Most of us are willing to simply go to the grocery store when looking for something that holds a certain flavor. This is generally the case for smoked foods like bacon, smoked ham, or lox. These are all created by the process of cold smoking, which uses smoke to give flavor to the food as well as dry it out somewhat. Unlike hot smoking, cold smoking gives the food the flavor while not cooking it, which makes it an excellent part of the preservation process.
With a little time and a homemade or an electric smoker, you can use cold smoking to make great foods that taste wonderful. Equipment For cold smoking, you want to keep the food closer to room temperature than any sort of cooking temperature. To accomplish this, you either need an electric smoker that can control the temperature in one unit, or if you are making a homemade cold smoker, make sure that the actual smoking chamber is in a separate unit from the chamber where the smoke is being made.
A simple length of wide tubing can direct the smoke to the smoking chamber without transferring a lot of the heat. Of course, you also need some wood to smoke with! If you've ever used wood on your barbecue, you already have a good idea of what sorts of wood are safe. As a general rule, avoid woods with a lot of resin, like pine, and go for hard woods or woods from fruit trees.
Apple, cherry, hickory, and even oak wood are all appropriate for smoking. To make the wood smoke, a simple metal chip box for barbecuing set on a hot plate will create all the smoke you need without a fire. If you use an electric smoker, follow the instructions that come with your unit for cold smoking. Brining Because cold smoking doesn't actually cook the food, bacteria and such can still grow on the food, which is dangerous for your health. For this reason, food that goes through the cold smoking process often go through the brining process in order to make it salty, which in turn makes it hard for microbes to live in the food and spoil it.
Find a good brine recipe and make sure to soak your meat in it for a while. Once you've finished with brining it, you can get your home or electric smoker ready. Time The last thing that's needed for cold smoking is time.
You may have to occasionally add chips to your smoking box in order to ensure that your food is getting a constant flow of smoke, and it helps to have a thermometer so you can attempt to check on and maintain temperature in the cold smoking chamber. In cold smoking, food can be kept in the smoking box for up to several days, so make sure your setup is secure and safe, so that you're not in danger of any fires. Once you've got the technique down, you'll be smoking wonderful foods such as your own homemade bacon. Buy an electric smoker or make a smoking setup soon, and find out what depth it can add to your food.
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