Originally Posted by Pfaas
Thanks, I fully understand the guidance, and as a cook who enjoys the science of the process there are no surprises. I am still keen to hear from anyone who has done a cold smoke followed by cooking, on whether they've been successful in getting more than a faint hint of smoke. I was thinking of doing some peppers which I could add as an accompaniment to help accentuate the taste. I'm also still interested in the difference between the smoking of cheese ie rest in fridge for 2 weeks+ for flavours to mellow and other foods ie. which foods are fine straight from the smoke, and which really need leaving to mellow.
The way I prepare my salmon these days is an initial cure and cold smoke then either chilling or freezing before cooking later. The curing and smoking are best done at below 11-12 C (50 F). Using a dry cure the cure takes about 2 hours for the size of salmon we usually get in the UK and the smoke usually takes about 8 hours. I usually do this overnight when the outside temperatures are lower. This will impart a strong smoke flavour to the fish. It can be cooked and eaten immediately, however the flavour does mellow noticeably if left for 24 hours in the fridge.
Cheese takes a much shorter smoke (2-3 hours) and this really does need time to mellow. 1 week is the minimum but 2 weeks plus is desirable.
Butter takes longer to smoke as it is usually done at lower temperatures than cheese and it too benefits from being rested for at least a week.
It is relatively common for chefs to smoke meat (often duck) in the kitchens as part of the preparation. This is often done in the UK using tea rather than wood (but wood would work just as well) The meat is only usually smoked for about 10-15 minutes before immediately being cooked. The smoke flavour is quite pronounced - probably because the smoke particles adhering to the surface of the meat will be very fresh.
Smoking something like bell peppers or chilies will depend on what you are trying to achieve as the end result. If you are looking to smoke them and use them fresh then you can smoke them whole at ~200 F for a couple of hours (until wrinkled) - or for more smoke penetration cut them in half before smoking. If you are smoking to make a chipotle or chili powder then you will need to dehydrate them completely. This can take more than 24 hours in the smoker alone or you can smoke for several hours then finish off the drying in a dehydrator. To assist the drying and help smoke penetration you can make a slit in the side of the chili before smoking. These can be used immediately after smoking and do not require time to mellow.
If you are going to use the smoked bell peppers as an accompaniment then after smoking whole for a couple of hours simply cut them in half, de-seed and remove the skin before serving.
In my opinion however, a quicker way of making tasty pepper accompaniment is to get a nice hot BBQ set for grilling and place the whole peppers directly on the grate over the coals. Turn the peppers periodically and let the skin of the peppers completely char and blacken all over. Then place the hot peppers inside a zip lock plastic bag and leave to steam in their own juices for 10 minutes. When you take them out of the bags peel off the charred skin before serving (it will just rub off). If you do not have a BBQ handy this can also be done directly over the gas burners on a kitchen stove.
Edited by Wade - 2/21/14 at 10:43pm