Lowcost Home Smoked Chillies – Using the ProQ Smoke Generator

by Hot Juan on November 12, 2009 · 2 comments

in General Information

Split Pepper Smoked

Split Pepper Smoked

Hot smoke or cold smoke, that is the question. The simple answer is that both have a place in the food chain, but when it comes to chillies, my hat is definitely in the cold camp.

Hot smoking is a wonderful thing if you want to smoke fresh fish in a couple of hours or lovely smoked meats that will be delicious to eat straight from the smoker, but what of smoking produce that you don’t wish to cook? Fresh chillies, cheese, bacon etc are all things that require cold smoke. Most cold smoke generators are complicated affairs requiring more than normal diy skills to set up or special briquettes to use, or you can build your own cold smoke house which requires a civil engineering background and a Heath Robinson array of pipes. How does the ordinary bloke get round this problem? The answer is a ProQ smoke generator for £24.99, a couple of garden canes and a cardboard box.

The ProQ is a neat little item that is about 150mm square and looks a bit like a maze made of mesh and steel. The maze is filled with very fine hardwood sawdust such as apple or beech and then a tealight candle is inserted for 30 seconds to ignite the dust.

ProQ Smoke Generator

ProQ Smoke Generator

The dust burns evenly around the maze, taking around 8 to 10 hours to complete its journey. After this time you will have nicely smoked some fresh chillies (Or dried ones) or some fairly thin chunks of cheese. Bacon or sausages will be perfect as will sliced ham. For tougher jobs like the strings of garlic I have just done, you would need to repeat the burn 2 or possibly 3 times to get the desired depth of smokiness. This is because cold smoking does not use intense smoke but a nice slow even level of smoke which takes longer but results in a beautiful flavour.

Did I mention a cardboard box? I was going to make a complicated smoker using a dustbin or an old fridge, but I recently bought a new printer and it came in a lovely strong box which was perfect size and shape for my project. I made small holes in the side of the box and threaded garden canes through to form a support. Onto this you can place a grill or bbq rack
to hold your food or in the case of my garlic, put it straight onto the canes. The generator sits in the bottom of the box and because it produces neither heat or flames is safe to sit on its own legs without danger. If you are intending to smoke any produce which could drip, such as fish or meat, then a simple cover of tin foil can cover the generator so that any liquid cannot put out the smouldering dust. I have a supply of those bbq disposable grill trays and one of those makes a perfect drip guard.

Cardboard Box Smoker

Cardboard Box Smoker

After my experiments smoking fresh chillies, I have decided that the best method of getting the ultimate smoke pepper is to cut them in half longways and then smoke them. This allows the smoke to penetrate deep into the flesh. I have cold smoked fresh naga whole and I think that although the skin smells delicious, better results will come from the cut in half method.

To turn this simple cold smoker into a hot smoker, all that is needed is a single hotplate, which can be bought for as little as £15 and a meat thermometer to keep the temperature of the box around 80 degrees C.

Of course, if you already own a hot smoker such as a ProQ frontier, then it is easy to add the smoke generator and use it as a cold smoker. Or the generator can go straight into the bottom of any traditional barbeque with a well fitting lid. Looking for a more permanent DIY solution, I do intend to seek out a weatherproof metal or solid wood box, as my cardboard box can only be used under my gazebo.

Our thanks to Chris Jagger from Volcano Chilli web site for this article about smoking, You can visit Volcano Chilli web site or their stall at the Lincoln’s Central Market.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Christopher Jagger November 12, 2009 at 3:28 pm

You will be very happy with it.


avatar Hot Juan November 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I have mine on order already.


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