Note- This article is a follow-up to a home cooking experiment. It is not intended to insure the the safety of anyone who tries it home. To be sure your DIY Smoker is safe, you may want to have it inspected by Fire and Food Safety Professionals. This project is not recommend for those under 18, without parental supervision. Original Article: ” MAKE DIY CERAMIC BBQ POT SMOKER in 5 EASY STEPS” http://wp.me/p3CG2Q-1v
It all started innocently enough. Having mastered many methods of Grilling, Barbecuing and Smoking food, our superhero TasteeBQ was in the mood to try something new. He had read about Alton Brown’s $50 Ceramic Flower Pot Smoker and decided to build something similar to try at home. The experiment was going well. The new DIY Ceramic BBQ Pot Smoker had beautifully cooked some juicy 11 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork and tasty 16 Hour Smoked Ribs.
Then… Sirens! In came those do-gooders who quash cooking fun, everywhere- the Food Police. Yes, they are apparently done with Emeril, and are now coming after TasteeBQ. Its seems that Flower Pots and Bricks are not labeled “Food Grade”. For the sake of public safety and (his own health), TasteeBQ decided to take the experiment in a different direction.
“Clay pot cooking is a technique of cooking food in an unglazed clay pot which has been soaked in water so as to release steam during the cooking process. This technique has a long history, stretching back at least to ancient Roman times, and is commonly used in several cuisines in Africa, Europe and Southeast and East Asia.” Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_pot_cooking
Not sure when people started to require a Food Safety label on every cooking implement around the world. Most of the U.S. Food Labeling Laws kicked in somewhere around 1965. Before then, the use of clay and ceramic was based on “Survival of the Fittest” (or “Best Pottery”). Most civilizations seem to have survived with untainted Earthenware. Due to lead concerns, it is still good to test your Earthenware, Terra Cotta Clay and Ceramics for it’s presence. We tested our DIY Ceramic BBQ Pot Smoker with a Home Test Kit and it passed the test for lead.
For the latest guidance on Ceramics, the FDA said in 2012: “Agency investigators have in some cases found that the pottery exceeded FDA’s limits for “leachable” lead—lead that could get into food that comes in contact with the pottery. …The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says lead can be poisonous to everyone—especially so to infants and young children, as well as to fetuses.”-U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The advantage of the Electric/Ceramic technique is that it allows Low and Slow cooking with no fuss. No Propane, Charcoal, Lighting Fluid or other Accelerant is needed. Just a metal tray of Wood Chips, Chunks or Dust and an Electric Burner. As a follow-up test, TasteeBQ smoked Ribs on the Ceramic Pot Smoker for 16 Hours. They came out tender, juicy and delicious. A couple of days later, he finished the leftover Ribs on an indoor Gaggenau Grill and they were still fantastic.
To play it safe. TasteeBQ decided to convert a relatively affordable Kumado Ceramic Acorn Smoker by Char-Broil. Here are the adjusted Instructions and a Recipe for Smoked Cod. Enjoy.
The $299 price tag at Loews still makes it a bargain compared to the $1000+ for the Ceramic Giant Egg.
It was easy to convert the Kumado Acorn into an electric Smoker, once it was assembled. We simply relocated the Bricks, Burner and Wood Chip Pan.
The Acorn even comes with a bottom vent the right size to pass through the cord- so no drilling is required. It is really convenient way to cook. Just plug in it, turn it on High and walk away for a few hours.
For a first test TasteeBQ smoked a foil tray of Alaskan Cod Snapper for 2 1/2 hours. They came out perfectly. Here is simple Recipe:
Smoked Alaskan Cod (Feeds 4 People)
2 lbs. Fresh Alaskan Cod Fillets
4-6 Fresh Springs of Rosemary
2 tbsp. POWER Rub
Olive Oil, Butter, Salt and Pepper to Taste.
Marinate Cod for at least a 1/2 hour in Olive Oil, Butter, POWER Rub and Salt & Pepper to taste. Plug in DIY Smoker. Let it heat up for 5 minutes. Place Cod on Foil or Grill safe pan. Smoke for 2 1/2 hours until fish is juicy and opaque.
FDA on Cooking With Pottery
General Advice on Variety of Healthy Cookware
Tips on Ceramic Bakeware
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California Gold BBQ Rubs on Facebook