Author: La_Maudite (---.qc.sympatico.ca)
Date: 05-23-02 08:44
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking, alt.food.barbecue, rec.food.preserving
Peter Aitken (paitken@CRAPnc.rr.com) wrote:
> Cold smoking is almost impossible for the home smoker. It requires exposing
> the fish or meat to cold (about 80f) smoke for an extended period. It is
> very difficult to put together a system that will reliably create the
> smoke - which of course is hot at first - then cool it to the proper
> temperature. I understand that the commercial units are rather involved. I
> suppose that a dedicated and handy person could eventually put something
> workable together, but ...
Joseph Brightly (Joseph@Brightly.com) wrote:
> Cold smoking at home is a bit of work but it's certainly not
> impossible. Here's just one simple example of how to do it. If you
> look around you can find many more.
> If you want to spend the money you can use a smoke generator. It's a
> pretty simple rig which employs a chamber with built in a blower. It
> uses an external heat element which is really just a charcoal starter
> Or build one from an old fridge
Alan Zelt (email@example.comFINNFAN) wrote:
> I noticed in the latest Orvis catalog that they are now selling electric
> home smokers. Can be used for regular or cold smoking (two different
> heat sources). Sells for about $400.
Istvan (MagyarCook@ceanet.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> This is a very easy process. My system comprises a Metal Cabinet (ex
> industrial storage cabinet) purchased for next to nothing from a junk
> yard. I ripped out the original shelves and hanging file fittings and
> strung stainless steel wire across for the hanging hooks, cut a hole in
> the side close to the bottom and fitted 15 ft of corrugated aluminum
> ducting to it (around 6 - 8 inches in diameter and easily available from
> hardware stores). The ducting is wrapped in a spiral to provide a
> torturous route for the smoke to travel through, which traps
> condensation and 'heat sinks' the smoke to cool it.
> The smoke source is generated in an upturned 25 gallon drum with the
> top removed (like a bean tin); the top now becoming the bottom. The
> other end of the ducting is fitted to a hole in the top. The wood is
> placed on a regulated hot plate beneath the upturned drum, with some
> spacers to allow an input draft.
> Smoke/temperature regulation is achieved by controlling the input power
> to the hot plate and/or slightly opening the cabinet doors.
> This is an excellent solution for smoked salmon, trout etc.
> It is intended to be used in cold weather and try to install it away
> from direct sunlight. However, if it's warm, pack the cabinet with ice
> to maintain a temperature not exceeding 70 - 80 F. (preferably on the
> lower side). With a good stock of split oak I only have to maintain this
> system about once every 8 hours or so.
> The cabinet will rust to a state that it will be come unusable after
> about 3 - 5 years, the hot plate much sooner and the ducting will
> probably become crushed and damaged after a while. Never mind. Replace
> as necessary because it is all very cheap. Do bear in mind all normal
> electrical safety precautions because of the metal parts.
> Read the FAQ for a good salmon brine. You will probably want to
> experiment with your brine and smoking times, depending on the actual
> configuration that you end up with. Again, take a look at the FAQ for
> Good brining, condensation control and temperature control are
> essential. After a few attempts, you will make smoked salmon that people
> will knock on your door to purchase.
> I have Americanized the measurements in respect for our majority
firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) wrote:
> I've just finished building an awesome cold smoker. The main smoking
> chamber began life as a stainless steel, insulated commercial holding
> cabinet. It is about five feet high, three feet deep, and 18 inches wide,
> with a wack of SS shelves in it.
> I had a stainless steel Peerless beer keg that I had been dragging around
> from house to house for about fifteen years. That was turned into the smoke
> generator. Uses an electric stove element on a reostat. The smoke is
> transferred to the smoking chamber via 2 inch square SS pipe. We came up
> with a way to have the smoke zig zag back and forth in a relatively short
> physical distance (about 18 inches) but it is almost cold by the time it
> reaches the smoke chamber. The smoke generator gets warm to the touch, and
> the first little bit of the pipe also gets warm. Hardly any heat is
> transferred to the smoke chamber though.
> I live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia where the temperature is
> quite moderate year round. Did some tests the other day. Ambient
> temperature was around 61 F. Highest temperature I got inside the smoke
> chamber, where the smoke entered, reached 68 F. Temperature at the top of
> the smoking chamber was about 63 F. Can generate a lot of smoke, quite
> quickly, and keep it going.
> It took some serious work (and a few $$) to build, but is should last me a
> lifetime. I've got a separate hot smoker, but have plans to turn this unit
> into a dual hot/cold smoker at some time in the future.
