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Multiple pieces being cold smoked at same time.


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11 hours ago, Ruedeleglise said:

I take it that by the lack of comment the above question by me is so ignorant that I shouldn’t have posted it!

LOL - No, that is a very sensible question. Sorry I did not get back to you sooner but I have just become a Granddad for the first time and life is a little hectic at the moment !!

On 11/12/2018 at 11:34 AM, Ruedeleglise said:

Further advice please!  Following on from relative successes I am now going to cold smoke 4 sides of salmon at the same time. My smoker has 4 horizontal racks. Should there be any adjustment to the smoking time and will the higher sides take on more smoke than the lower ones or vice versa?

There is no one single answer - it depends on how they are placed in the smoker.

If you hang them vertically without them touching then the smoke will pass evenly over all surfaces of the fish resulting in each getting a similar amount of smoke. Like this you would smoke for the same length of time if you had only one side in the smoker or 20.

If you lay them horizontally on racks then the lowest fish will tend have a large surface area close to the smoke generator which will pick up more of the "sticky" smoke components before they reach the other fillets. They will all smoke, but the one at the bottom will be more heavily smoked than the one at the top. The ways to help overcome this are:

  • Place a baffle plate between the smoke generator and the fish - an empty water tray would be fine for this. This will help ensure that the smoke travels around all the fish and does not hit the lowest one directly
  • Place the fish in the smoker skin side down. This will ensure that any direct heavy smoke on the lower fillet will deposit onto the skin side, leaving the lighter smoke components to come in contact with the flesh on top.
  • Rotate the position of fish in the smoker a couple of times during the smoke. This will help to even out the amount of smoke that is hitting each piece.

Do you need to smoke for longer? Not necessarily. There is usually excess smoke inside the smoke chamber and most of it passes out without even touching the fish. If you take the above steps then you should get an even distribution of smoke around the fish and you will not need to extend the smoking time... HOWEVER, depending on the amount of space and air flow around the salmon, the water coming out of the lower fillets will increase the moisture in the air around the fillets above - which in turn will reduce their rate of water loss. With a good air flow and a large smoke chamber volume this effect will be minimal, however at lower air flows and a cramped smoke chamber this effect becomes greater. In this case you may have to smoke for longer in order to achieve the 15-18% moisture loss in all of the fillets.

When I say you need a good air flow I do not mean that it needs to be hurricane force! It just needs to be a constant movement. You need to see the smoke emerging from the top vent with a little speed and continue upwards for a couple of inches before it dissipates. If the smoke just overflows gently out of the top vents like a witches cauldron then the air flow in the smoker will be low.

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Wonderful reply. Congratulations, it doesn’t get easier with the next ones either! 3 born in the UK but one in Saudi and the last in Canada!

Going back to smoking! ......my sides don’t have the heads on. If strung up by 2 or 3 cords to an S hook do you think they should be safe enough not to tear through?

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Push a skewer along the thick end of the fillet and then make a string loop under the skewer. That will stop the string from pulling through. The loop can then be strung on the S hook.


I keep the gill plate and ribs in place too to add additional support however just using the skewer should be fine too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are looking for a traditional style smoked salmon then you will need longer than 3 hours. I do not know how it was dried over the past two days but if it was in the fridge then I would expect it need smoking for ~12-14 hours in order to remove the water necessary. 

Ideally you should calculate the weight loss by weighing the fillet before it is cured and then after it has been smoked. You are looking for a 15-18% weight loss.

The ideal method for curing salmon is cure for 18-24 hours, rinse and then smoke for 18-24 hours. There is no need to perform a drying step in between as the pellicle well form naturally at the beginning in the cold smoke.

I would leave the empty water pan in place as it will still protect the fish from any direct heat from the smoke generator. It is thin metal and will soon take on the temperature of the warm air around it.

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Back down to 10 degs c. Not going to get up to 20? Too cold outside. What else can I do, maybe put on lit briquette piece in there? Bloody awkward t adjust things like that with all the bubble wrap around it.  Have moved it down like a skirt around the bottom. still smokin away happily. Not convinced the pro q maze with dust gives out enough heat.  The pellet tube maybe give off  more?



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Reading up it looks like some people smoke as low as 4 degs c it just takes longer to lose the weight. I will charge it up  the maze with dust again before I go to bed and leave it,shame  shame to lose the that build up, i suppose i would fire up the propane torch and heat the charcoal basket bowl a little bit to get the temp up a few degrees.  Then replace the bubble wrap will insulate that heat  in more so it will last longer. up to 11 degs now

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Just though if i get a broken fridge, it is pre insulated, perfect, drill some hole in it for vents, boom. Until Lindsey says not having that in the garden, will look like we are pikeys........arghhh. could put in garage and vent  a fan and duct out the window except touch that window and it will fall out it is so old.  New window . arghhhh......always someone to say no. no adventure, no invention, no fun. no No NO. FFS. 

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Original weight of salmon was 850 g, cured and dried in fridge 800, so that is loss of 5.88%%, therefore post smoke I am looking for min 125% weight loss which is another 77.5g to get to 722.5.

It currently still weighs 800 after overnight but is much firmer on the outside than it was so definitely dryer on the outside?.

A concern is with the insulation bubble wrap and ti in the cold there is condensation.  This a liquid smoke which i can see on the outside of the wsm  inside the bubble wrap where it has condensed  If there has been any condensation inside the wsm then I believe it will causes the salmon to be too acrid.

I am not sure this is going to turn out well but persevering.

 I it worth post smoke (like the cheese) leaving it out to relax the smoke before slicing and packing

Comments and guidance are welcome

I can see it is worth doing smoked salmon when it warmer  then slicing and packaging and freezing for up to a year. Not that it would last that long.

Next i need to get cheese and bacon on as have run out of both.  A plus is the WSM is cold smoking beautifully with a thin stream of smoke  slowly rising straight up

Also given I filled back up the dust in the pro q maze  13 hours ago, it is still going

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