Unbelievable treat: cold smoked Chinese Char Siu Bao

Discussion in 'Other' started by johnmeyer, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    Costco sells 12-packs of these delicious treats:

    I built a $3 cold smoker attachment for my MES. I can post construction detail, if you want. You've seen the basic idea before, but I think my build might be even simpler than some of the other tin can cold smoke attachments, and it includes a safety screen at the bottom which acts not only as a stand, but as a way to contain any hot ashes (potential fire hazard). It uses a single charcoal briquet as the heat source, and after experimenting with various ways to separate the charcoal from the chips, I simply used a piece of aluminum foil, crinkled up so it provided a barrier between the briquet and the beginning of the stack of chips.

    I got about 90 minutes of smoke using one charge of regular Weber hickory chips. No fancy pellets or sawdust. I built this attachment rather than using an AMPS because I wanted to be able to use regular chips. This gives me access to more woods, and avoids any flavor issues one might get with wood that has been processed. I obviously will have to recharge it more often, but 90 minutes is a pretty good start for simple cold smokes.

    And, my only cost was the $3.80 3" duct elbow (Home Depot). I had the 3" clamp and hunk of screen in my junk box, and the tin can was from left over from some chickpeas uses to make hummus (which I smoked when testing this).

    So I smoked these Chinese dumpling, along with some cheese, carrots, cured (but not smoked) ham slices, and everything else I could think of. The other things were tasty, but the Char Siu Bao were out of this world delicious. After smoking, I microwaved each one for about 40 seconds, in three 15-second bursts. Absolutely fantastic !!

    Highly recommended for all you cold-smokers out there.
  2. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    Quick postscript.

    I tasted everything, and have decided my cold smoke attachment isn't that great. Except for the Chinese dumplings, the other foods tasted pretty awful after I tried them again a few hours later. Perhaps I shouldn't have used hickory, or maybe there is a bitter taste from using the one charcoal briquette as the fuel source. Whatever the explanation, I'll be putting cold smoking on hold for awhile, and going back to using my MES as a 225 degree smoker.
    dirtsailor2003 likes this.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hickory may have been to strong for what you smoked. Cheese veggies and such go better with a milder wood. Any of the fruit woods or pecan, alder. Cheese really needs to mellow before eating after smoking.
  4. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for that. I did read, after smoking, a long post about smoking cheese. I think you are right that hickory was probably the wrong choice. I have some apple, and if I try this again, I'll use that. I'm going to let the cheese sit for a few days before trying it again.
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    John... let it sit for a few WEEKS.. the longer the better it gets.... also.. since your using electric anyways... you can put a soldering iron (NEW) in the can instead of a briquette... just drill a hole in the side at the bottom of your can and then stick the iron in it.... works great ...
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  6. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    Yes, I've thought about doing that, and I think you're right.

    While I was trying to do this for no cost, I think using the soldering iron as the heat source would produce a better, more consistent end result, and would eliminate any off flavor from the charcoal, if that is indeed what is causing my problem.

    There is a soldering iron mod for joining batteries into packs that might be better than just the thin pencil end of a normal cheap soldering iron.

    Hammer Head Soldering Tip

    It might do a better job of distributing the heat. I might even weld it to the tin can lid to produce a real hot plate, not unlike what is in the MES. I'll post if I go this route.

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