Thailand Industrial Photos: An Excuse to Revisit the Past

Photos by MJ Klein and Hui-chen

(Links are dead because they refer to the old site) – MJ

This story is about the design and building of a smoker, and cooking in Thailand.

I’ve been kinda bored lately.  This is the longest time I’ve been in any single country in the past 4 years.  I’m used to being on the move.

Recently I blogged on some cooking adventures, and also some industrial photos, so I thought I would to back through my vast archive of photos and find some that combine both cooking and industry, lol!  I blogged on my wood smoker a few times since I had it built in June of 2005 in Thailand.  Back at that time, I wasn’t using and the photos were a lot smaller in the blog.  I also didn’t get too much into the details of how the smoker was built.  I won’t bore you to death but I want to revisit this topic and provide more details as there seems to be some interest in the industrial photos.

The guys start out by cutting the sheet metal on a machine called a shear. Here they are cutting a sheet that will form the main cooking chamber of the wood smoker.

Now the workers are using a machine to roll the sheet metal into a tube shape.  After each pass of the sheet through the machine, the guy in front adjusts a knob for a deeper bend, and they send it through again.  After several times, the tube is formed.

This is the smaller wood chamber in the forming machine now.  You can see the cooking chamber on the ground in the foreground behind the men.

Covers and hinges were fabricated and welded onto the chamber bodies.

Here I am making some measurements for the interconnecting holes in the chambers.  I located the hole positions and also the relative positions of the chambers and the guys welded them together.

Later, a frame was built and welded to the main assembly.

One of the young workers checks out the joint between the 2 chambers.

Some of the men working on my smoker were only 16 years old.  It seems that they preferred to learn a trade than attend school.  These 2 guys were really good even though they were young.

This is a detail shot of the air dampener.  This door can be pushed open or shut to regulate the air flow to the fire.

This is the cutout for the air dampener.

All finished, and with a fresh coat of silver paint (not my idea!).  We took the smoker to our friend’s resort in a small village.

The smoker needs to be burned out before it can be used.  This is the first burn fire, before we add the cooking wood.

Awhile later, the cooking wood was added and the cooking fire was burned down enough to start preparing the smoker for use.  This is one of my favorite photos, showing some village women brushing the grate with cooking oil.

This is the first load of food ever cooked in my smoker (L to R): chicken, marinated in a village favorite sauce, pork cutlets, and salmon.

This is the food coming off the smoker.  Notice that more pork has been added (in the rear) and is still not fully cooked.

One of my favorite places and times….

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