My Cold Smoking Options
For many of us, true cold smoking (smoker internal temperature below 90°) has always been a challenge as there are so many things that can be cold smoked. We search for an easy to operate cold smoker that allows temperature and smoke control without spending a large amount of money for a commercial smoker. After experimenting throughout my smoking career with dozens of contraptions and gimmicks as many do, I now have several easy choices that allow control of the heat and amount of smoke.
Pre-roasted nuts which can easily take 90° heat are one of the more forgiving products to cold smoke while soft cheeses are one of the least. It’s my opinion that cheese will begin to change its consistency at 80° therefore, the hard cheeses are pulled when the smoker internal temperature reaches 70° to 75° the soft cheeses will be pulled when the internal temperature reaches the mid fifties to 60°. This requires a true cold smoke.
The choice of smokers to use at any one time depends on the product being smoked, the amount of product and the ambient temperature.
Amerique with a modified smoke collector
Located on top of the Amerique is a garage sale Little Chief smoker (two for two dollars) with the heating element removed and ten ½ inch holes drilled in bottom so not to constrict air leaving the Amerique. Lid is affixed to the bottom with two metal screws. Aluminum tape was used to seal pan door.
Temperature and smoke is controlled by the amount of wood and the temperature setting on the A/Q smoker. A temperature of 20° or less above ambient temperature can easily be maintained using this method. A colder smoke can be reached with this unit by using the Cookshack cold smoke adapter with ice and placing the adapter and ice above the temperature probe. This is used to smoke small amounts of cheese, breads, crackers and nuts etc.
Example of use: Raw nuts can be smoked / roasted in the bottom while cold smoking pre-roasted or peanuts in the top simultaneously.
Poly cutting board with holes drilled for smoker exhaust along with indentations drilled for easy rack placement. The Little Chief rack is placed over the exhaust vents of A/Q, product placed on the racks then inverted Little Chief is placed over rack.
Smoking Dandelion blooms prior to battering and deep frying.
This is my Rube Goldberg Smoke generator (made from a bee smoker) used before acquiring a more practical and convenient commercial one. Wood chips, chunks or pellets are placed in canister. The tubing from a small aquarium air pump is connected to the copper tubing on the smoke generator. The copper tubing extends into the neck of the smoker about one inch. When air is turned on, a ventury effect is caused which draws fresh air through the bottom of the smoker and pushes smoke out. The wood is ignited in the bottom with the use of a small torch.
Amerique with Smoke Daddy smoke generator attached to custom door. The Smoke Daddy smoke output is controlled by the use of a small variable speed aquarium air pump. The more air applied to the generator, the more smoke and heat exiting the generator. Once a good draft has started the air can be completely turned off. When using this setup, the A/Q’s power is off and is used only as a smoke collector.
The doors can be interchanged within fifteen seconds.
Depending on the amount and type of product being smoked, the temperature here can be controlled to within 3° to 18° above ambient temperature. Buy using any combination, the Cookshack cold smoke adapter with ice and or the smoke collector alone, a colder smoke can easily be obtained and is used on warm days. This is used for cold smoking spices and larger amounts of cheese and meats.
Now, this is cold smoking.
"Cold" cold smoker
Uses of this converted milk cooler are a portable storage cart for SM 009 -2, FTC container, refrigerator or by changing doors and using the refrigerator mode, a "cold" cold smoker. A temperature of 44 degrease can be maintained.
This is my 22 cubic feet cold smoker made from a beverage cooler and is used for even larger amounts of cheese, fish, meats, hams, etc.
By using a wood stove (which is under the deck) as a pre-cooler or heat sink, the smoke temperature in this unit can be held at a negative ambient temperature or at 2° above ambient, maximum. The cast iron stove absorbs heat generated from the smoke generator before exiting and traveling through pipe were it is further cooled before entering the smoker.
The purpose of an external firebox when cold smoking is more than using it as something to conveniently contain a smoke generator. It is also used as a heat sink, so the larger the better, personally I use a cast iron wood stove, which absorbs a large amount of heat before further traveling to the product chamber. By using a firebox that acts as a good heat sink will allow a shorter run to the product being smoked.
Because of the narrow temperature difference between the smoke generator and the collector a fan is needed to draw the smoke into the collector. The fan which was original equipment in the cooler also insures good smoke circulation around the product.
Pictured here is salmon being cold smoked prior to canning.
The pellet smoker can be used with any of the units when a lighter smoke is desired.
Using a Smoking Gun to pump cold smoke into a cold Cookshack Amerique.
Cold Smoke Generators
Pictured left to right, Smoking Gun, Tray type smoke generator and a Smoke Daddy being used and all fueled with the same type of Hickory pellets.
The Smoking Gun, opens a whole new world to smoking. If it can be consumed, it can be smoked using this unit. Although it cannot duplicate the deep penetration that a long cold smoke would produce, it can apply a layer of smoke to most anything by using such fuels as woods, spices, herbs or teas. This unit produces no discernible heat and can produce a color of smoke from blue to white depending on the type of fuel being used chips, pellets, or dust. This could be an affordable means of smoking foods in areas where open grills or smokers are not allowed, such as apartments or condos.
The tray type smoke generator will produce a wispy plume of smoke for a relatively long period of time depending on the fuel being used, pellet, saw dust or powder. It can be used for adding additional smoke to a grill or when a long slow smoke is desired. One or both ends can be lit if more smoke is desired. It does produce heat so if using it to cold smoke, modifications may or may not be needed to the smoke collector or the way the smoke is delivered.
The Smoke Daddy, is able to apply a large or small amount of smoke in a short time. It can be used for large walk in smokers or the smaller ones by adjusting the variable speed air pump. By using chips chunks or pellets alone or in combination, once a draft is started, the air pump can be turned off. Like the AMNPS the Smoke Daddy can produce a little heat when cold smoking so modifications may be needed.
Smoke can be used as a seasoning, a preservative or both. Just like a seasoning, there are many different kinds. Using what is available, smoke for the length of time to meet your individual taste.
True cold smoking can open a whole new world of smoking. Hope this gives those interested some ideas on how to cold smoke. If it causes some of you die hard’s sleepless nights, welcome to the crowd.
Understanding Smoke Management
AMNPS & Smoke Daddy Myths?
11th commandment: Thou shalt not say “I’ve nothing else to smoke”
Edited by Mr T 59874 - 1/14/17 at 4:15pm