What started years ago as a way to preserve meat when refrigerators did not exist is now gaining immense popularity owing to the fact that cold smoked meat taste simply awesome. In the eighteenth century fires were lit in the morning and meat was subjected to cold smoke to prevent the spoilage of fats in them. Today there is a wide array of smokers available on the market that allow you to cold smoke meat in the very comfort of your kitchen.
Cold smoking is the way in which the best bacon is made. Cold smoking your meat before you eat it, lends to a great flavor to the meat. It takes quite a long time to cold smoke meat to perfection and you would have to cook the meat at really low temperatures.
It might seem a little unnerving for people who are doing this for the first time because they would be more used to the heat and the searing meat. Cold smoking is best attempted in the winter months where one would not have to go through special efforts to get the low temperatures. Cold smoking actually preserves meat quite well- if you are interested in cooking it again you should definitely cook it in this manner.
There are some cases in which cold smoking is combined with wind drying as well. This is what happens when meat is hung out to dry, while keeping a low level fire burning so that the meat gets smudged with the smoke. Wind drying is good for foods like jerky. There are a lot of meat options for you if you are interested in cold smoking.
Temperature required for cold smoking
As we already mentioned it is not just the temperature of the grill, it is also the temperature of the surroundings that matter. It is always better to cook the meat on a cold day, for it would be easier for you to achieve what you are aiming for. There are some other things that would affect the temperature of the grill and the cabinet, including the amount of food and other things stored in the cabinet and the weight of the overhead.
How to cold smoke meat?
Here are the steps you have to follow in order to cold smoke your meat manually (instead of the using easy electric smokers):
- You need a wood smoker that has a firebox. In such a smoker, the smoke will get to the food through a pipe that will lead to the smoking chamber from the fire box. This will help in keeping the heat out of the smoking chamber so that your cold smoking becomes easy.
- After you have set this up, just light two or three charcoal briquettes in the starter. Use some lighting fluid to start the charcoal briquette. Wait for them to start burning and turn grey on the sides. Once it has turned grey, you can add them to the offset firebox on the wood smoker. As the charcoal keeps burning out, you have to keep lighting more and adding the same to the firebox.
- In order to increase the taste of the food and to make the charcoal burn better, add some wood chips on top of the hot coal. This will produce a lot of smoke which would influence the taste of the food. The more charcoal you add, the more wood chips you would have to add to the same.
- You would have to maintain the temperature of the smoke chamber between 80 and 100 degrees F. This is the optimal temperature for cold smoking your meat. Any more, the temperature would neither be hot nor cold. As we mentioned, you have to make sure that the outside temperature is also quite low, or your cold smoked meat won’t turn up right.
- Take the meat that is supposed to be smoked and cover it in sea salt. Place it on the grill now. The amount of time you would have to smoke the meat would vary widely. The size of the food, the texture, the cuts and the outside temperature largely affects and determines the amount of time you would have to smoke your meat.
Difference between hot and cold smoked meat
These are two entirely different ways of handling the meat. The biggest difference, of course, is the temperature in which the meat is actually cooked. Both will provide a distinctive taste to the meat.
Hot smoking does not just cook the meat, it also cures it. Cold smoking does not cure the meat, so one would have to treat the meat with some salt beforehand. As a result of the same, cold smoked meat can get quite salty. The texture of the meat would also vary, depending on how long you have left the meat smoke.
While the main advantage of cold smoking meat is awesome flavor that most people die for, it is also one of the most oldest ways to preserve meat, to be used later. When consumed in moderation smoked meat does no harm to the body, and is a feast that is worth a try.