Anybody smoking nuts with a tumbler rather than trays?

Discussion in 'Fruit, Nuts & Vegetables' started by jtnf, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Taking a page from our DIY Coffee roasting brethren, I built a nut rotisserie tumbler for almonds (perhaps mixed nuts.)

    The design is similar to this one here:

    Is anybody using a peanut or coffee roaster to tumble mixed nuts while smoking?

    I will be washing and seasoning my new (poor facsimile of the above drum) this evening and probably doing a smoke tomorrow: I like the salt brine and eggwash method I've read here.

    I know that tumbling will remove the spices - I intend to cold smoke either brined or oiled nuts then season prior applying heat - The heat will either be in the tumbler or in pans in the oven.

    The reason I'm doing this is trying to one-layer in pans small enough for a 16x14" vertical is a pain in the butt, and my fans are very demanding!

    I may need a bigger smoker ;)


    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    What an interesting idea.   Desertlites made smoked nuts at SELA last year and I can't imaging being able to improve on them but it looks like you have a great idea and good luck.  Let us know how it turns out, I may give it a try!
  3. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    $10USD for four pie tins, $32USD for 36x36 perf'd aluminum, $3.89USD for 36" angle aluminum, aluminum rivets and stainless steel hog rings I already had, yields two 9.5"x18" tumblers.

    $23USD each for the McGuyver version ;)

    If I season in the tumbler I'll use one for hot and one for sweet, or at least segregate into two batches when applying the heat.
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The only thing I see that could go poorly is you will most likely loose any seasoning by tumbling them. You can still smoke and season later but tumbling might knock off the seasoning. Let us know how it goes 
  5. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    I figured on brining or oiling and cold smoking, since any spice is going to be scrubbed off. Then seasoned and back into the tumbler for 10-15 minutes to roast.

    Alternatively, I think post-seasoning is always an option.

    All cleaned and seasoned. Nuts are soaking in brine. To christen tomorrow.

    Pics preventing the page from saving?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  6. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Had to contrive a latch on the opening end after all. I have pics and will post when I figure out why the pics are stopping the post.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That is a pretty cool idea!...JJ
  8. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Brined over night and tumbled in smoke (AMNPS with cherry pellets) for 2.5 hours prior to lighting the fire.

    Used a louvered broiler tray about 2" above the burners and an inch below the drum to distribute the heat more betterer.

    So far the tumbling technique seems quite acceptable: 5.5 total pounds (4 almonds, 1.5 pecans) tumbled gently and evenly distributed across the length of the drum.

    Nuts dried out to have an even, thin coat of salt that does not seem the worse for abrasion. Taste was very good albeit underdone - it was getting on to 23:00 and I wanted to test and sleep.

    One change I'm already considering: A little door in the side like some of the commercial units to sample and test: Looking through the perf metal with a flashlight was OK but having to disassemble the whole thing to check doneness was not really tenable.

    No attempt was made to spice them initially. I'll mix up some hot wet rub (from the recipes here) to toss about 1/4 of them and finish roasting tonight.

    Pics to follow - don't know why but I may need to put them on tinypic. Copy and paste of photos here (firefox 10 as client) is not working at all.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  9. Just click the Insert Image button at the top of the reply box to the right of center and load right from your PC.
  10. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Yeah - I tried simply pasting pics in. They succeeded, and were visible when editing (even after saving, closing, and re-editing) but the whole post was blank.

    I'll get the Q-View up when I scrape together a few minutes today.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  11. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pasting pics does not always work - if you use the image uploader it is slow but it does work 
  12. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Yep - one insert at a time worked.

    The concept:


    Aluminum angle serves as a stiffener and stirrer:


    One end fastened with stainless steel 'hog rings'

    The rings were threaded thru the holes in the perf metal then closed hard enough to punch through the cheap pie tins.

    An option on this end would be similarly sized straight-sided cake pans, the straight sides allowing rivets around the circumference.


    All washed and drying off

    You can see the prongs providing torque for the turning of the drum.


    I was worried about the flexibility of the drum possibly unseating the pan on the 'open' end, so I contrived a mechanical latch with some bent aluminum and a single rivet to pivot about.

    The other side of the pan is fastened with a straight piece of flat aluminum about an inch wide that ends at about the same height as the pan when properly seated, with two more hog rings punched through the pie tin as a hinge.

    This worked really well, actually.


    The goods. Remember I gave up on the roast just after 23:00 so these are not done. Tasty tho.


    As you can see, the nuts managed to keep their skins and the salt distribution is freakishly even.

    IMPORTANT! The perforated aluminum is punched, meaning one side will be smooth as-manufactured and the other will have burrs.

    The drum has the factory-smooth side facing in: No effort was made to sand or smooth it any further.

    The angle aluminum WAS smoothed: After cutting as shown above I used an electric wire wheel to break all the burrs and really soften the corners and edges.


    More to follow after the roast is complete, and I'll report on the relative success of tumbling spiced nuts.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  13. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    WOW that rotisserie unit looks great. I can see where a sample door would be a big help 
  14. Cool idea
  15. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    I'm actually thinking about making a door out of 1/3 of the circumference and making the whole structure more rigid to support it. That way I can stop the rotisseire, sample, and evacuate quickly.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  16. jtnf

    jtnf Smoke Blower

    Well, plain is definitely an unabashed success, but I can offer no opinion on the spiced... Since they were a smaller quantity by a lot (1 - 1.5 lbs) they roasted fast enough to burn.

    O well.

    Continued tumbling while roasting did not harm the plain at all: Skins all stayed attached, salt consistency is fine and 100% evenly distributed.

    One thing I will do differently: Almonds seem to roast just a little slower than the pecans (and I assume walnuts etc.) The almonds are nicely done and the fresh-roast crunch is just right, but the pecans are a little overcooked.
  17. For those not mechanically inclined .. If you do a search on the internet , you will find that there are third party SS ( stainless) units made for the big Ronco Rotiserie. .. I have seen them on ebid... I will go look. .. Here is a link

    I do not know the guy selling them other than I bought two big Ronco baskets from him about a year ago ... ( my pre MES 30 days )

    Maybe I should get one of these and cut a few holes I'm my large Ronco , borrow Jimmy J's dimmer design ( for the MES ) to bring down the Ronco's heat ,and use an AMNPS ....

    Can' wait to see a pic on here of just that one day

  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  19. Sorry guys ...

    First thing that goes is the memory ... :yahoo:

    Yes it was DaveOmack' s mod. and it looks like my SS basket turned out to be aluminum.

    Last edited: May 6, 2012

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