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First ever cold smoke - advice


Phlashster
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OK gang, 

I have never cold smoked before so i have a few questions.

My Pro Q CSG and dust has arrived from James @Smokewoodshack.com. (Lovely bloke, amazing customer service)

I will be using the Pro Q Frontier, both stacks so the bacon is a good distance away. Temp today is not supposed to get any warmer than 9C and the smoker will be inside the the shelter, so the sun won't warm it up. I assume this is OK? 

Its the Angus and Oink Christmas cure and I wonder which wood you might think will go best? Options are Oak, Apple, Maple, Beech, Cherry and Hickory.

How long do would you seasoned pros recommend for a first try? 

Thanks, Phil.

Edited by Phlashster
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All dependant on taste, I prefer a milder smoke taste than a stronger one, personal preference would be beech and apple mix, but if you like a stronger one Oak or Hickory would do the job.

I have settled on 9 hours for smoking my bacon on average for a not too powerful finished smoke flavour also. I tend to look for a slightly colder outside temp than 9c for bacon, but sure you will be fine. Tend to leave mine in the fridge in a sealed container or clingfilm for 3-5 days for the smoke to settle afterwards , before slicing and packing

Don't think their any set rules when cold smoking bacon, All trial and error till you find your bacon nirvana.

Also a full ProQ smoke generator will burn for 16 hours  so if intending to do less than that, fill the maze accordingly from the outside in for the amount of time you need i.e. 6 lengths of the maze from the beginning should give you 9-10 hours , save wasting any dust, or if you have to go out and leave it unattended. 

 

Edited by sotv
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Thanks @sotv,

Smoke underway now. I went with Apple. Monitoring the temp in the chamber and it hasn't gone above 11C. So hopefully OK. 

As I am using apple, I have also put some mature and extra mature cheddar in. These will get 3 hours. 

I am going to take the bacon to 8-9 hours. I did fully fill the CSG (I was excited!), but will use less next time. 

I was going to leave both bacon and cheese for a couple of hours then vac pac. Leave the cheese for at least a week but more maybe before trying it.

The bacon will be used next weekend anyway. 

Does that sound about right?

Phil.

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Apple sounds a great choice, i find it not to overpowering, but still a nice flavour with cheese and bacon. But as with everything down to personal preference.

Sure everybody does it different, I put the cheese n a kitchen bag in the fridge  for 24-48 hours to let the smoke disseminate through the cheese fully before vacpacing after smoking and leave it for at least 2 weeks before eating. Bacon should be good for next weekend if you leave it a couple of days  or longer like the cheese before slicing and packing/eating in my experience

Is the cheese or bacon over each other? as they both can leak a bit during smoking, just watch for contamination if so, If either side of each other should be fine.

Just see where it burns to when you take the bacon out and will give you an idea where to fill it to next time.

You'll be a convert by xmas I am sure.

I have 3kg of cheese, 4 kg of bacon, 1kg of nuts and 3kg of salmon to cold smoke still for xmas for me and family members. I hope I haven't left it all to late. Got a timetable but weather can be so unpredictable at this time of the year

Edited by sotv
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1 minute ago, sotv said:

Is the cheese or bacon over each other? as they both can leak a bit during smoking, just watch for contamination if so, If either side of each other should be fine.

Side by side. 👍

2 minutes ago, sotv said:

Just see where it burns to when you take the bacon out and will give you an idea where to fill it to next time.

A good plan. 👍

Is it sad that I am quite excited?

Phil.

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It all went well. :)

The cold smoke generator used 4 sides after 9 hours. Still a good few hours left in it. I just pushed the smouldering bit back in the maze to stop it burning. 

I had a nibble of the cheese before vac packing it. It is already really nice. If it only improves with time, then it is going to be amazing.  

The bacon is now packed too, will be sliced at the weekend. 

Thanks, Phil.

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5 minutes ago, Icefever said:

Phil are you going to use it over a week or two???  if not it's better to leave it in a block.

Hi Ice,

Yes, will be used in less than a week.

It is a small test block to see how the Christmas cure takes smoke. Depending on how this tastes, then the three larger ones currently curing will get the same.

Phil.

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16 hours ago, sotv said:

Is the cheese or bacon over each other? as they both can leak a bit during smoking, just watch for contamination if so, If either side of each other should be fine.

For food safety it is always best practice to smoke raw/cured meat and ready to eat foods separately. Yes, the salt and cure will have inhibited bacterial growth however there will still be some that remain viable. Inside the smoker you will have an air flow running upwards through the smoking chamber which can spread any spores that are there.

If the bacon is on the bottom the rising air could contaminate the cheese above. If it is on the top the bacon could drip onto the cheese.

The risks are lower with the cheese on the top (or to one side) however you are then likely to then store the cheese for longer before eating - and you are likely to be eating it uncooked.

My recommendation would be in future to smoke the cheese first and afterwards smoke the bacon. The cost of the extra dust used will be relatively small.

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4 minutes ago, Wade said:

My recommendation would be in future to smoke the cheese first and afterwards smoke the bacon. The cost of the extra dust used will be relatively small.

Thanks Wade, will do this next time.

They were side by side and as the bacon was small, it was on one half of the 18" grill with the cheese over the other side. No danger of touching for sure. 

Is there much risk? If so, i will dump the cheese. Or use it for nachos and mac cheese. :) 

Phil.

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Don't dump the cheese - just dont store it for too long before eating. The risk is small but commercially it would not be permitted.

It is also a good idea to place a separate rack (e.g. a cake cooling rack) on top of the cooking grate before putting in the food. This can then be removed and washed between smoking batches, further reducing any risk of cross contamination. This is less important when hot smoking as the BBQ heat will effectively sterilise the grate - but with cold smoking this does not happen. 

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I have one of these step up grills quite good as an alternative to a cake rack and provides extra cooking space with the ProQ Frontier if Hot Smoking also available for other different models in the ProQ range. Get a lot of use out of mine.

step-up-grill-17_720x.thumb.jpg.ba0eb3b011c64868d68fe5b6c3af3d72.jpg

Glad it was a success yesterday 👍

 

 

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6 minutes ago, sotv said:

Glad it was a success yesterday 

Thanks @sotv, bacon hasn't been tried, but the cheese has taken smoke beautifully. 

28 minutes ago, Wade said:

Don't dump the cheese - just dont store it for too long before eating. The risk is small but commercially it would not be permitted.

Great, don't fancy making everyone ill on the first attempt! When reading up, i saw so many articles and pictures of cheese and meats being smoked at the same time. Happy to learn and stay on the safe side. Thanks again.

29 minutes ago, Wade said:

It is also a good idea to place a separate rack (e.g. a cake cooling rack) on top of the cooking grate before putting in the food. This can then be removed and washed between smoking batches, further reducing any risk of cross contamination. 

My grates usually go through the dishwasher between uses anyway, so this one is at least covered.

Thanks everyone, Phil.

 

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OK, I have been curing my own bacon for a few years. Normally unflavoured and never ever smoked any.

I have just tried a piece of this after slicing.  

AMAZING. The light applewood smoke with the Angus & Oink Christmas cure is wonderful. I don't like too much smoke on bacon and this is a lovely balance of flavour.

I think...it is the best bacon I have ever tasted. I haven't necessarily said that about any of my own before.

I am 46, I have eaten a lot of bacon. :)

I am so glad that there is another 3 large chunks in cure right now. 

IMG_20191213_081916.thumb.jpg.32d4b67814f152759c88432159e26379.jpg

Thanks for your help everyone,

Phil.

 

 
 
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