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Emson Pressure Smoker.

Wow. Thanks. I went back and checked my source and apparently they must have read the numbers in that study wrong and changed 170 degrees C into 170 degrees F. Last time I trust WiseGeek.

You're right boiling wouldn't reach the applicable temperatures, a pressure cooker maxes out at 250 degrees, the highest temperatures reached in cooking would be on a grill or by frying, most likely, and then it obviously would have much higher temperatures on the exterior surface and most likely nothing near that in the interior. But if the eggplant is anything like potatoes, On Food and Cooking says the majority of the solanine is concentrated in the top 1/16th of an inch under the potato skins.

So maybe with the right cooking method, and assuming that solanine is the cause of the bitterness, and that its concentrated under the skin's surface as it is with the potatoes, there could be some impact.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Hmmm...you don't happen to remember where you read that, did you? I got the 170 degree info from Wise Geek and I may have to revise a page on my blog...Thanks, if you happen to remember.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

No, that's true, I was thinking more in terms of whether the change in pH or the smoke flavoring would "mask" the tongue's ability to detect the bitter flavor - much like salt does - rather than actually removing the bitter flavor.

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2...

But now that I think of it, if solanine is indeed the cause of the bitterness in eggplant, it breaks down at high temperatures (170 degrees) and since you hot smoked the eggplant, the temperatures would have easily exceeded those temperatures.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Interesting. I wouldn't have thought of eggplant in the pressure smoker, but that's very creative.

I wonder how the change in pH from the smoke may affect (or if it does) the general bitterness level of eggplant. Are the Japanese ones generally less acrid than the Italian eggplants?

Emson Pressure Smoker.

In case anyone wants to go for it, this guy is selling one he received as a gift for $90 on Craigslist:

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/hs...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Well, mine failed two days after the 30 day return period. I've been using it a TON in anticipation that if it was going to fail, it would fail quickly, so I'd been pushing it, using it multiple times a day. What happened with it wouldn't be applicable to you, though. I think the control panel / electrical wiring was faulty from the start, but at first I thought it was me.

Sometimes I'd set it and it wouldn't start smoking. Nothing. So I'd open it up and re-do everything and then it would start fine. I'm a very experienced pressure cooker user, so I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong as far as the gasket or the pressure valve or anything, and I'd been cleaning the air hole every five uses per the instruction manual, so I thought perhaps I wasn't putting the charring cup on the charring element properly. Then two days after the 30 day return period, it just stopped working. Nothing. No charring at all. It didn't start "hot smoking" either. Power was coming through but the unit just wasn't starting.

That's what I told them. I called them Monday morning (the 16th) and my replacement arrived this Wednesday (the 25th), but I'm all the way across the country from the company, so it probably took longer for me than it would for someone on the East Coast. Not bad at all.

If you like, you can tell them that someone on Chowhound who worked in the legal field for 20 years (that's me) told you that the cracked lid might be dangerous, and that it would be in their interest from a product liability perspective to have you send back the broken lid (thereby ensuring that its out of circulation, and cannot be used) and send you either a new lid or a new unit for free. Because it is. If you use the lid and hurt yourself or damage your kitchen, you could conceivably sue them, so they have every incentive to avoid the problem now, rather than deal with lawyers later. Giving you a new unit for free is a cheaper and easier than any of the alternatives.

Give them a chance. They may surprise you. I had a really good experience, despite seeing some complaints in the comments on Amazon re getting replacement parts.

And when you get the new one, consider paying for a third party extended warranty on it. I bought a Squaretrade 4 year warranty for mine, so once the manufacturer warranty expires, or if they didn't replace it for some reason, I still have the extended warranty. ;D

Emson Pressure Smoker.

I had the same issue as well. The "chips" in the little containers are either pellets or practically sawdust, so they're too small. Regular chips are fine, but many pieces are too big.

