Both hot and cold smoking traditionally has been limited to proteins. Recently, innovative chefs, bartenders and regular Joes have been experimenting with smoking techniques in various ways. A bartender in Portland hot-smokes ice, then re-freezes it to use in his cocktails. A chef cold-smokes yogurt to use with a salad to give it a smoky taste. The possibilities are endless. Here are some random, rambling thoughts on cold-smoking, with some hot-smoking thoughts thrown in.
- Cold-smoking ingredients impact a smoky flavor to food that doesn’t need to be cooked (e.g. butter, cheeses, salt, nuts) or that you plan on cooking later.
- Hot-smoking ingredients imparts a smoky flavor to foods while cooking them (e.g. meats,fish).
- The four things you need for cold-smoking include: A way of producing smoke; A method of cooling the smoke before it gets to the smoke chamber; A smoke chamber to hold the food/ingredient being smoked; Methods to regulate the amount of heat and smoke.
- The internal temperature of the smoke chamber for cold-smoking should be below 85 degrees.
- For hot-smoking, the internal temperature of the smoke chamber should be between 120 to 180 degrees depending on what’s being smoked.
- If the internal temperature of the smoke chamber is greater than 180 degrees, you are cooking rather than smoking.
- The conditions for cold-smoking are also ideal for bacterial growth. Therefore, cold-smoking is usually done in the colder months or in colder regions of the world.
- Since cold-smoking does not fully preserve the food being smoked, the finished product should be kept in the refrigerator until it is used.
- In addition to cold and hot smoking, meats can also be cured through brining, salting, wind drying or combinations of these methods.
- Since cold-smoking doesn’t cure meats, salting or brining before cold-smoking is suggested.
- Various types of equipment is available for purchase, or you can make your own. Being fancy is NOT necessary!
Here are a couple of pictures of my cold-smoker.
Keep your fork