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Cold smoking practices question...

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by indaswamp, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So... @daveomak

    I am cold smoking some Bacon today. I started the smoke last night @ around 10pm. I hung the slabs out on poles in the house for about 4 hours to let them warm up to ambient temp. to prevent condensation on the meat, then loaded them into the smokehouse.

    The low last night here was 47*; it was 52* when I started the smoke. The smokehouse walls were warm from the heat of the day so the bottom grate probe was running 60* and the top was 62*.

    I have no doubt the meat was warmer than this, so no problem with condensation last night.

    Here is my question:
    What about when temperatures are rising (during the day) with the in coming ambient air being warmer than the meat? I have no doubt the meat cooled overnight in the smokehouse, but it stayed warmer than the smokehouse temp. as long as the temps. were falling. This morning, ambient temp. was 47*, smoke chamber temp. was running 52*.

    With the meat cooler than the ambient incoming air, is condensation a concern?

    I know in the old days, they would restart the fire every morning and smoke until the fire went out. Did it matter? Is it better to cold smoke when temps. are falling (say after the warmest part of the day) than to start in the morning with rising temps. of the day?

    Curious......
     
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dave should catch this soon. This guy's opinion?...We ain't Painting Million Dollar Ferraris, here! Does it really make a difference if there is a couple of streaks from condensing water running down the belly. You, I, We are our worst critics. Most folks would even notice on a whole Slab, and once sliced, no one will see the streaks...JJ
     
    indaswamp likes this.
  3. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't care about the visual streaks on the meat, it's creosote sticking to the condensation that is the problem-and too much of it will give a very bitter result to cold smokes, especially on cheese.

    I'm always striving to improve the products I make. Why make it if I can't make it the best I can?
     
  4. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    And thanks for posting your opinion chef jj. I appreciate the fact that you are a straight shooter.
     
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had my smoker going for a batch of cold smoked bellies... Put the bellies in and the smoke ran backwards out the MB mod... I thought they were warm enough... Been in the kitchen on racks for a couple hours...
    Evidently, the cooler bellies cooled off the smoker enough the air inside the smoke chamber got colder than ambient... that makes for heavier air... I had to turn the smoker on to warm it and the bellies up... Not a big deal.... I'm just glad I was there and saw it happen..
    During the day, when the temp rises slowly, the pellets burning "should' keep the smoker above ambient... You can always shut it down and restart in the late afternoon... It's just one of those things.... You think you've got a handle on stuff, the the handle ............
     
    indaswamp likes this.
  6. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Flip side of this whole deal is that as the ambient air warms, relative humidity goes down; so there is less moisture in the smoke chamber to condense....

    Maybe the temp. is rising so slowly that the meat can keep up? Or maybe it only matters if the meat is super cold, with a large difference between the meat and ambient temp.? Hmmm more to ponder...
     
  7. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for your reply Dave.
     
  8. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So did you learn anything here Inda. Interesting thoughts here.

    Warren
     
  9. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Will know when I sample the bacon....
     
  10. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'll be glad to help need some eggs and biscuits.

    Warren
     
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks...And thanks for a great answer. The streaks were the first thing that came to mind. I don't usually think or worry about creosote as I wait for TBS from Todd's Pellets, so creosote has not been an issue. I only smoke cheese for 2 hours, so here too I've not had a bitter flavor.
    I can see how condensation can be a problem, depending on the smoker and smoke being generated. Good Catch...JJ