We were immediately captivated by the idea of smoking delicate foods. To produce wisps of real smoke (NOT incense or dry ice), we bought the Smoking Gun from Sur la Table for $99.95.
When photographer Tammy Ljungblad purchased the gun, the cashier told her it was the fourth one sold that day. Ljungblad also ran into a Char Bar employee who was buying one for use at the Westport restaurant’s bar.
Photographing the process of a smoking anything is a tricky endeavor, and working in a restaurant would not give us enough control over lighting or background. Instead, chef Martin Heuser of Affäre brought his ingredients to us, and we set to work capturing the best moments in The Star’s studio.
As anyone who is familiar with barbecue knows, different woods not only impart different flavors, they also emit a different color smoke. Chris Kurzweil of Kurzweil’s Country Meats (see Sausage-making, Page 20), home of the smoked pork chop, donated a mixture of coarse and fine hickory and apple chips he uses to smoke his brats.
Once we found the right color and intensity of smoke, we wrangled — OK, fanned — the smoke, trying to make it swirl in interesting patterns and shapes. The photos were breathtaking — cough!
Lesson learned: Working with smoke is like trying to trap a genie in a bottle.