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htc 05-13-2005 08:03 PM

Electric Smoker - Help Please
Hi, I just borrowed my Dad's Totem Food Smoker and it didn't have a manual in the box. Can anyone help me? It's a metal box that has 3 grates and 1 tray in it. On the bottom is the electric element. I don't see that it has an on/off button.

I'm assuming I just plug it in and use it.

Can I use this smoker to do ribs, chicken, brisket, etc? I will try to post a picture of the smoker later.

Thanks a lot!!

lutzzz 05-14-2005 11:42 PM

Preheat the smoker for 15 minuets. Load the meat onto the racks. Place the loaded racks into your smoker trying to keep the thicker chunks on the lowest shelf.

Fill the small round chip pan with any flavor wood chip and place the full pan inside the smoker, directly on the element. Generally one full pan of chips will produce smoke for about one hour. It should be refilled after several hours, or as often as you like.

Keep the smoker plugged in for the length of time you prefer, but a general guide is to keep thick chunks of food (1" or more), for 8 to 12 hours while chunks under 1" should be ready in 6 to 8 hours.

Bear in mind that your smoker is probably only going to reach an internal temp of about 160 degrees,, so it's a SMOKER, not a "BBQ"er... so don't expect it to tenderize anything by long/slow smoking... it's going to cook and add smokey flavor PERIOD.

Great for tender foods, fish (especially salmon *yumm*), chicken, sausages, etc. you get the drift. I'd stay away from ribs and pork butt and stuff like that 'cause I don't think you can get them tender no matter how long you smoke them.. not enough heat.... but I'd use a thermometer,, if the internal temp of your smoker gets up to 200 degrees F or so, you'd be okay doing ribs & butts and maybe brisket too (might take forever though) .. 'cause you will need to get your meat to an internal food temp of perhaps 185-195, and even perhaps 200 for some briskets... to tenderize them...

That totally exhausts my limited knowledge of those small electric smokers.. good luck :rolleyes:

htc 05-15-2005 10:22 AM

Lutzz, thanks for all of your help!

I wonder if I can boil the ribs and then put them in the smoker for flavor (?) Also, w/ regards to the pan with the chips, I put it directly on the element? I see a slot for the pan (I think). It has 4 slots total.

When I refill the chips every hour or so, do I toss out the old stuff? Or just add to it? Is there a general guideline I should use of how full of chips to make the tray?

kitchenelf 05-15-2005 04:51 PM

Don't forget to soak your Hickory chunks (not chips) or whatever you are using and put them AROUND the electric element on the bottom. About 7 or 8 nice chunks will be plenty. I fill my drip pan/bowl with apple cider instead of water. I always used the theory of "heat rises" and put my thicker cuts on the upper rack. Mine, you plug in and then there is a knob on the part that plugs into the smoker that you turn to the correct temperature.

????Am I fooling myself with that theory? :mellow:
You can boil your ribs but there's no need to IMHO.

kitchenelf 05-15-2005 04:57 PM

I found a picture of the Totem electric food smoker - quite different from the one I use so I don't know if my suggestions are valid for yours. My smoker has a couple grates, one on top of the other one instead of the shelves. On the bottom is the coil, on top of that sits the water bowl, then the grates above. My instructions say put wood chunks around the coils. I prefer chunks over the chips - don't have to add anymore unless you are going to smoke something for 18 hours or so. Then I'm still not sure I would add anymore as the flavor from the wood chunks has still permeated the food. I did make a pork butt too smokey one time by replacing the chunks about halfway through cooking - it wasn't good.

htc 05-15-2005 10:28 PM

Thanks for the post Elf! I went and bought chips today. I will try with chunks next time. I didn't get to try it though, it's raining a lot where I am!Do your ribs actually turn out pretty good. I got nervous that it would be smoky flavored but tough. :ermm:

kitchenelf 05-16-2005 01:09 AM

Ribs - low and slow. Just don't add too many chips. I have a friend that indirectly cooks them (she calls it smoking but she uses no wood but her pork shoulder or pork butt has a WONDERFUL smoke ring every time). I guess what I was trying to say is it doesn't take a lot of chips/chunks. I think you will find the chunks give it a much better flavor and not near as much labor required as the chips.

Raine 05-16-2005 08:44 AM

Smoke rings can be created chemically.

htc 05-16-2005 06:08 PM

RAinee, how are they created chemically? I don't get it...

AllenOK 05-16-2005 08:55 PM

A "smoke ring" is created by a chemical reaction between the protein in meat and nitrates in the smoke. You can chemically create a false smoke ring by adding some kind of nitrate to your dry rub. Sodium Nitrate (saltpeter) is probably the most commonly used. I have no idea how much would be required.

Raine 05-16-2005 09:09 PM

Tender Quick is another popular salt product.

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