After a long time curing in my dad's barn, the garlic is well cured and ready to process into powder.
It takes quite a while to bust up all the bulbs into cloves then skin the cloves. As much as I love garlic I must admit that this part gets to me. The fumes get intense after a while and then every thing gets sticky: my fingers, my knife and the cutting board. It gets to be a real mess. Oh, by the way, here's how I peel my cloves. I use a big sharp knife and I cut off the blunt end of the clove. The skin usually pops right off but sometimes you have to peel it like a shrimp. This is very time consuming.
After I get a large bowl filled with skinned cloves, I use a different knife and cut the cloves into 3/16" chips. I place these chips onto special grates that I made to fit my big smoker. This is also a very time consuming process. I really need to find a way to streamline this process.
I have found that hickory is the best wood to impart the smoke flavor I desire into my garlic and I use it exclusively. But first I light a full chimney of Kingsford charcoal and use it to "start" my smoker. One full load will get my smoker up to 200 degrees in about 15 minutes. After the smoker is up to temp I place in a couple of hickory splits and start minding my temp. I have a desired temp for smoking the garlic and I'll keep that as a trade secret.
The actual smoking of the chips is the best part of this operation. The smell from the smoker is incredible. A mix of garlic and hickory! I sit back and take it in. It really does have a wonderful aroma.
I'll have pics to follow and more on how I finish the process in my next post. Stay tuned.