black. Bought it on sale (of course) from Cabela’s. That was 6 years ago and I still have and use it.

About 4 years ago, one of the Bradley forum threads mentioned a PID attachment that the author used for exact temp and time control available with the PDI device and that the PID device is programmable to allow all kinds of control of the smoker. A PID device is a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller. Here is a link to a definition if you’re that curious. PID Controller

I found out that the PID device being used was a unit made specifically to work with a Bradley smoker by Auber Instruments. I bought a Dual-Probe PID Controller for my Bradley Smoker, Model: WSD-1200GPH. A link to that model is: WSD-1200GPH. The second probe is to monitor internal meat temps and is very useful when smoking roasts and whole birds; not so much with fish fillets. Today’s cost for it is $170 direct from Auber Instruments. The temp variance with the Auber is plus or minus one degree. The variance of the digital Bradley without the Auber was plus or minus 20 degrees.

And since the PID device replaces the Bradley temp controls, I wasted money by buying the digital model. Lesson learned. If you want to add the Auber PID Controller (highly recommended by yours truly), do not pay extra for digital controls on your smoker because the PID Controller replaces them.

If you have your heart set on a Masterbuilt smoker, they have a PID for that as well: Model WSD-1501GPH at $213. If you are real serious about getting into smoking meats and fish, and regardless of which smoker you buy, do yourself a huge favor – buy a PID Controller form Auber to go along with the smoker. You will not be disappointed – promise.
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
Little chief is all I use!
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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
I've used many different smokers. I started with a Little Chief, but if your smoker is outside, like mine is, if there is any wind or if it is cold, then they simply aren't warm enough to smoke. You'd have to add a cover, etc. About 10 years ago I tried a Camp Chef (made right here in Logan, UT) Smoke Vault 18. It is far and away worth every single cent. Its powered by propane which is really nice since you don't need electricity. The temp is easy to control and is large enough to do whole turkeys, prime ribs, etc. I smoke a LOT of fish, especially at this time of year. Here is a link to Camp Chef. The price they list is the retail price and you can definitely get these cheaper at most stores.
https://www.campchef.com/.../smoke-vault-18.html
Finally, if you want some tips I put together in a video, you can visit the Youtube channel. I have a link for my tutorial here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBTptFyfe3c
Good luck, but you can't go wrong with the Smoke Vault by Camp Chef.
***BearLakeFishGuy***


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Re: [catchinon] Fish smoker In reply to
Craig,
I use a Masterbuilt as well... I love being able to set it at night and wake up to smoked fish ready to go, no fussing necessary... May not be the best, but turns out pretty dang good and is easy as can be to do it... I like mine... but you do have to learn a few of it's little quirks, like the heating element won't start to heat if it's too cold so I have to fake it into thinking it's warmer by touching the temperature sensor until it warms enough to stay on... Only an issue in the cold of winter.... Then the summer it doesn't smoke well at lower temp settings, so I crank up the heat and turn down the time duration, but all these things can be worked around as you learn your machine... Later J