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Cold Smoking in your Kettle BBQ

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If you have a kettle BBQ these are a great way to begin cold smoking and can be used with most common cold smoke generators.

One of the challenges when smoking in the relatively small volume of the Kettle is managing the heat that is created by the smoke generator. Even though some of these generators produce relatively little heat, even this can have an effect on certain  foods. When smoking nuts or salt for instance the heat will not be a problem, however things like cheese and butter need to be kept cool to avoid it sweating/melting. Things like cured bacon or salmon can be smoked at ambient temperatures.
When using the kettle BBQ for cold smoking it is important to keep both the bottom and top vents open to ensure a good flow of air and smoke through the smoking chamber. This avoids the build up of moisture and the deposits of unpleasant tars on the food surface.

Kettle BBQ - option 1

Firstly ensure that the bottom vents are fully open.


Place the lit smoke generator directly on the bottom bowl


Replace the charcoal grate and to help diffuse the heat from the smoke generators place a double square of foil directly above.


If you are smoking something that is particularly heat sensitive, or are smoking on a warm day, then place a foil tray of water/ice above the smoke generator.


Replace the cooking grate. To prevent the food that is being smoked from getting discoloured by any residue that may be remaining on the grate, place the food on clean cake cooling racks to smoke.


Depending on the type of smoke generator being used you may find that the smoke preferentially emerges from a specific side. If this is the case then when replacing the kettle lid it is a good idea to locate the top vents on the opposite side. The effect of the top vent location though is minimal as the whole smoking chamber will fill with smoke regardless.


Kettle BBQ - option 2

If you find that the smoke generator directly inside the BBQ still generates too much heat you can reduce this further by placing it below the Kettle and using a cardboard skirt. This is also the best method when using the hotter generators like the tubes or the sieve. If the Kettle has an integrated ash catcher directly underneath this is best removed.


Take a large sheet of card (from a large cardboard box) and wrap it around the bowl of the smoker to form a skirt. Tape it in place so that it forms a smoke tight seal. Next cut a small flap near the bottom to allow for the smoke generator to be slid in and out underneath.


The top of the kettle can then be set up exactly as for option 1 - but without the smoke generator in the bowl.


After Smoking

With all cold smokers it is important to remove the food from the smoking chamber as soon as the smoking has finished. One of the byproducts of burning of sawdust and pellets is water vapour, and without the constant flow of air through the smoking chamber condensation is formed that will quickly cover the food.

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Great ideas here Wade, might well give this a whirl in the coming weeks, I want to get a big batch of cheese smoked for gifts for Christmas, and will need to give it time to mellow before then.


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That is great Simon. You can also use a black waste bag in place of the cardboard if you are placing the smoke generator underneath the kettle.

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