Cold smoking bacon for the first time.

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andrew lb

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Original poster
So 12 days ago I started curing 10lb of pork belly/side meat using the handy calculator found over on diggingdog and at the time wasn't really sure if i was going to hot or cold smoke it and finally decided on the cold method. Since my two smokers were an ancient electric smoker made of sheet metal and my UDS, i had to come up with a solution to make cold smoke. I initially looked at those perforated metal tubes for pellets which seem to work great, so as usual i did the opposite and came up with a venturi setup based on some other designs i found out there.

I started with a empty 1lb propane cylinder which i removed the valves, filled with water (to make sure completely empty), drained, and cut open. This was to be the pellet holder where i put some steel mesh 2" from the bottom to keep an air gap under the pellets. The air comes from a 4w aquarium pump which goes through a 6" thin steel tube, and the opening is about 3" past the Brass T threaded into the top of the cylinder. I then added some copper pipe with a T about half way down which feeds condensate into a glass container. I tested it out yesterday without the drip bottle and the smoke was just about perfect and after 4 hours there was a mess on the brick patio. That seems to be fixed with the bottle in place now. Here are some pics. The PID is just to monitor the temp inside the UDS since the PT100 thermocouple is pretty accurate.


I started smoking the bacon about 2 hours ago and the amount of smoke seems to be pretty good. It's a combination of Apple pellets and some hickory "splinters" i made by taking a fist size chunk of the wood and smashing it in a shop press i have. Not sure what inspired the idea, but it worked. Ill post up how the bacon looks in the morning. I'm not sure how many total hours i should smoke it for. I've seen opinions ranging anywhere from 8 hours to 30+ hours.
 

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SmokinEdge

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That looks like it will work fine. Keep the temp below 80* and life is good. Also be careful of the temperature difference of meat and chamber. Cold meat in a warm pit can condensate moisture giving an acrid smoke taste.

As far as time goes, this is partially subjective to taste but 2-4 hours as a minimum. If you are going longer it’s best to smoke for the 2-4 hours then back into the fridge and repeat the smoke the next day giving a rest between sessions.

The process of cold smoking is as much about slightly drying the meat, which concentrates flavors, as it is smoke flavor.
 

andrew lb

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Half way through night two of cold smoking. Temp inside the UDS is 69'f. Tonight i added a computer fan inside the UDS so it keeps the smoke moving around instead of stagnating since you don't get that natural convection like when hot smoking. I'm gonna get some sleep and will pull them off around 6am and vacuum seal them. They'll have had a total of about 16 hours of smoke so that should probably be enough. The Trager apple pellets gave the fat a distinct yellow color. Actually it made the whole inside of the UDS that color.

You guys suggest the bacon be allowed to "rest" in the fridge for a couple days to even out the smoke flavor before slicing and frying?
 

andrew lb

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Original poster
Thread starter
nice setup you have, looking forward to see how your bacon turns out!
I love my UDS. I've done a bunch of pork shoulders, ribs, brisket, and even a pastrami a while back. With the PID controller i just set it and it keeps the temperature plus/minus 2-3 degrees f by turning on the little blower fan as needed to keep 225'f.

The cold smoker setup i kinda just threw together after seeing this crazy British guys setup. IMO he went a bit overboard for a UDS, but to each their own.
 

SmokinEdge

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You guys suggest the bacon be allowed to "rest" in the fridge for a couple days to even out the smoke flavor before slicing and frying?
Correct, bag it and rest at least 2 days. The smoke will even out and the flavor will mellow through the slab.
 

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