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Cold Smoking on a hot day.


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I've got a side of Salmon I need to cold smoke this weekend. With daytime temps predicted to be around 30C not the best time to do it!

So I plan to use my Callow with the water tray full of Ice( should i add salt?), rather than much much larger cold smoking cabinet. then start it off around 6pm and then Smoke through the night.  using a big Pro Q generator.

Should I also be adding wet towels and any other tips, also as it will still be warm at 6pm is this the best time to start?   would say midnight to mid-day be better?



Edited by martin_b
i must learn to spell.
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I would maybe try and avoid it if it was me as the longer the Salmon sits in the Danger zone i'd be worried. I'm unsure if curing removes this risk. But if you really need to do it then I would try and do it after the sun has gone down. I know when my WSM sits in the sun the dome temp can easily go over 50c. or at least keep the callow in the shade. Maybe some others can advise you better. 

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There are a couple of misconceptions in the thread which need to be addressed

"cold" smoked salmon is best smoked at between 20-24 C - so a moderately warm day is ideal. In my commercial cold smoker I set the thermostat for 23 C and it smokes in there for 24 hours. Do not let it go above 25 C - so smoking on really hot days is best avoided. Yes you can put ice in the water tray - but be careful that you dont make the chamber too cool so that it causes water and heavy tars to condense onto the fish

Why is it safe to smoke at temperatures usually classed as being in the Danger Zone? The salmon curing process relies on 3 preserving principles:

  1. High salt
  2. Removal of water
  3. the presence of antibacterial tars from the smoke

The initial application of salt crystals onto the fish surface will result in such high salt levels that any surface bacteria will be killed/denatured. Some spores can withstand this but in the shelf life of the smoked salmon these will not be a problem.
The initial salt also starts the process of dehydration. If you cure your fish on top of a wire rack you will see just how much water is removed during the curing period
The main role of the smoker is not to smoke but to remove even more water. This relies on the temperature in the smoker being quite high (20-24 C) and the gentle rising heat from the smoke generator causing a continuous flow of air over the surfaces of the fish. During the 12-24 hour smoking period almost all of the free water is removed from the fish and you may even start to see the fish oils begin to drip out.
Although the smoke tars are a mild anticeptic they are mainly there for flavour.

On very hot days smoke overnight - or over 2 nights if required.

My Lab testing has shown that salmon smoked in this way remains sterile (vac packed at <4 C) for at least 21 days - though I do put a 10-14 day Use-by date on it.

Yes you can re-freeze the salmon once it has been smoked. The initial freezing actually helps to begin the water removal and the thawing process can result in about 3% of the water being lost. The curing and smoking is also a form of food processing (as is cooking) and once it has been processed it is then safe to "re-"freeze.
There is a bit of a food safety myth about the re-freezing of food. Many foods can safely be refrozen once thawed providing they are thawed correctly and kept chilled once defrosted. Repeated freezing though will often be detrimental to structure of the food - however it actually helps start the preserving process with smoked salmon.
Most types of fish can safely be re-frozen however as a general rule it is best to cook (or otherwise process) before re-freezing.

I hope this helps and you may find this helpful too


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Looks fine, but its now in the freezer.

Just two supplementary questions, is it ok to smoke overnight for 12 hours, then store in the fridge and smoke a second time.? and what do you recommend doing in winter? ( add heat artificially?) 





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