55-gal., drum cold smoker..draft/ventilation...from total newbie

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by munsterfan, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Do I understand correctly that I need to create 3 to 5, 1+ inch sized holes in both the top and bottom of my smoker-unit (the vertical positioned 55-gallon drum) to create a  'draft' for good cold smoking? I'm smoking, salt, garlic and chilis.

    Will this reduce the wet drops inside?

    Will it lower the temperature too much, or? 

    The fire-box is an old Weber connected by about a meter of dryer flexi-hose to the lower portion of the drum. The fire-box sits about 12 to16 inches below the bottom of the 'smoking-drum'. 

    Any advice is helpful. 
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    IMO, you need about 2-3 times the exhaust opening that there is on the inlet...    The air inside the smoker expands with heat, and to eliminate condensate, you need good air flow and the smoker temp must be above ambient....
  3.  Is  Ok, I'm still not totally clear, the inlet is dryer ducting. So I need many large exhaust holes at the top of the smoker and none on the bottom? 

    ONLY cold smoking with a temperature between 20C-30C...so can't imagine 'heat' so to speak. 
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Serious air flow is needed during the cold smoking process to eliminate moisture....


    Cold Smoking

    Cold smoking at 52-71° F (12-22° C), from 1-14 days, applying thin smoke with occasional breaks in between, is one of the oldest preservation methods. We cannot produce cold smoke if the outside temperature is 90° F (32° C), unless we can cool it down, which is what some industrial smokers do. Cold smoking is a drying process whose purpose is to remove moisture thus preserving a product.

    You will find that different sources provide different temperatures for cold smoking. In European countries where most of the cold smoking is done, the upper temperature is accepted as 86° F (30° C). The majority of Russian, Polish and German meat technology books call for 71° F (22° C), some books ask for 77° F (25° C). Fish starts to cook at 85° F (29.4° C) and if you want to make delicious cold smoked salmon that is smoked for a long time, obviously you can not exceed 86° F (30° C). Cold smoking assures us of total smoke penetration inside of the meat. The loss of moisture also is uniform in all areas and the total weight loss falls within 5-20% depending largely on the smoking time. Cold smoking is not a continuous process, it is stopped (no smoke) a few times to allow fresh air into the smoker.
  5. OMG really? THANK YOU!  This is really valuable information RE the stop-start.

    For the foreseeable future (and all can change on a whim); we are only smoking salt, chilis and most important Garlic. ...y

    and  the inside of the smoker unit was very wet yesterday from me (in all my newbie wisdom) didn't let ONE whisper of smoke escape! .

    Tomorrow we start again but we must drill holes in the bottom of the smoking drum, yes??  and ...hmmmm....in the upper quadrant of the vertical drum close to the top or IN the actual  lid? The lid  is a sheet of heavy steel which we load down with stones so as not let out the smoke?

    Is this correct? OOOORRR Am I making Cold Smoking faux-pas?

    For the next 4-8 weeks the outside temperature will be below 27C... when it gets warmer we'll extend the the ducting between fire and smoking drum and/or bury the ducting. 

    I look forward to hearing from you as I'll need to do the drilling before dark.

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