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Christmas Cooking #3: Smoked Shrimp

Christmas Cooking #3: Smoked Shrimp
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  • Christmas Cooking #3: Smoked Shrimp

    Post #1 - December 25th, 2004, 6:53 pm
    Post #1 - December 25th, 2004, 6:53 pm Post #1 - December 25th, 2004, 6:53 pm
    Christmas Cooking #3: Smoked Shrimp

    I've only had smoked shrimp a few times in the past few years, and most of the time they came via ReneG (who I believe picked them up at Calumet Fisheries). They were damn good.

    Smoked shrimp always seem more expensive than they should be, so when I got my smoker last summer, doing shrimp was high on my hit list.

    I was glad it was cold this holiday season, because the freezing weather would I thought -- help drop the cooking temp in the smoker and enable me to fully smoke the delicate crustaceans without overcooking them.

    Picking up some alder wood from Berger Brothers and some gigantic shrimp from Costco (which I brined using a simple C2 recipe), I proceeded to fumble my way through the process. I made a smaller than usual fire and filled the water pan with sand to further blunt the heat. Turns out, I succeeded in dampening the temperature so well that after 1.5 hours on the smoker, the shrimp were nice and smoky-looking but undercooked. I'm all for minimal cooking of fish and seafood, but these guys were practically translucent in the center. Had to finish them in the oven, which was inelegant but effective.

    They looked absolutely beautiful: curly plump half moons, deep glistening brown on the outside, with pink, firm flesh inside, the somewhat 'sharp' wood flavor pitched up against the sweet meat, which remained so moist it would leave a stain if you pressed it against a silk handkerchief. No need for cocktail sauce with these lovelies.

    Everyone loved them (or so they said, though their words were supported by the rapid consumption of all two plus pounds in about 20 minutes, by 7 people, who had multiple other antipasto items to choose from, including some marvelous cheeses from Marion Street Cheese Store, multicolored sweet peppers with anchovies, and a range of plump purple and lime green olives from Caputo's).

    Me, I liked my initial effort at smoked shrimp just fine. I made a number of mistakes (currently my life's goal); next time around I will probably build a warmer fire?and maybe use smaller shrimp.

    Any how, we've got some cold ass weather upon us, I?ve got a water pan full of sand, and I'm thinking I should maybe smoke some other 'low heat' item before I lose momentum. Maybe a bologna or a cheese of some sort stuff that just requires smoke, and basically no heat at all.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - December 25th, 2004, 6:58 pm
    Post #2 - December 25th, 2004, 6:58 pm Post #2 - December 25th, 2004, 6:58 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Any how, we've got some cold ass weather upon us, I?ve got a water pan full of sand, and I'm thinking I should maybe smoke some other 'low heat' item before I lose momentum. Maybe a bologna or a cheese of some sort stuff that just requires smoke, and basically no heat at all.

    Perhaps a slab of bacon? Normally you use a separate fire box for bacon because you want zero heat whatsoever... but I'd imagine you could do OK with cold weather..


    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - December 25th, 2004, 8:44 pm
    Post #3 - December 25th, 2004, 8:44 pm Post #3 - December 25th, 2004, 8:44 pm
    ny how, we've got some cold ass weather upon us, I've got a water pan full of sand, and I'm thinking I should maybe smoke some other 'low heat' item before I lose momentum. Maybe a bologna or a cheese of some sort - stuff that just requires smoke, and basically no heat at all.



    With any luck one of our best cooks on the list will post his technique for smoking a pork belly, saving the fat, and making tamales with it. From what I read, its an outstanding technique for tamales.

    How about it Bill?
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #4 - December 25th, 2004, 9:49 pm
    Post #4 - December 25th, 2004, 9:49 pm Post #4 - December 25th, 2004, 9:49 pm
    I made a number of mistakes (currently my life's goal); next time around I will probably build a warmer fire and maybe use smaller shrimp.



    Hammond,

    You may have made mistakes from your point of view, you had a learning experience from mine. Gary's tutelage of the WSM was so profoundly straight forward, we learned intuitive cooking skills skipping over a tremendous amount of learning experiences (mistakes, bad guestimates, failures) he endured on his dime.

