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Electric Smoke Problem Solved

This is how I think I might have solved the smoke problem with my electric smoker I was having.

I started off with an empty and clean 22 oz can. I soaked it in warm water for a bit to remove the label. Once the label was off, I took my cordless drill and drilled a bunch of pretty-good sized holes in the bottom of the can. The purpose of the holes in the bottom of the can is to allow for flames to reach the briquettes and for some of the ash to fall through as the briquettes burn.

Once I was pretty satisfied with the holes in the bottom of the can, I used an electric can opener to cut the bottom lose from the rest of the can. With the bottom removed, I used a hammer to flatten out the bottom of the can and the jagged edges caused from drilling the holes.

Once I had that all done, I drilled 3 small holes about 2-inches up from the end of the can and screwed in 3 small screws. The purpose for this was to raise the bottom of the mini-chimney up enough to get a small amount of paper in the bottom just like with my full-sized starter chimney. The screws support the bottom of the can that has all the holes drilled in it and when the paper is lit, the flames will be able to reach the briquettes and get them lit.

With the small screws in place (and basically I drilled the starter holes for the screws in a triangle pattern) all I had to do was drop the bottom of the can in place and the only thing left to do was to put a few briquettes in and see if or how well it would work.

As for if it worked, I am pleased to report that it did in fact work. My little mini-chimney handled up to about 6 briquettes and it took a little more paper than I had originally expected, but after a few small pieces, the briquettes were burning nicely. Once the bottom few briquettes had turned white, I put a pouch of wood chips made from heavy-duty aluminum foil and with several holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. As the wood chips heated up, there was smoke!

I used this contraption to smoke a couple of pounds of salmon that I promised my grand daughter as an appetizer for her birthday dinner we were having for her 14th birthday. Because she is the only one of us that likes fish, there was plenty left over that went to a friend of ours that loves smoked salmon. She was asked to give me her opinion of the salmon after she had had the opportunity to try it.

She reported back that the salmon had a much heavier smoke flavor to it compared to the batch I smoked over the summer for my grandson’s first birthday. She also reported that it tasted much better than the summer smoke and since this was an experiment (using the mini-chimney to try to generate more smoke), I should feel free to experiment all I wanted and send over the results to her.

So in a nut shell, I think I have solved the smoke problem with my electric smoker. Now all I have to do is survive the cold fronts that keep rolling through this area one after another so I can try my new mini-chimney smoking device on some ribs, brisket, chicken, pork shoulder and tender loin and see if this will produce enough smoke flavor that will suit me.

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