The Ol’ Miner’s Smoker

smoker a smokin

The Ol’ Miner himself sent this picture to us (his trusty IT staff) for another Miner’s Mix enterprise (hint: keep an eye out for “Sierra Smoke”).  This is the Ol’ Miners Pit Smoker.  It’s got some pretty special modifications designed by the Ol’ Miner himself.  Here’s the photo, and below an excerpt from one of his past blogs as it relates to the smoker:

“One may not notice at first glance, but the chimney is on the same end of the cook chamber as the firebox. How does that work? My special little cooking gem is a reverse-flow pit smoker. It started life as a conventional offset pit smoker with all heat gradient problems (that implies). I had it modified by welding a false-bottom plate under the cooking grid. The plate seals the fire box from the cook chamber and extends all the way to the opposite end where it stops short a few inches. The heat and smoke travel under the steel plate and up into the cook chamber at the far end, then back over the meats and out the chimney just above the firebox. This design doesn’t completely eliminate the hotter area close to the firebox, but it’s only 25-50° F or so hotter at firebox end than at the other end. With some additional modifications, I could probably reduce this gradient further, but it would take a lot more work. Also, I have a 1” steel pipe mounted in the very center of the cook chamber, protruding out the very bottom of the smoker. The pipe opens at the false bottom plate where it is flush welded. This nifty innovation allows grease dripping from the meat to drain into a bucket under the smoker, or the occasional high pressure wash water to drain out of the smoker. One final modification is a small water tank I had mounted inside the top portion of the fire box. The tank is welded to a pipe that penetrates into the cook chamber, all the way to the far end where it opens. There is a pipe nipple from the tank that extends outside the firebox from which I can fill the water tank to facilitate steam being injected into the cook chamber. Ribs and other meats stay nice and moist with this system.”


About minersmix

In early 1849, Joshua Shelby was working as a cook in a fancy St. Louis restaurant. The hottest topic among the patrons there was the rivers of gold that had been found out in California. These seemingly easy pickins stoked a full-blown case of Gold Fever! The only cure was a pick axe and gold pan way up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains which lay far to the west. In mid 1849, Shelby loaded up his wagon and along with hundreds of other would-be prospectors he headed west to California. Eventually he settled in the Mother Lode region, not far from what became Yosemite National Park. Accompanied by his trusty mule Codie, and panning along the Merced River, Shelby found a little gold, but eventually grew tired of the backbreaking work. Looking around for something else to provide a living, Shelby realized that the gold mines and camps dished up awful, bland food that failed to stick to a man's ribs and about which the miners complained constantly. Falling back on his skills, recipes, and spice blends, Shelby took a job as a gold camp cook which led to local fame and a little fortune. He soon developed a reputation as a first class frontier chef famous for good 'ol fashioned home-style cooking. Joshua Shelby's trademark spice and rub blends were always chock full of flavor and new blends continuously evolved as immigrants of from far off countries arrived in the camps, some with exotic and rare spices with flavors he'd never encountered before.
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