SFR: Big Chief Smoker help

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Flyborg, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    I inherited a Big Chief smoker this Spring, but it didn't come with instructions. I've guessed my way through it with several steelhead, but I have two chinook on brine and want to make sure I'm doing it right. Does anyone know how long a full batch should smoke for? How many pans of chips should I use?

    Also, Smokehouse doesn't recommend soaking the chips, but with past smokers I always smoked the chips and had good results. Anyone have any experience with this?

  2. Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

    Posts: 1,340
    boring, oregon
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    One to two pans of chips is all you need per load...........time, that's a question for sure.........depends on thickness, with or without skin, type and makeup of brine..............Just test a piece guess is 6 to 10 hours............outside temps also affect the process..............The one nookie was a really nice fish

  3. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +895 / 0
    soak the chips!
  4. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,837
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +716 / 0
    I like to run 4 to 6 pans of chips through the smoker - it seems that after about 4 pans the fish will not "take up" much more smoke flavor. I do n't soak my chips; particualrly in weather such as we are currently having - the humidity is enough of a problem (extending the time needed) without adding to it.

    As mentioned the length of time needed will depend on both the size of the pieces, the weather conditions (humidity and temperature and wind) and taste (how hard do you like it). For a fish like Chinook I lkke to cut the pieces across the fillet so that each piece is quite narrow (like a inch or 1.5 inches wide) and on really lare migth even split the fillet reducing the pieces thickness. I would start checking the fish to see if it is done after 5 or 6 hours though it probably take longer.

    If you run out of time or get tired of running the smoker of after 6 hours or so you can take the pieces and "finish" them in the oven. Just spread the pieces out on cookie sheets with pieces of similar thickness on each sheet. Place them in a 200 to 225 degree oven checking "doneness" every 20 minutes or so.

    Tight lines
  5. yellowlab Active Member

    Posts: 2,606
    In a van... down by the river, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 8
    Dont soak the chips. But you can mix chips to get a little different flavor. Apple - Hickory. Or Alder - CHerry... If you have the box that the BC came in, keep it~! I use it to keep the heat in, put it on upside down over the smoker and the temp will stabilize a bit better inside the unit. Smoking depends on how you like your fish, but a minimum of 4 hours, and I've gone to 8 hours with ok results. I've also done what Curt recommends about 'finishing' the smoke in your oven at home, but make sure to ok this with your significant other, as the whole house will smell like your product. Make sure your fish are completely cooled from the rack before you attempt to take them off, or else you'll have ripped up skin and or meat falling off. Vacuum seal is possible, label and freeze your fillets. This whole process of cleaning, brining, drying, smoking and storing takes me at least 3 days to complete each batch. I can smoke 6 Pinks in the BC at one time. THere is a great recipe that I posted on smoking salmon from the guys over at Good luck
  6. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Posts: 4,102
    Near the Fjord
    Ratings: +569 / 0

    You have to do it to your own taste of course. Seems I run into the 8 hour mark. Check before however, sometimes I will move the drier pieces to the top and put the not so smoked ones from above in place down below.
  7. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    Awesome info guys, thanks. Smoked them up last night and it tastes fantastic.
  8. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,787
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +689 / 5
    Yeah, with that type of smoker if you soak the chips, you'll eventually ruin that pan faster. Or make sure you clean it out good and put it away totally dry. Now, if you were smoking with chunks, then soak them. BUT, those little/big chiefs just don't accept chunks well. Mostly from the heat element used. Chips are the way to go, and a mixture of chips as suggested is an awesome way. I love using a mixture of cherry, apple, and alder. A couple pans and you're good.
  9. Norm Frechette Active Member

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    Norwich, CT
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  10. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Soaked chips imparts a bitter flavor plus if you do your own alder chips make sure there is no bark mixed in.