> I love smoked foods - hot and cold. My only advice is to go for it, it is
> worth the effort.
> P.S. If anyone wants info or pictures on the actual unit, dimensions, etc.,
> drop me a note and I'll send the info to you.
Istvan (MagyarCook@ceanet.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> I would recommend that you keep them separate, unless you plan to
> thoroughly clean the cabinet after each hot smoke (a most unpleasant
> task). You probably will have noticed that the hot smoker gets a good
> deal of creosote deposits on it.
> I personally believe that for cold smoking, because the process is
> subtler, the chamber should remain relatively free of any deposits that
> might impart a poor taste when re-activated.
Carl Robitaille (Carl@CarlRobitaille.org) wrote:
> I've been reading this thread with great interest. I haven't got any
> experience with home-smoking, but I plan to try it next year.
> Good Eats being my only source of information prior to reading
> r.f.preserving, I was under the impression that salmon was hot smoked
> where bacon was cold smoked. But obviously from your discussion, I
> conclude that there is no such rule. Is commercial smoked salmon cold or
> hot smoked? By the texture I would guess cold smoked, but I don't really
> have a clue... :-)
> Also, I was asking myself the question of a home-made smoker being used
> for both hot and cold smoking. Has anyone tried it? What is the
> conclusion? Is it a pain as Istvan suggests it?
> Thank you folks for the precious information.
Istvan (MagyarCook@ceanet.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> Hi Carl,
> This topic is open to much discussion. Cooking in general, and
> smoking/BBQing in particular are infinitely variable concepts. That is
> what makes it such an interesting subject to discuss!
> I have very definite views when it comes to cold smoking, but they are
> just my views. I learn a great deal from other people's opinions and the
> reason I lurk and sometimes post to this newsgroup is because of my long
> term interest in cooking, preservation and traditionalism.
> With salmon (or, in fact any fish), there are two ways to smoke it.
> Either cold or hot. Each is completely different. The taste, texture and
> storage times, etc. are not the same.
> Traditionally, 'smoked salmon' is cold smoked and is served thinly
> sliced as an hors-d'oeuvre or in sandwiches. The classic smoked salmon,
> IMO, comes from Scotland, although some say that the technique was
> brought there by the Vikings and, hence, Scandinavia. Try telling a Scot
> that ;-). Also I have Canadian friends who claim they invented it (I
> don't think so ... :-p). So make your own mind up.
> Regardless, in my 30 years of fish smoking experience, I believe that
> there are several things to consider. I'll deal with cold smoking
> because there are many people here that can deal with the hot smoking
> Cold smoking is a sensitive and subtle process. Many products require
> but just the minium exposure to smoke to make them perfect. Under or
> over smoking will spoil the process. In Hungary (where my blood line
> originates - I'm hybrid Hungarian/English) and in many other places
> around the world, traditionally, smokehouses (even in very poor
> households) were usually built from wood and had dimensions of around 3m
> x 3m x 2m (9ft x 9ft x 6ft) minimum. The smoke was very often generated
> in a small hearth in the middle of the smokehouse; simply a fire that
> was occasionally tended with split wood. Simple flaps were installed in
> the roof and walls to regulate temperature, air and smoke. Input draft
> was defined by the ill-fitting timbers!
> Sausages and brine cured fish were smoked by this method. Most of the
> fish were species like Eel, Pike, Pike/Perch (Zander) and Carp because
> Hungary is a land locked country.
> Many factors were taken into consideration, but not necessarily by using
> scientific methods. Temperature, condensation and type/quality of wood
> were very important.
> First, most cold smoking was done in the early part of winter when,
> because it was so cold, the humidity was low. It was also done at other
> times of the year, but the humidity would always be a big consideration.
> Second, the wood was always well seasoned, maybe two years or more.
> Third, the sausage, fish or meat to be smoked was never taken into the
> smokehouse cold. It was usually hung for a couple of days in a kitchen
> before going into the smokehouse.
> For cold smoking the absolute rule was *never* let condensates form on
> your product. If it does, a perfectly brined fish or meat, and for that
> matter, sausage could be destroyed in an hour or so. The condensation
> carries with it the creosotes and other undesirable chemicals. Once on
> the product, it cannot be removed as it will enter the outer membranes
> and taint the inner flesh.
> Now we come to the issue of scale .....
> This classic cold smokehouse cannot be scaled down, in my opinion.
> Smaller metal cabinets do not exhibit the same characteristics;
> particularly with regard to condensation. Air flows are different and,
> generally, the smoke density is higher.
