week 4 - QST Smokehouse series
Over the next four weeks, John R. White will be featuring tips, facts and guidance from QST Smoke Flavors to help inform, educate and highlight important considerations during the smoking processes. We hope you find this helpful.
#4 How Long Should My Atomization Step Be?
The development of the right smokehouse schedule is crucial to obtaining optimum color for any meat product. The right schedule is also important to maximize the throughput in your smokehouse. If the atomization step is too short, the product color will be compromised. If it is too long, product consistency can be affected.
So what is the optimum length of an atomization step?
Although there’s no simple rule, generally the larger the smokehouse, the longer the atomization step can be without having adverse affects on the product. Atomization involves breaking liquid up into tiny droplets. The smaller the droplet, the longer it will float around in the smokehouse. As the house reaches a saturation point of the smoke cloud, the tiny droplets combine with other tiny droplets and become heavier. When they become too large, they begin to fall. This can cause darker colors on the tops of any horizontal surfaces of product. A larger house will take longer to reach that saturation point than a smaller house will. Based on years of experience, around 20-30 minutes is the maximum amount of time for a medium sized house(6-8 racks).
But what happens if you need more than the maximum to reach your color standard?
A second smoke application is possible, but the use of a higher concentrated smoke is a better option. If a second smoke application is needed be sure to exhaust the house for a few minutes to avoid uneven colored product. QST Ingredients has some of the most highly concentrated liquid smoke products on the market. They can help you minimize your liquid smoke cost.
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