How to Cold Smoke

Cold smoking infuses food with that distinctive smoky flavor we love while using minimal heat. Unlike hot smoking, you’re not cooking the food. The objective is to transform fresh meats, fish, seafood and even eggs and cheese into flavorful smoked treats.

Preferred Types of Wood for Cold Smoking
> Cold smoking allows smoke to penetrate food more easily. And so, woods with a lighter smoke are generally used. Apple and cherry wood impart milder, slightly fruity smoke flavors. Maple gives off a mild, slightly sweet taste and alder is a light smoke with just a hint of sweetness.
Grill Grate Cleaning
1. Before loading your smoker with food to cold smoke, brush off any food residue using a grill brush.
2. Move the brush in the direction of the wires on the grates until you have cleaned the entire grill.
3. Then, wipe the grate clean with a damp cloth.
> You’ll want to keep your smoker and grill grates cool. If you prefer to clean your grates when the smoker is hot, plan to do this well in advance to give the smoker time to cool down completely before adding food for cold smoking.
Charcoal and Wood Set up
> Charcoal brings the heat and wood brings the smoke. Since the goal is less heat and more smoke, using minimal charcoal helps to keep the temperature low. When deciding between wood chips and wood chunks, wood chips are small and require less heat to smolder, making chips the better choice. Here’s the basic set-up:
1. Place three lit charcoal briquettes in the center of the firebox.
2. Place 2 cups of wood chips on top of the lit briquettes.
Temperature Control
> Temperature control is one of the most important factors in cold smoking. To keep smoker temperature below 110°F, open the intake damper and chimney by just half an inch. Ideally, cold smoking is better done in the fall and winter months when the air temperature is below 40 degrees. The cold air outside keeps it from getting too hot inside the smoker. If you can’t wait for cooler weather, smoke at night or early in the morning when temperatures are lowest. If the outside temperature is above 90°F, place a large aluminum drip pan filled with ice in the smoke chamber between the firebox and the food to keep the temperature low.
Hot TipUsing a water pan to add moisture to the smoke chamber is optional and can increase condensation under the smoker lid. Adding spices, beer or wine to the water pan can be used to infuse an added layer of flavor into your food.
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