Inspiring book raises smoky question!

January 24th, 2014
A recent email and our response!
Hi Smokyjo,

I was lucky enough to be given your book at Christmas, most interesting and helpful.  I have made a wooden cold smoking cabinet (odds and ends of timber from my garage wood store) and I have a ProQ smoke generator and some bags of sawdust.  We found cheap cake cooling racks at Asda and made the cabinet an appropriate size for the racks to slide in.

We have fired it up once.  The first lighting produced more smoke than the fan on our cooker hood could take away so I reduced the “chimney” opening a lot but then it only burned for about 15 minutes.  Opening the chimney a little and relighting made it burn for about 9 hours so I guess it is about right now.

We have smoked cheese, garlic, eggs, peppers, oranges, a pitta pocket, salmon, sausages and some pigs cheeks.  The sausages salmon and pigs cheeks were brined before smoking.  The oranges were a bit of an afterthought and were not in for long enough.  Everything else turned out great.  Thanks for the inspiration.

Returning to the book I wondered about hot smoking.  Does hot smoking increase the uptake of smoke flavour a lot?  I haven’t been able to find any figures for suggested temperatures used during hot smoking, would the amount of heat used be an issue with a wooden smoking cabinet?  I can change the base to a metal plate which could stand on our electric hob and again use the cooker hood to take away the used smoke.

What do you think?, Best regards, Andrew.

Hi Andrew-
Well done you – your smoker sounds amazing.  Interesting that you are  smoking indoors under the cooker hood.  This is a good way of doing it though most people just do it outside under some sort of cover, but it will be much drier indoors and therefor cold smoking will be more efficient.
Hot smoking does not really increase the uptake of the smoke flavour.  When you cold smoke first – that is where the intensity of flavour is taken up – as food takes on the smoke best at a low temperature (below 30 degrees).  If you are just hot smoking  ie not cold smoking first the smoke will tend to be more on the outside of the food rather than have penetrated it.
I suggest that you do not hot smoke in the wooden cabinet and not indoors.  Some sort of old metal bin with a disposable BBQ would suffice. As for temperatures – we suggest hot smoking at a low temperature (100c) for a long time and then using a thermometer to test for doneness – there is a table on P.84 which will help with this.
The other alternative is to just cold smoke your food in your cold smoker first for a couple of hours at a low temp and them simply cook it off in the oven.
Lastly you dont have to brine anything that has been processed – like sausages, black pudding, cheese etc  – they have already been seasoned and may come out too salty.
Hope this helps. Happy Smoking!
Jo

One Response to “Inspiring book raises smoky question!”

  1. Deb says:

    Your smoker sounds amazing..Good Job…I love smoked cheese – it’s my favorite!

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