Don't try your kitchen shears - the wood is simply too hard. I'd recommend a good pair of heavy duty gardening shears, the ones meant to be used on twigs and small branches.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Well, is your unit less than two years old? They do have a 2 year warranty. This thread is less than 2 years old.

If they were going to charge you, I don't think they would be asking for the broken part back. They may want to see the break for manufacturing quality control purposes, or maybe they just want to get the broken part out of your hands and a new one into them to keep you from doing damage to yourself or your kitchen and then turning around and suing them.

Call them back. Ask specifically. If you want to be a little clever about it, tell them that you thought you were going to be charged for it, but you were talking on Chowhound, and some of the people there encouraged you to try again. (That will clue them in to your issue is out in public and that it would be good PR to give it to you for free, if they weren't already inclined to do so.) The worst they can say is "no".

But a damaged lid could be very, very dangerous.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Think of it this way - if they send you an entirely new unit, then you have replacement parts, spares, any time there's an issue. You've got built in back up. You've got an extra charring cup, an extra pot (could be VERY useful to have an extra pot if you want to do back to back jobs), an extra unit itself if the push pad control pad wears out over time.

This is a good thing - take them up on it!

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Oh nuraman, using a damaged lid sounds really dangerous. This is a pressure cooker, after all - something you don't want to mess with. I'd advise letting them replace it if I were you.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Ah OK, gotcha.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

You left the wings on, too - I'm absolutely amazed they didn't fall apart after all that time under pressure (hot smoking).

The chicken would have been "sweeter" both because of the apple wood and because of the apple juice. Apple wood chips don't give as heavy a flavor as say hickory. The juice both because of the latter's sugars, but also as I have learned from my research, that sugars reduce the perception of tannins from the wood smoke (and the tannins are what build up in your mouth as you eat the smoked food and give you that over smoked taste).

But if you use hickory next time, I'd be really careful about increasing the smoking time any longer - remember its going to have a much stronger taste than apple wood chips do. Also, just generally speaking, I suspect with 15 minutes cold smoking and 30 minutes hot smoking, you've pretty much exhausted the life of your wood chips, and extending the times wouldn't add a lot more flavor unless you replenish the wood chips.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

You could, but personally, I haven't, and probably won't. The 5 quart model, which is what I have, is a little too small to make a decent sized soup or stew, and even if it wasn't, with that charring element sticking out into the pot, I'd be afraid of damaging it when stirring or prepping the ingredients. Admittedly, probably a remote possibility, but I don't think I'd want to risk it, especially given the small size.

I am planning on making a smoked chicken and wild rice soup, where I'm going to cold smoke the chicken in the pressure smoker. Then I'm going to finish cooking the chicken in my electric pressure cooker, and make the soup in that.

Smoked brisket... How to keep it moist?

To elaborate on what EarlyBird said, if you want to dry brine a large piece of meat like brisket, remember that salt diffuses through meat extremely slowly, so you'd want to allow at least 24 hours, and 48 hours is better, for the salt to penetrate all the way through the meat.

Alternatively, you could take EB's suggestion and inject the meat with beef broth.

Brining serves several purposes. First, by salting the whole meat, it tastes better. Second, the salt denatures some of the proteins, so it makes the roast softer and more tender. Third, the presence of the salt inside the roast aids in water retention, which helps make it moister.

What Kinds of Wood Chips Should I Buy/Use?

If you're still interested, the 5 quart model is on sale for $89 (limit 2 per customer) on Woot for a very limited time:

http://home.woot.com/offers/emson-5-q...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

If anyone out there wants to buy one of the 5 quart Emson pressure smokers, they're on sale for a very limited time for $89 (limit 2 per buyer) on Woot:

http://home.woot.com/offers/emson-5-q...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

The advice I have seen (from smoking tutorials for those big outdoor cold smokers) is to add containers of ice, so that's what I intend to do. I'll let you guys know how it works, and I'll also take some temperature readings, see how that pans out as well.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

So not all the sugar melted, just a little bit that was in direct contact (or close to it) to the charring cup? That sounds like much less of a cause for concern than I previously thought.

