Cold smoking is used for foods such as Cheese, fish, butter, sausages, nuts, salt, eggs and vegetables. Some foods will need to be cooked after the cold smoking process, before they can be eaten. This rule does not apply to cheese or in some cases Salmon.
Cold smoking is a process that not only adds flavour, but also aids in curing certain foods, when used in conjunction with traditional curing methods. Cold smoking is usually done at temperatures below 90°F (32°C). This means that you must keep an eye on the temperature in your smoking chamber, as if it rises above 90°F (32°C), this may cause bacteria in the food to multiply rapidly, making the food unsafe to eat (poisonous). So do not try to cold smoke on a hot summer’s day.
For some meats, such as fish or seafood, a brine is used before the food is smoked. A brine is usually a water, salt and sugar solution.
We suggest using the ProQ® Cold Smoke Generator, which will produce clean, cold smoke for up to 10 hours. If you don’t have one yet, please follow the instructions below:
- Get 4 or 5 charcoal briquettes going in a chimney starter, once they have a grey appearance, place them in the fire bowl (you won’t need the charcoal basket for this type of smoking).
- Cover the briquettes with wood dust (a cupful should do it), this will allow the wood to smolder, plus reduce the heat given off by the briquettes. Like this, it should produce smoke for about 1 hour.
- Place the water pan in its usual position, just above the fire and either fill with water or leave dry, this will depend on the ambient temperature, as you may need cold water to help keep the temperature inside the unit down below 30 °C (85 °F).
- Place the food on the cooking racks and put the lid on (do not close the lid vent, it must remain slightly open).
With cold smoking, it is important to monitor the temperature inside the unit at all times, we suggest using a digital thermometer for this. Cooking times will vary greatly depending on what food you are cold smoking, for instance, cheese will only take an hour or 2, whereas side of salmon may take 10 – 12 hours. Meat such as ham will take several days.
See how to smoke cheese HERE