    My feeling you were up against Mother Nature whose Arctic Chill takes a lot of experience to overcome. I have read of people building barriers to insulate the heat under these conditions. I believe Bruce posted a picture about this last Summer. Though your shrimp didn't cook completely through on this occasion, you did get the real benefit of the smoked flavor for far less than $20 per pound Calumet Fisheries charges. If you consider the retail market cost of smoked chicken, ribs, salmon, pulled pork, turkeys and shrimps we've cooked, the WSM pays for itself rather fast ... sorry for my digression but I just love my WSM and can easily wax poetic on it.

    Cold weather cold smoking project: get yourself a porkbelly and DIY smoked bacon (yes, I know I am the 3rd person to say the same thing). Make and smoke yourself some kielbasa (or other sausage) with the garlic jacked up to your tolerance. Cheese is a great idea. I will look around to see what I can find and report back.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - December 25th, 2004, 10:53 pm
    Post #5 - December 25th, 2004, 10:53 pm Post #5 - December 25th, 2004, 10:53 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Cold weather cold smoking project: Cheese is a great idea. I will look around to see what I can find and report back.


    C2,

    Any suggestions on the type of cheese to smoke? I'm thinking a Swiss?

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - December 25th, 2004, 11:11 pm
    Post #6 - December 25th, 2004, 11:11 pm Post #6 - December 25th, 2004, 11:11 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Any suggestions on the type of cheese to smoke? I'm thinking a Swiss?


    Gouda... Scamorza... They should work well.

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #7 - December 25th, 2004, 11:20 pm
    Post #7 - December 25th, 2004, 11:20 pm Post #7 - December 25th, 2004, 11:20 pm
    Hi,

    My original reaction was Gouda, because we certainly can get smoked Gouda, so we have a reference point to compare. I realize I seem to look for reference points but it is important to know first you are on the right track. If I feel I made something BETTER than I can buy, then I am very happy with the results. If they are the same or worse, then I need to reconsider and adjust.

    My other thought is something regional and relatively inexpensive: sharp cheddar (or mozerella, which is not exactly a regional speciality though a relatively inexpensive cheese).

    I have heard of people smoking Swiss, Colby, Provolone, Havarti, Jarlsburg and Stilton. Once I was sure of my skills, I would consider Stilton or some other blue cheese.

    Of course, if smokey flavor is important and heat may not, then throw in some Chex Mix and let me know what its like. Or maybe smoke the Chex cereal before it has had the special sauce applied to it.

    Fish are also cool smoked as are country hams.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - December 25th, 2004, 11:50 pm
    Post #8 - December 25th, 2004, 11:50 pm Post #8 - December 25th, 2004, 11:50 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:...or mozerella, which is not exactly a regional speciality though a relatively inexpensive cheese...


    If you mean the mozzarella-loaf stuff, it is inexpensive but not very good cheese. I would guess that smoking real fresh mozzarella (i.e., fior di latte) might be a little tricky or at least trickier than with many other cheeses. But rather than using the industrial grade "mozzarella" (which really isn't quite what it claims to be), I would use a good scamorza, which is slightly aged fior di latte and so a more stable, as it were, cheese. There are some decent local and regional producers of scamorza, some of which has to my taste much more tang and character than mega-producers' loaf or brick "mozzarella'.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #9 - December 25th, 2004, 11:55 pm
    Post #9 - December 25th, 2004, 11:55 pm Post #9 - December 25th, 2004, 11:55 pm
    As Hammond dislikes soup, so I dislike smoked cheese. It seems that smoke is covering up the mistakes of a poor cheese or, I suppose, overwhelming the superior qualities of a fine cheese, though rarely it seems are fine cheeses smoked. I used to like smoked gouda well enough before I realized the breadth of quality cheeses available. It seems to be the standard for smoked cheeses, and it was quite a popular item when I worked the cheese counter.

