About the Author :
I grew up on a farm in North Germany, where my family had farmed traditionally for hundreds of years. Our farm was completely self- sufficient, making our own butter, cheese, breads, preserves and jams. My father also produced small goods from his home slaughtering and my fondest memories are of his delicious smoked sausages, smoked hams and bacon, salmon, halibut, trout and eel.
At age 16 I left home to train at Swiss Hotel School - the toughest but best training in Europe, initially to train as a chef. After graduation I worked on 5 star passenger liners and in my twenties travelled to Africa where I worked as executive chef in many leading international hotels.
I have lived and worked as a hotel executive in many countries including Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong and I now live in Australia. In my travels I could never find the quality of smoked goods that we had at home, so I converted old fridges, tucker box freezers and 44 gallon drums into improvised smokers, until finally I built my first metal smoker - a similar concept to what we had at home - only smaller, and perfected the concept to a fine art!
From 2009 to 2013 I conducted a short course “Home Smoking Gourmet Meats” at Holmesglen T.A.F.E. at their Melbourne Chadstone and Moorabbin Campus.
Feedback gathered by the institute from students rated my course at 99%.
From the Desk of the Author :
There are a lot of plans available on how to build a smoker and most work to a certain degree. However, to make a quality product not only does it require a smoke box of the right size and dimensions it is also crucial to use a good brine, to get smoke to the right temperature, and get timing for both these processes right.
Many folk I talk to who are interested in smoking have European backgrounds, and remember the flavours of smoked goods produced by their fathers or grandfathers. This 'taste' memory is what impels them to learn how it is done - in fact it is exactly what gave me the drive to make my own smoked goods in the first place!.
These days the quality of small goods produced commercially is compromised by regulations so that un- natural preservatives and phosphates are used to speed up the process and water is pumped into meats to add yield.
True flavours have been sacrificed for profits. That's enough reason for me to smoke my own fish, chicken, ham and bacon. I have full control of the recipe and I don't use any artificial preservatives or colouring.
To achieve the perfect product and have fun making it, you need a proper smoker, which has to be of the right dimensions and user friendly to cut out any guess work.
In the past I learned by trial and error and used improvised smokers, but I did not get close to what I can produce now with the smoker I have designed.
I tried all sorts of things like an old fridge, and a 55 gallon drum, however, these types of smokers only work to a certain degree - as do table top smokers -you get a smoky flavour but the product does not cure properly and will not last very long, in fact it could be dangerous if not cured and smoked properly.
Claus H. Ernst
“Smoke Oven Made Easy”