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How To Make A Cold Smoker, Build A Smokehouse
Delicious Mouth Watering Cold Smoked Salmon
How to make a cold smoker
As a necessary introduction, I would first like to explain a little about what cold smoking is before I go into the details on how to make a cold smoker. Cold smoking has nothing to do with smoking outdoors in the winter (just thought I'd clarify that!).
What cold smoking is, is a technique that has been used by many people in many different parts of the world to create a smoked product from something that does not necessarily need to be cooked during the smoking process. Like smoked salmon and smoked cheese, both of which would fall apart (melt) if you were to smoke them in a hot smoker.
Cold smoked products are not limited to just salmon and cheese, though. There are of course many other cold smoked products available at a consumer level and can be found at your local supermarket and or delicatessen. There is bacon, hams, cheeses, peppers, salmon, cod, and many different varieties of jerky (beef, deer, kangaroo, emu, etc), just to name a few.
Now you (the reader) may be thinking 'Why do these products need to be cold smoked as opposed to hot smoked?' and the answer is, most (not all) of these products have already been submitted to some kind of preservation before smoking or will be submitted to some kind of preservation after smoking. Or it could be a case of not being able to withstand the heat, like salmon and cheeses.
Smoking is a method of preserving foods, but can also be used simply just to enhance the flavor of certain foods. I absolutely love the irresistible smoky flavor and aroma of smoked foods, and often make my own cold smoked beef jerky, smoked cheeses, and smoked eggs.
A question that came to my mind when I first discovered cold smoked foods, was 'How is it possible to make cold smoke, when we all know that smoke is a by product of fire, and fire produces heat?' Heat that we don't want! So that is what I would like to teach you how to do next.
It's very easy to do, and it will only cost a few dollars to purchase the necessary items. Some of the items you may already have, and others you will have to buy..
You will need;
A large cardboard box, (rectangular is better), or you may like to buy some wood and make a wooden smoke box. If you choose to buy wood, make sure it is untreated. With your cardboard box you will need to cut the flaps off at one end so you can just pick it up and place it over your smoke source and whatever you are smoking. You will also need ventilation holes toward the top end of the box so that the smoke can be forced up and out of the box. Creating a consistent flow of new clean smoke all the time.
You will need some wire racks to place your produce on. Stainless steel mesh is perfect. I use a round cake cooling rack 30cm in diameter for my smoker. The reason for this is I also use a round terracotta pot (the shallow type) and the round cake rack fits perfectly inside the pot.
A smoke source. I use a soldering iron for this (make sure it is brand new, never before used) and I have a stainless steel food can that I half fill with my smoke chips (cherry) and I then insert the soldering iron into the can. Then it is just a matter of plugging in the soldering iron and whammo! instant cold smoke!
For safety reasons, it is best to do your smoking in a well ventilated area (outside). Place your terracotta pot on a couple of bricks and make sure your soldering iron doesn't come into contact with the cardboard box. You will need to smoke cheese and salmon for about half an hour or more. Beef jerky needs to smoke for about 4 hours and requires the smoking temperature to be at least 70 degrees celsius (150 F).
For more information on smoking (hot and cold) there are loads of great websites that have all the information you will need.
In the meantime, Happy Smoking!
Cardboard Box Cold Smoker
Cold Smoking and Salt Curing Items!
Can't Build Your Own?
There are many reasons why you may not be able to build your very own smokebox in your garden. One of those reasons is that some cities will not allow you to.
In the case that you live in a built up area, ie (big cities) you may not be able to build a smoker. There are ways around this. The simplest solution is to just buy a small table top smoking unit for your kitchen or outdoor patio.
Check out these great smokers below.