Friday, August 6, 2021

A New Smoking Machine & Tomato Canning

I’ve been using my gas grill with a smoke box to BBQ with only mediocre results and after having my little hobby/business for several years, I got used to the good stuff.  The big Stumps smoker that I used then is too much for what I cook now and I have been thinking about something else.

A few weeks ago, a couple from our RV club invited us to their place for BBQ and I was looking forward to checking out his cooker in addition to eating the food.  He has a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker that uses wood chips for the smoke and an electric element for the heat.

So after watching the cook and eating the meat, I decided I couldn’t go wrong at only $375 for the smoker and stand plus I bought a cover. I got the next size larger than our friends so I could easily cook for a crowd when I wanted.  

This is the yet-to-be-used inside with enough width to accommodate a rack of ribs.  It should hold 8 rib racks, 8 pork butts, 4 briskets, 12 chickens or a combo of the above.

It has a set and forget box temperature controller and an easy to feed wood chip system, which requires regular additions.  I have a pork butt in the freezer which will likely be used for the maiden voyage soon.  So, our outdoor cooking area now contains the gas grill, a commercial gas range, the smoker, a charcoal grill  two turkey fryer burners with tanks and a cooking table under a 12’x12’ gazebo – it gets a little crowded occasionally.

Back In The Canning Business – Tomato Juice

After several years of not canning anything, we had finally used up our supply of tomato juice so we grew enough tomatoes to replenish our supply.  We might do some chopped tomatoes as well but it is our juice that taste fundamentally different than the commercial versions.

I don’t know the weight of our tomatoes but we had a pan full after coring and cutting them into halves and quarters.  We used about 1/3 slicing tomatoes and 2/3 paste (plum) tomatoes.

After simmering for four couple of hours, we let them set overnight and the next morning I dipped a couple quarts of water off the top to thicken the juice.  Then we reheated and ran the tomatoes thru our standard chinois equipment and ended up with 7 quarts of jarred juice – 1 tsp. canning salt in each jar.

We then pressure canned them at 12 lbs. for 11minutes.

If our tomatoes keep going, we should get several more runs (7 qts. each).

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


7/23/21 event date


  1. I just made 40 wings smoked and they were fabulous! I have to admit not only did they slip off the bone easily but the taste was better than ever. I added some hot sauce to mine and everyone else did barbecue. I wished I had tomatoes to can I have 15 plants and got 1 tomato this year!

  2. We have never smoked anything so not sure i would like smoked stuff. But I'll be waiting for pictures of that pork butt.

  3. Larry, That new smoker ought to proof a lot easier for you to use...and to keep an eye on. Big enough too. You have enough equipment at the back of the house to open a of course the refrigerators and freezers. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Hope you have as much fun with the smoker as we do!!! Enjoy!!!!

  5. What an awesome idea! I've never thought to can my own tomato juice.

  6. Now that certainly sounds like nice smoker...perfect for when you what to entertain all your friends and family. In the cold of winter, you will have the taste of summer in a jar of that tomato juice.


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