> The subject of condensation has not been explored in depth on this
> newsgroup to my knowledge. In hot smoking it really is not an issue
> because extreme temperature gradients don't exist.
> In the metal cabinet type cold smokers that I design, I always build in
> a condensation trap. In winter, a coiled thin metal duct suffices (I
> empty it after each session). In conditions of higher humidity or if I
> think my wood may not be absolutely dry, I place large chunks of ice on
> metal baffles that the smoke passes though. It's absolutely incredible
> just how much moisture you can collect. Sometimes half a gallon in 8
> hours! The point is ... don't let it get to your fish, sausages, meat,
> Temperature and smoke density are easier to control by appropriate
> For cold smoked salmon, you can't go far wrong with the following simple
> For 10 pounds of filleted fish
> 1 lb Salt
> 1/2 lb Brown sugar
> 2 tsp Prague Powder #1 (or sodium nitrite)
> 1/2 Cup Scotch Whisky if you like ;-)
> Soak the fish in a saturated brine solution (can't dissolve any more
> salt in the given quantity of water) for no more than 1 hour. Shake
> around every 20 mins or so. Rinse thoroughly to remove any debris. Shake
> excess water off.
> Mix all the ingredients well. Find a non-metallic or stainless steel
> tray which is deep, wide and long enough to take the fillet without
> having to force it to fit. Take the fillet and rub the cure carefully
> into the flesh. Do not be too aggressive or you will break down the
> surface texture.
> Place the fish skin side down onto a thin layer of cure in the tray.
> Cover with the remaining mix evenly. Cover the entire tray with muslin
> or a similar (breathable) cloth and leave in a cool place for about 8 -
> 10 hours. If possible, check every few hours. The cure should be almost
> liquefied after about 3 - 4 hours. Do not leave longer than 10 hours or
> the fish will probably be too salty.
> Wash the cure off, paying particular care to remove any 'ingrained'
> particles. Air dry outside if it's cold or force air dry in a very cool
> place with a fan. This process can take several hours. You'll know when
> it's right because the surface of the salmon will take on a distinct
> 'glaze' and you will see small globules of grease (like it's sweating)
> on the surface. This is different from the similar effect that you will
> get if the fillet is too warm!
> When you think the fish is getting close to being ready, warm your
> smoker. Stabilise the temperature at about 70 Deg. F (no higher than 90
> Deg. F) but don't introduce the smoke yet. Hang the fish vertically in
> the smoker (hooked through the head end is best). Leave it to get to the
> smoker temperature. Probably 1 hour for 10lbs. Introduce the smoke
> *very* lightly. It should be no more than just wisps of smoke curling
> around the fish. Don't allow the smoke to become dense. Just a few
> minutes of high density smoke will spoil the product. Trust me, I've
> been there :-(
> Maintain these conditions for 24 to 48 hours at least. Look every now
> and again to check the colour and texture. The flesh should appear a
> very deep orange (almost red) when ready and the texture should feel
> like velvet. Play around with the cure and smoking times on subsequent
> efforts, but don't ever get condensation on your fish!
> Smoked salmon should be smoked *very* lightly for a relatively long
> period. When it comes out of the smoker, hang it for at least a day in
> an airy place. When you smell it after the hanging period, the smoke
> smell should be equally balanced with the distinct oily salmon smell.
> It's hard to describe, but you'll know when it's right!
> Traditionally, at least in Scotland, they use old oak whisky barrels as
> the smoking wood. I just use very well seasoned split oak and it works
> very well. The addition of the whisky in the cure compensates for this
> deficiency. The remainder in the bottle also compensates for
> deficiencies in me ;-)
> You could experiment with other woods. I've heard that some people get
> good results from hickory or fruit woods.
> omnes docendo discimus
sedge (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
Default User (email@example.com) wrote:
> Alton Brown tackled the hot-smoked salmon issue on an episode of Good
> Eats, using simple items for construction. See:
> Smoker diagram:
> Here's hot smoke method by Alton Brown
> using a cardboard box
> the transcript
NCHFP (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> From the National Center for Home Food Preservation:
> Please be aware that cold smoking is not recommended for home curing,
> since it fails to have a "cooking" step sufficient to kill potential
> pathogenic microorganisms. That said here are a few publications from
> Cooperative Extension sources on smoking seafood.
> You can search for more on our web site at
> http://www.homefoodpreservation.com. Look for the search page and
> search extension programs in coastal and great lakes states.
> Alternatively go to http://www.e-answersonline.org/[/URL] and select keyword
> search and type in your keywords.