    Cheddars, mozzarellas, goudas--never would I rather have them smoked than not. A strong Swiss-style cheese like Gruyere with a very light smoke is an interesting possibility, but I still find it hard to imagine it's worth the effort. I suppose smoked cheese might be good in combination with something else, but I've yet to find it--suggestion or favorites?

    Incidentally, I don't particularly care for Rauchbier either. Meat and smoke have an affinity that particularly appeals to me, I guess.
  • Post #10 - December 26th, 2004, 12:10 am
    Post #10 - December 26th, 2004, 12:10 am Post #10 - December 26th, 2004, 12:10 am
    Cathy2 wrote:I have heard of people smoking Swiss, Colby, Provolone, Havarti, Jarlsburg and Stilton. Once I was sure of my skills, I would consider Stilton or some other blue cheese.


    C2,

    Stilton??? That is one I would never have thought of.

    The Gouda, as suggested by you and A, sure.

    I guess when I think of smoke, what comes to mind is a blander cheese. Even cheddar seems to have too much character, and Stilton, jeez, I don't know...you ever have a smoked Stilton? I honestly cannot imagine what that would be like.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - December 26th, 2004, 1:16 am
    Post #11 - December 26th, 2004, 1:16 am Post #11 - December 26th, 2004, 1:16 am
    Antonius wrote:If you mean the mozzarella-loaf stuff, it is inexpensive but not very good cheese.


    I guess if you follow the 'Make a silk purse out of a pigs ear' concept. If you can improve inexpensive mozzarella loaf, then you are on the road to making gastronomic miracles with better material.

    Years ago, my Dad gave me a Brownie camera and black & white film. If I mastered picture taking, and he had conditions I could never surmount, then I could graduate to color film. Now I have a digital camera, which I can edit or delete pictures with a few clicks because the cost is so cheap, who cares?

    If it were me-myself and I, I would prefer to practice on cheap materials before graduating to more expensive, which is why I favor mozarella.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #12 - December 26th, 2004, 8:04 am
    Post #12 - December 26th, 2004, 8:04 am Post #12 - December 26th, 2004, 8:04 am
    Cathy2 wrote:I guess if you follow the 'Make a silk purse out of a pigs ear' concept. If you can improve inexpensive mozzarella loaf, then you are on the road to making gastronomic miracles with better material...


    Fair enough, especially while one is experimenting, but decent scamorza can be found at reasonable prices too. In fact, I'm always shocked at what most chain groceries ask for the dullest and most mass-produced of cheeses...

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #13 - December 26th, 2004, 8:14 am
    Post #13 - December 26th, 2004, 8:14 am Post #13 - December 26th, 2004, 8:14 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Of course, if smokey flavor is important and heat may not, then throw in some Chex Mix and let me know what its like. Or maybe smoke the Chex cereal before it has had the special sauce applied to it.

    country hams.


    Smoke it with the sauce on. Dry Chex mis won't hold smoke. Use a light smoke too. I've made this several times and its good. You can just experiment with many different items. Olives, take some hard boiled eggs and crack the shells by rolling them lightly, then smoke to make "Petrified Eggs", When smoking cheese, wrap in wax paper and let sit in the refrigerator for a day before eating. The flavor is much better.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #14 - December 26th, 2004, 11:13 am
    Post #14 - December 26th, 2004, 11:13 am Post #14 - December 26th, 2004, 11:13 am
    Bruce wrote: take some hard boiled eggs and crack the shells by rolling them lightly, then smoke to make "Petrified Eggs"


    Bruce,

    I love the sound of Petrified Eggs.

    I had not thought of smoking eggs, but I imagine the flavor of the smoke and the egg would work very well together. I'm wondering how much you have to "crack" the shell to make sure the smoke gets in (eggs do have an inner protective membrane between shell and meat, and I'm sure you'd have to get through that).

    What kind of wood would you use for this?

