There are two main unpleasant factors which may discourage lots of amateurs from purchasing their own smoking chamber:
1. Huge amount of smoke which is an indispensable part of a long term smoking. It makes the production of a smoked meal in closed or poorly ventilated rooms nearly impossible.
2. A very long cold smoking process lasting from 12 hours to couple of days and demanding intense focus on and considerable cost on sawdust for smoke creating.
It seems to me we can finally leave these factors behind.
In a smoking chamber with an electrostatic option you can cook a perfect high quality product in just 1,5−3 hours with cold smoking, even in a small apartment or o on the terrace.
I’m not an engineer that is why I try to describe how this smoking chamber works in simple words. So, we all know from the school book of physics that opposite-charged particles are attracted, and the higher the voltage is the stronger the attraction. Why not using this phenomenon for the penetration of the particles of smoke into the product. The only thing to do is to create kind of «electronic wind».
Let us follow the process step by step. We take an ordinary box (case, locker), make it hermetic so that the smoke does not come out. We hang kind of emitters on the walls and charge them positively «+», and the product is charged negatively «-» Then we blow smoke to the box. If the voltage is enough the gravity will naturally create «wind» and the particles of smoke strongly empowered will forward to the centre of our product what is actually expected. The fish or sausage will absorb and saturate the smoke in just 1−3 hours (depends on the thickness of the product). Imagine, the latter would take 20−40 hours of smoking under normal ordinary conditions. But this time we spend only 200−300 gr of sawdust. Almost all the smoke remains inside (How do you find the idea, Elon Musk?)
It took me maximum 6 hours to remake my old smoking chamber made of the old wine refrigerator into a new electrostatic one. It worth saying, I’ve got little clumsy hands and not so skillful.
Now I will list what has to be bought and where.
Generator of high voltage up to 30 000 volt http://got.by/3eeehn
Cyclic timer http://got.by/3eef7w
Stainless wire http://got.by/3eefiz
Polyvinyl chloride tubes (PVC) for cold water + tubes joint corners — easily found in any hardware store.
Tubular electric heater 2 kw (TEH) http://got.by/3eegos
Temperature controller http://got.by/3eefw0
Various types of attachment — likely to be found in your garage or storage room.
I made two frames of the tubes suitable for the size of the chamber, drilled out holes at 5 cm distance between each one of them and mounted small screws (I'd recommend stainless ones). On top of the screws I tightened the wire through which the current electricity will flow. The frames were fixed through the isolators on the opposite wall of the smoking chamber. To each frame I attached the positive charge «+» from the high voltage generator. Mind that the strings should be well-isolated from the walls of the smoking chamber!
On other walls I placed a self-made stainless rail on which the skewers (spikes, racks) to hang the product are leaned. Again it’s very important to use isolators. I attached the negative charged wire «-» to the rail. I hung the product over metal hooks which means that the product is being a current-carrying conductor by itself.
How to check if the system works well?
We need to hang a piece of tinfoil (3−4 layers to create some weight) over the hook. Also we make a simple sensor of the «electronic wind»: on any non-conducting electricity stick we tie a thread at the end of which there’s a small piece of cotton wool. This very piece of cotton should be placed between positively charged emitters and «the product». The chamber is closed, we turn on the generator and increase the voltage until the cotton wool heads to the tinfoil to finally stick to it. If you were mistaken when mounting the construction then you’ll see sparks flying and you’ll hear strong sound of crackling. Best time to revise what is done wrong and fix all the connections again.
What is also important:
The generator should not work all the time. It should be turned on for a short time, couple of seconds, for the voltage to spread the smoke over the product. For this very reason you’ll need a cyclic timer. The experience will help you to calculate (to see) how much time is necessary to fill your chamber with smoke (during this time the generator is turned off) and to spread the smoke over the product (the generator is turned on) and then to set appropriate data on your timer.
Now specifically about my smoking chamber.
My poor old friend «wine refrigerator» has nothing to do but stand new reconstructions and improvement, again and again. On the other hand, now he’s capable of performing 3 functions:
1. Cold smoking (electrostatic and ordinary)
2. Hot smoking (in general, there’s no need in electrostatic option here, but anyway I turn it on every half an hour to create a beautiful color and an even distribution of the smoke aroma.
3. Dryer. For a pre-drying of a product before a smoking process. Also in cold Spanish winter time it’s useful to hang sausages for sagging and drying a little straight after stuffing.
The capacity of my «wine refrigerator» is up to 30 kg of the product.
When the function of «Electrostatic smoking» started I tested the smoking chamber on the following products:
Salmon (cold smoking) — 1.10 h, 150 gr of sawdust
Bacon 5×5 cm — 2 h — 300 gr of sawdust
«Krakovskaya» (traditional Polish sausage) -1 h — 150 gr of sawdust
When the smoking process is over the product should «relax» one or two days so that the strong smoke aroma evaporates.
And finally some basic advices on the smoking process:
1. The temperature of cold smoking inside the smoking chamber should not exceed 26C
2. Regarding the hot smoking, the inside temperature of a ready product should not be less than 63C
3. Any product before smoking should be dried a little so that it loses 2−5% of its total weight (depends on the fat content).