Easy food smoking at home. How to smoke your own bacon!
photo credit: tellerian.com
Applewood, or mesquite?
You might think that you need to invest in an expensive smoker if you want to start making your own home smoked bacon, fish or sausages. These commercially bought smokers will work well, but you can easily use your backyard BBQ to get great results...for free!
My last hub talked about curing your own bacon, so I'm going to use smoking bacon as an illustration of the technique used to cold smoke any food.
What does cold smoke mean anyway?
Cold smoking refers to applying smoke to a food, without adding any extra heat. You are not trying to cook the food, that will come later, only add a delicious hardwood smoke flavor. Hot smoking refers to a technique that uses heat as well as smoke to cook and flavor at the same time. Smoking BBQ ribs is an example of this.
For cold smoking all that you need are:
A backyard BBQ.
A few lumps of charcoal.
A bag of hardwood chips.
If you're doing bacon, you should leave the meat exposed to the air in the fridge overnight. You're looking for something called the pellicule to form. The pellicule is a tacky skin that you will be able to see. The smoke will adhere to this and create great tasting bacon.
Once you're ready to start:
Take your hardwood chips and start soaking them in a bucket of water. The more saturated with water they are (at least half an hour) the more smoke they'll release. Apple and Hickory are two great woods to use. Mesquite is a little too aggressive for bacon.
Remove the lower grate from your BBQ and put in an old aluminum pie plate, or cast iron fry pan. Turn on the gas, and get a few hunks of charcoal burning by placing them directly on the flames. Once they are good and lit, grab some of your soaked wood chips-- try to shake them to remove the excess water--and add them to your pie plate or cast iron pan. On top of these wood chips, add 2-3 lumps of burning charcoal. You don't want to add too much, as you're not trying to create heat, only smoke.
Put the grate back onto the BBQ and lay your slab of bacon on. Close the lid and watch as the smoke starts to billow out. You want to smoke the meat for about 3-4 hours, if you notice that the smoke has eased off, add some more wood chips (and charcoal if needed).
And that's all there is to it. You can use this same technique for fish, ham, sausages, even homemade chipotle peppers!The only cautionary advice is to not add too much charcoal. If you add too much then you will no longer be smoking...you'll be cooking
- Here's my hub on easy homemade bacon curing
Three ingredients and about 15 minutes of work are all you need to make the best bacon you've ever tasted!
- My Restaurant in Chiang Mai, The Salsa Kitchen Mexican Restaurant
Come on by anytime to talk about making bacon or anything else!