I do wonder how much heat is being generated during "cold smoking" - there is obviously some. I think I'm going to break out the insta read thermometer when I cold smoke that remaining rib eye steak I hadn't done yet.

What Kinds of Wood Chips Should I Buy/Use?

I am really loving the pressure smoker so far.

Yeah, eventually I will add in fresh and dried herbs, juice, wine, citrus peel/zest into the mix, but right now I'm trying to figure out cooking times to get the proper level of smoke.

Some of what I, as well as others have done with the pressure smoker is documented on this thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8733...

and I'll be putting up more photos and details regarding my experiments elsewhere as well.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Wow. Come back and let us know how it turns out. ;D

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Beef or pork ribs? And what kind of ribs? Do tell. I've got my third round of corn going now, I'll be doing a couple of beef back ribs after that.

Never seen my parents' dog go so crazy as the other night as when I made the first beef rib attempt. I walked out of the kitchen with the first plate, her nose was in the air, she was doing that deep sniffing she does when she's sniffs under doors trying to figure out if the people are still behind them. When I brought the plate back, she was licking and licking and licking her chops, wouldn't stop. I put the plate in the kitchen and shut the door and a couple minutes later, there she was, behind me, still licking her lips constantly, slobbering, with a pitiful pleading look in her eyes. I caved and gave her one. She *really* enjoyed it.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

At the beginning, I put the tin foil both around the leg, and on the lid of the charring cup. The tin foil around the charring cup leg worked, no scratches, the tin foil around the lid of the charring cup was pretty useless, the heat and smoke still got inside the foil and made their mark, so I didn't repeat that part of the experiment. I'm resigned to having a charred black charring cup and lid, no matter how much I scrub them clean, just like you can never get a regular smoker pan 100% clean.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Ah yes, but you haven't seen my recipes. ;D

I do a much better job than most user manuals do, by far, including step by step photographs.

But you're right, this thread has been fabulously instructive and informative. Its great to exchange information with others who own the same model.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

I've seen reviews on Amazon that complained about this. Fortunately, I read them all before I used my cooker, so I just wrapped some tinfoil around the foot of the charring unit, and that resolved the problem. No scratches. I just change the tinfoil whenever it gets dirty or greasy.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

You're right, the recipes included in the booklet are pretty skimpy and not properly written IMHO. Paying $50 for a cookbook you've not seen, you have no idea the contents, and based on what's in the booklet is probably a bad idea.

I haven't found any recipes on the internet for the pressure smoker. Not one. That, however, is going to change. I'm going to see to it personally. ;D

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Sorry about my previous question, I just saw the answer here. You're replenishing the chips after every 30 minutes of smoking. My bad.

But about the sugar melting, that has me more than a little concerned. The melting point of sugar is 366.8 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 350 degree oven, sugar shouldn't melt (assuming the oven is calibrated properly). That means its getting up to 366 degrees in a cold smoke in the pressure smoker.

There is one other thing you could try, however, and that would be to put ice cubes in containers on the bottom and in between the charring cup and the sugar. That should significantly reduce the temperatures that the sugar experiences. In fact, the melting water mixed with the ice will reduce temperatures even further.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Ninevah, I'm curious, did you replenish the chips anytime during those 90 minutes? I find mine don't last that long. (Maybe you're using larger chips.)

What Kinds of Wood Chips Should I Buy/Use?

I actually found some mesquite chips in my dad's garage so that's covered. ;D

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Well, I'm not really familiar with wood chip prices, but I have been on Amazon shopping around for wood chips, and they have this 3 lb bag for $3.99 for example:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002...

Its an add on item, which means you can only buy it if you spend the $35 to get free shipping, or you're a prime member, but you could buy books, DVDs, CDs, even a bunch of wood chips to get you to that amount.

