All of this came out of a discussion with a friend, when I pulled out a recent youtube video of a NYC eatery smoking single oysters using smoke created in a gravity bong.
So, I tried it. Impressive yes, but a lot of smoke is wasted, and the amount needed to smoke things at home would just be too smokey for a home. So…I wanted to modify it.
As I said, I started by building the gravity bong and looking at what it was doing. And really, all it is is a ‘sucking device’, created by gravity, and a chamber holding the smoke.
So, all I needed to do what create something that sucks. So, originally I was thinking about making a venturi system which would pull the smoke into a secondary chamber to smoke the food to be smoked. Everything I looked at seemed to need way to much airflow to be ‘practical’ in the home. So, I bought a $20 aquarium pump, and reversed the airflow. Instructions on how to do this are available online, it’s usually done by model makers for pressing parts on a much smaller scale that commercial vacuum pump systems.
I ended up adding a third chamber to the mix after thinking about 2 things. One, I didn’t want a lot of smoke going into the aquarium pump. The second thing I wanted was the ability to do not just sold foods, but, liquid as well.
This is still a work in progress. I’m missing one needed clamp to keep the liquid from falling back into the second chamber before suction is applied.
However, for the most part, here it is. Here is the basic setup I’m using. Basically, it’s a flask on the left with two aquarium hoses coming out of it into a second flask. Using two is simply to increase the smoke flow to the second chamber. The smoke then flows upward into the third chamber, flowing through an aquarium bubbler to ‘infuse’ the liquid with whatever flavour you’re burning in the first chamber. From the bottom of that chamber is a tube going into the receiving bottle, where the finished liquid is collected. The bubbler on the top of the bottle is connected to the aquarium pump (which has been modified to extract air).
Here is the smoke entering the second chamber. You can see the two lines of smoke coming in from the two tubes.
Here is a close up of the bubbles entering the third chamber filled with whatever liquid you want to flavour.
Here’s the full setup full of flavouring smoke. You can see in the second chamber that some of the liquid has fallen down into it. This is why you need two clamps, since liquid and air flows from the BOTTOM of the third chamber. You could also use a back flow valve on the air side of the chamber, and the clamp on the liquid side.
And here is the final product. Once the smoke has gone through the third chamber, all you need to do is apply a clamp to the airflow INTO the third chamber, and release the clamp on the liquid side of the chamber. Then, remove the stopper from the top of the chamber, which will stop the suction created by the aquarium pump. Into the bottle flows the now flavoured liquid.
I’ve had a few questions pop up about my deep fried pickles.
I don’t have step by step photos of how these are done, and I haven’t perfected the recipe to the point where they’re perfect. I still have some of the coating falling off…
Here’s my basic process with them, with a few changes I’ve made that might work a little better…
First step is to cut and chill the pickles. Cut them into long halves, or quarters. Put them on a baking sheet, and place them in the freezer for 30 mins. While they’re chilling, make up a simple egg wash (one egg, and one ounce of water, mix well, and mix again BEFORE coating). Then, make up the dry mix. The dry mix is simply panko bread crumbs and dried dill, at about an 7 to 1 ratio.
Once the 30 minutes is up, remix the egg wash. Press the pickles into the dry mix, then press the mix into the dills to make a ‘tight’ coating. This is the point where I fried them. I think THAT was a mistake, so the ‘new process’ will be to put them back in the freezer for another 15 – 20 mins in order to ‘re-harden’.
Heat a fryer to 375f. Carfeully drop in the chilled pickled (don’t over fill the fryer) and cook in batches. If you are doing a lot, and want to keep them warm, when they come out of the fryer, place them on a drying rack and place in a 200 degree oven. They’ll be done when they float to the surface and the coating is a golden brown.
They are good hot or cold, though I prefer them hot (well, warm…)