Learning how to "cold smoke"

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by scottyp1292, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. With fishing season around the corner and a lake near by that stocks Landlocked Salmon, I'm interested in learning how to cold smoke.  I've got a Brinmann electric smoker that generally runs around 225-240 (depending on the temperature outside).  I've also got a Brinkmann Gas / Charcoal Combo grill with the ability to use as a smoker.  I haven't tried smoking on the charcoal yet, but I've done plenty of chicken and ribs on my electric smoker.

    My question is, is it possible to cold smoke on either one of these?  If so, how do I go about doing it?

    Thanks!!  [​IMG]
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have never cold smoked, so not of much help to ya there ! Hang out here for a bit as there's some folks on here that will be able to answer your questions ! Good luck !
  3. I would think you could cold smoke on either one of those.  I haven't tried cold smoking yet, but am expecting my A-Maze-N tube smoker today and plan to get started.  I have searched here on the forum, there is a ton of information here, enough to make me feel comfortable enough to start.  I read somewhere about cold smoking a steak before you grill it, I'm very interested in trying that and figure that's a good way to gain a little experience before I move on to things like salmon and bacon.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  5. chunkygravy

    chunkygravy Newbie

    Cold smoking fish has to be done below 86F. Otherwise the proteins in the fish sill start cook and leak out.  Fattier fish is the best, like salmon. 

    The steps for cold smoking fish are

    1. Cleaning - clean by washing under water as most bacteria will be on the outside of the fish

    2. Curing/Brining - You can use a typical 80 degree brine: 1 Gallon Water, 4 cups salt, 2 Tbsp Cure#1 (Don't skip the Cure#1 !!!).  Brine for 30 min for every 1/2 inch thickness of the fillet.

    3. Drying - Keep in fridge overnight so the pellicle will form on the outside - the stickyness will help absorb the smoke.

    4. Smoking - Smoke indirectly and don't let it go above 86F. Best around 65F.  If it goes over 86F, it will start to cook and you might as well just Hot Smoke it from there on in.

    5. Storing - You can keep it in the fridge for a few days or freeze it. I usually do a 4-5 lb salmon at a time, cut it up and freeze it.

    I just finished pulling a cold smoked salmon out of my smokehouse today!  

    Hope that helps....


    scottyp1292 likes this.
  6. I've been curious about cold smoking also, how long would you leave your salmon in the smoker? Also, what's the benefit of cold smoking if you're going to have to cook it anyway.
  7. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You don't cook it. You eat cold smoked salmon as is.

    I smoked haddock for as long as 8 hours. But I like a strong smoke flavour. Start with 3-4 hours. Let it rest in the fridge for a few days. If not happy with the results go for another 3-4 hours.
    sseriouss1 likes this.
  8. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Large meat cuts would be cold smoked daily for a few hours...for as long as a week . Traditionally this was done in winter time (in cold climate countries) so at the rest time between smokes they wouldn't have to refrigerate - wasn't an option anyway ages ago.

    Of course meat was only cured with salt and spices. Still is actually.
    sseriouss1 likes this.
  9. Ahh, that makes it the way my wife like it, like the store bought stuff. The stuff I had when I was a kid was dryer like it had been smoked over a fire almost.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  10. So, other than bacon, what types of meat would you cold smoke and would it be cooked later?
  11. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I cold smoked fish and pork tenderloin then freezed them for cooking. I wouldn't it again - rather hot smoke and gently reheat. Not worth the time/effort.

    In my opinion cold smoke only ready to eat meats/fish/cheese. Don't cook cold smoked meats if you used nitrites/nitrates on them.
  12. OK, thanks for the tip. I think cold smoking is not for me.
  13. It's going to depend on your personal preference......all sorts of stuff can be cold smoked.
    Don't let the preferences of others sway you....try it for yourself.

    I often see folks referring to smoke temperatures above 85 F as cold smoking...no...just no...don't do it.....a temperature that cooks fish and melts cheese sure as hell isn't cold smoking!

    smoking b likes this.
  14.   [​IMG]
  15. I agree 100%  [​IMG]
  16. Yeah, that's what I was thinking but I'm tired and ain't gonna go there!!! LOL


    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  17. I know exactly how you feel Martin!  [​IMG]
  18. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Ugh I have to wait a long time to cold smoke something down here in not so sunny raining but hot Florida. I love lox and that's going to be my first cold smoke. Gonna get a AMNPS and use it in the warming box of the princess
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  19. An AMNPS is great for cold smoking - you will really like it. In the meantime, if you get desperate to cold smoke something you're welcome to drive up here & do it at night - I'll provide beer, homemade wine, sausages, snack sticks & whatever else we might need...  [​IMG]
  20. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Ummmmm SB I wish I had something other than beer to offer. If you came in July we could go scalloping.

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