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #15 - December 26th, 2004, 1:10 pm
    Post #15 - December 26th, 2004, 1:10 pm Post #15 - December 26th, 2004, 1:10 pm
    Petrified eggs! Genius! A variant of the Chinese tea egg! What a great idea.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - December 26th, 2004, 1:30 pm
    Post #16 - December 26th, 2004, 1:30 pm Post #16 - December 26th, 2004, 1:30 pm
    While you're smoking whatever else, perhaps throw in some sea salt or some garlic to smoke as well.

    The Spice House is now selling a kaffir-lime-and-coconut smoked sea salt. I tasted it and there was a very faint hint in the back of lime and coconut, but it would almost certainly be masked if any food was added. But, if you use a lot of hardwood smoke, you might get a stronger flavor.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #17 - December 26th, 2004, 3:22 pm
    Post #17 - December 26th, 2004, 3:22 pm Post #17 - December 26th, 2004, 3:22 pm
    gleam wrote:While you're smoking whatever else, perhaps throw in some sea salt or some garlic to smoke as well.

    Ed,

    Bruce has a simple, yet delicious, recipe/method for smoking garlic. I've never tried Bruce's method myself, as I'm always able to talk him out of a couple of big jars. :)

    Hopefully Bruce will post his smoked garlic recipe/method to the thread.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - December 26th, 2004, 4:40 pm
    Post #18 - December 26th, 2004, 4:40 pm Post #18 - December 26th, 2004, 4:40 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    gleam wrote:While you're smoking whatever else, perhaps throw in some sea salt or some garlic to smoke as well.

    Ed,

    Bruce has a simple, yet delicious, recipe/method for smoking garlic. I've never tried Bruce's method myself, as I'm always able to talk him out of a couple of big jars. :)

    Hopefully Bruce will post his smoked garlic recipe/method to the thread.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    When I smoke garlic I go to a local food service supply and buy a large jar of fresh peeled garlic. I lay the garlic out and try to use just the tiniest bit of olive oil on the cloves. Just barely enough to allow smoke to stick to the cloves. I put the cloves on a sheet of foil and poke some holes in it. I use a cool smoke for several hours and then toss in a dehydrator. After dehydrating I grind the cloves in a food processor. I usually end up with various degrees of coarseness. I separate and use accordingly. Fine is great for garlic bread, coarse chunks, can be used on bagles, bigger pieces can be stuffed into a roast before smoking, etc.

    Don't forget you can also smoke peppercorns too. I wouldn't add the oil. Sea and kosher salt smoke up great too.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #19 - December 31st, 2004, 9:49 pm
    Post #19 - December 31st, 2004, 9:49 pm Post #19 - December 31st, 2004, 9:49 pm
    Bruce wrote:I lay the garlic out and try to use just the tiniest bit of olive oil on the cloves. Just barely enough to allow smoke to stick to the cloves.


    Bruce, is it literally the case that oil enables the smoke to "stick to" the clove or any other object that's being smoked? That is a principle or smoking that I'm not familiar with.

    The idea of smoking garlic is very appealing -- we probably eat about 20X the amount of garlic as the average household, so it's always good to discover new ways to consume it.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #20 - January 1st, 2005, 7:43 am
    Post #20 - January 1st, 2005, 7:43 am Post #20 - January 1st, 2005, 7:43 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    Bruce wrote:I lay the garlic out and try to use just the tiniest bit of olive oil on the cloves. Just barely enough to allow smoke to stick to the cloves.


    Bruce, is it literally the case that oil enables the smoke to "stick to" the clove or any other object that's being smoked? That is a principle or smoking that I'm not familiar with.

    The idea of smoking garlic is very appealing -- we probably eat about 20X the amount of garlic as the average household, so it's always good to discover new ways to consume it.

    Hammond


    David,

    The oil does allow the smoke to stick better. I know a small amount is best. I used too much oil the first time I tried to smoke garlic and the garlic didn't dry very well. I used much less the next time and was more successful. If oil wasn't used I would smoke for a longer period time to allow smoking and drying before moving to the dehydrator.

    I'm not out of my supply yet but you might want to try smoking some garlic with no oil and see what happens.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:13 pm
    Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:13 pm Post #21 - November 29th, 2006, 9:13 pm
    Chicken gizzards are a good quick smoke item.

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