Friday, 19 July 2013

Cold Smoking 23/6/13

Cold Smoking

This is my new home-made cold-smoker, built 23/6/13.  
Barbeque (Tesco £13)
Digital thermometer (Amazon £1.70)
Soldering iron (Amazon £4)
Total price £18.70

Also smoking chips and tin foil.

After trial and error I discovered that the best method seems to be to:
1. Soak a ramekin-full of wood chippings in water for the suggested 30 mins
2. Drain the chippings then roll in tin foil.
3. Make a few holes in the foil to let air in and the smoke out.
4. Push the soldering iron into the wood and place on the bottom rack of the smoker.
5. Put the top rack back on
6. Place the food on the rack
7. Put the lid on the smoker, using a stick to create a gap all around to prevent heat build-up.
8. Plug in the soldering iron
9. After about 10 minutes smoke will start appearing.  You could wait until this point to put the food on if you wanted.
10. The temperature should not rise about 32 degrees C (but see below).  It might be worth using a temperature with an alarm on it, or a meat probe to monitor this.  I used a cheap digital one from Amazon.

One site ( says that the temp should remain lower and it is of the utmost importance to use dry wood as you are trying to dry out the meat.  I don't think this can be the case with cheese.

Trials 24/6/13:
I had a few trial goes at using the smoker without food.  Ambient temperature about 16 degrees:
1st batch with soaked chippings: I didn't make enough holes in the foil. Once I made holes the temperature rose to a maximum of 27.5 degrees and burnt for about an hour.  I think I left the lid loose.
2nd batch with dry chippings.  Rose to a maximum of 39.8 degrees, even with the lid raised
3rd batch with soaked chippings. It took about half an hour to get enough smoke going.  With a stick to keep the lid slightly open the temperature rose to 33.8 degrees. Slightly warm but not too bad.  I added some mild and some strong cheese, which got about 20 minutes of smoke.  Delicious!  After 30 minutes build up, this batch produced about 70 minutes of strong smoke.

Recipes to use:
Cheese- smoke for about 20 mins 

I have since read that as the purpose of smoking foods is to dry it out, soaking the wood chips in water does not help in this.  Maybe it is fine for cheese, as you don't want to dry it out, but it doesn't seem a good idea for meat.  I'll have to re-think this in light of this new information. 

Update 14/7/13- the thermometer on the smoker seems to read 4-5 degrees high. 

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