Yes, 15 mins cold smoke + 30 minutes hot smoke isn't the same as 45 minutes hot smoke. The pressure cooking portion of the unit isn't engaged during cold smoking, just the charring element, so it would not be cooking the meat during that initial period, merely smoking it. (Although there is some heat generated by the charring, so you might want to start with cold meat if you're going to be cold smoking for extended periods of time.) And I suspect it wouldn't be infusing the food as intensely during cold smoking as it would during the hot smoking, because pressure cooking really seems to meld flavors, intensify them, and I'm *guessing* that some of the smoke flavor would be conveyed deeper into the meat by the pressurized steam while cooking under pressure. (For example, if you pressure cook tomatoes, like you make tomato soup, I get a flavor that I can't get any other way, or if there are chile peppers involved, the high heat of pressure cookers seems to enhance the capsaicin.

)

What is causing the back to break and the wings to fall apart is the pressure cooking part of the equation, the hot smoking phase. The pressure cooker will denature (soften) the proteins in the meat, and it also breaks down connective tissue very quickly as well, that's why the wings and the carcass start coming apart, the pressure cooking has converted some of those connective tissues into collagen (you may notice that the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pot tends to thicken up like jello if left sitting around for a while).

So figuring out the respective lengths of time for cold and then hot smoking is a matter of reducing the hot smoking to the point where the chicken will remain intact, but lengthening the cold smoking period so you get the intensity of flavor that you wish.

I believe someone (perhaps it was you?) on this thread said the chicken legs had a better taste than the rest of the chicken, and I'm wondering if perhaps because the legs (dark meat) have a different composition than the breasts (white meat) - they have more fat, more connective tissue, and they're different kinds of muscles, whether the smoke is impacting them differently. Of course it could also be that the legs were in closer proximity to the charring cup, and therefore got more of the smoke condensing on the outside of the legs.

I'd have to experiment with that. I haven't tried chicken yet. All I've done so far is smoked hot dogs, smoked corn on the cob, cold smoked steak that I then pan sauteed, I tried beef back ribs the other night. I'll be trying smoked pork sausage for a pizza tomorrow, and I planned on trying chicken thighs in the next couple of days for some chicken and wild rice soup.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

I really don't have enough experience with the cold smoking to know the answer to your question - maybe someone who's more knowledgeable in the cold smoking area could give you some guidance.

I believe your choice of wood chips would also impact the answer to that question, and again, I'm not the most experienced person to answer that question. I did see a reference during my research on woods earlier this afternoon that apple wood will actually brown the chicken skin, so maybe that's a good choice to experiment with.

As for the cold smoke only method, the user's manual says not to add liquid if you just cold smoke, so I'd assume the answer would be no to that.

My personal preference would be to hot smoke at least part of the time, because of the protein denaturization and the purging of water and some of the fat out of the chicken skin. I wish I could find an answer as to what PSI the machine operates at - with my Cuisinart pressure cooker, I would precook a 4 - 5 pound chicken for perhaps 20 minutes (at 10 PSI) before finishing off in the oven. The Emson user's manual says hot smoke 45 minutes, but I've also been warned to cut down the times under pressure from the manual by 25% - 30%, so that would be, say, 30 minutes. So for my first attempt, I'd probably try 25 minutes at hot smoke.

Then I'd try under the broiler or in the hot oven.

If you want to see the other Chowhound discussion where I talk in detail about how I pressure cook whole chickens (it has some more info on prepping them that I won't repeat here) see this thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923863

ETA: Now that I've read your other post in detail, I wanted to comment further. You aren't going to be able to hot smoke for very long without losing the structural integrity of the wings. I always remove them from the bird at the start, and save them in the freezer for buffalo wings or some other wing snack. Pressure cooking denatures proteins and affects connective tissues much more quickly than conventional cooking, and given their small size and that they effectively stick out of the chicken, they'll be impacted fairly quickly.

Based on your previous experiments, I'd probably try 15 minutes cold smoke, 30 minutes hot smoke, then finish in the oven, and I'd remove the wings beforehand.