Bacon cold smoked vs hot

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luddite

Newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2023
9
4
NW Arkansas
Not sure if this goes here or in hot smoked bacon. Please move it if appropriate. Thanks!

This is the first time I’ve done a hot smoke on bacon. One batch to 150, the other to 155. Hickory on both.

I’ve sliced and fried a little of it as a test. Taste is good— not a lack of flavor, just a little different than what I get with cold smoked hickory. And it has a little different consistency. More chewy and burns before it crisps. (Flame on stove on lowest setting. Cast iron skillet.

Here’s my questions. Are the results inherently different between hot and cold smoking or am I imagining things? Texture especially.

Thanks!
 
All depends on the actual process of either.

Cold smoking, if done correctly, should be a process over a couple days to a week. Smoke sessions shouldn’t be longer than about 5 hours a day, then rest. The real purpose is to dry the meat a bit, this was a method used to extend shelf life by reducing AW (available water) in the meat which further slows bacterial growth. As far as cooking the aged or dried bacon will cook faster and crisp at a lower heat (less water in the meat to evaporate) this is a bonus for heavy sugar cured bacon, usually less burning. However today most people go rouge with cold smoke and do either a much shortened version or just do something like a 10 hour long smoke and done. Either way there is minimal drying and the product is nothing like historical bacon.

Hot smoking is the fastest method and is usually completed in about 5 hours. That’s a big time saver. Most hot smokers only take bacon to 145* IT, this is safe per the USDA. The bacon at this point is edible as is, like a cold cut. And usually burns less in the pan with high sugar because it’s already technically cooked and only needs to brown. The smoke flavor is not as pronounced but the color externally is usually a nice reddish brown.

Tough bacon is more the result of the meat itself and not the cure or smoking method.
 
All depends on the actual process of either.

Cold smoking, if done correctly, should be a process over a couple days to a week. Smoke sessions shouldn’t be longer than about 5 hours a day, then rest. The real purpose is to dry the meat a bit, this was a method used to extend shelf life by reducing AW (available water) in the meat which further slows bacterial growth. As far as cooking the aged or dried bacon will cook faster and crisp at a lower heat (less water in the meat to evaporate) this is a bonus for heavy sugar cured bacon, usually less burning. However today most people go rouge with cold smoke and do either a much shortened version or just do something like a 10 hour long smoke and done. Either way there is minimal drying and the product is nothing like historical bacon.

Hot smoking is the fastest method and is usually completed in about 5 hours. That’s a big time saver. Most hot smokers only take bacon to 145* IT, this is safe per the USDA. The bacon at this point is edible as is, like a cold cut. And usually burns less in the pan with high sugar because it’s already technically cooked and only needs to brown. The smoke flavor is not as pronounced but the color externally is usually a nice reddish brown.

Tough bacon is more the result of the meat itself and not the cure or smoking method.
Very good info!
 
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