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Cold smoking

Cold smoking what?

Smoking is a cooking technique that relies on the use of smoke to give foods a unique flavor and aroma. Cold smoking is a variation of this technique that is used to smoke delicate foods such as fish, cheeses and cured meats without altering their consistency or structure. In this article we will explore the secrets of cold smoking and how it can be done effectively.

The principle of cold smoking

Cold smoking is based on the use of a special smoker that generates smoke without developing too much heat. In this way, the food is smoked slowly, without undergoing actual cooking. A cold smoker is a device that connects to a burner or smoke generator and allows you to control the amount and temperature of the smoke that is produced. In this way it is possible to regulate the intensity of smoking and the time the food is exposed to smoke.

What wood to use for smoking meat?

Wood is the fundamental element of cold smoking. The choice of the type of wood to use depends on the type of food you want to smoke and the flavor you want to obtain. For example, beech wood is widely used for smoking salmon, while oak wood is well suited for smoking cheeses and red meats. In general, it is advisable to use hard, seasoned woods to obtain a quality smoke.

The wood for the cold smoker can be found in different formats:

  • wooden chunks (larger pieces than normal flakes)
  • wood chips or flakes
  • wood pellets
  • wood dust

Not all smoke generators work with different wood formats, for example some do not tolerate dust, check the instrument's indications for the most ideal one.

The smoking process

Once the food has been prepared and the wood to be used has been chosen, it is possible to proceed with smoking. The cold smoker should be turned on about an hour before you start smoking food, so that the smoke stabilizes. The foods are then placed inside the smoker and smoked for a period of time that varies depending on the type of food and the intensity of the smoking. Typically, foods are smoked for a few hours, but in some cases the process can last several days.

What foods can be cold smoked?

Cold smoking requires low temperatures, around 30°, and takes much longer than traditional hot smoking, sometimes exceeding 48 hours.

This smoking technique can be experimented with any food but is typically used for some types of meat, fish, for spices such as salt, some cured meats such as speck, hams, salamis and cheeses or butter.

Food preparation

Before smoking foods, it is important to prepare them properly. Typically, foods to be smoked are salted or marinated for a few hours before being smoked. This process helps give the food a more intense flavor and protects its structure from dehydration. It is also important to dry foods well before smoking them to prevent smoke from condensing on their surfaces.

Smoking as a versatile cooking technique

Cold smoking is a cooking technique that requires patience and attention, but which can give great satisfaction in terms of the taste and aroma of foods. To cold smoke effectively, it is important to choose the right wood, prepare foods properly and carefully monitor the smoking process. In this way, you will be able to obtain high quality smoked foods, with a unique and original flavor and aroma.

Cold smoking is also a very versatile cooking technique that lends itself to many interpretations and uses. For example, cold smoking can be used to create tasty appetizers or to enrich the flavor of a main course. Additionally, cold smoking can also be used to preserve foods, as the smoke acts as a natural preservative.

Ultimately, cold smoking is a cooking technique that requires commitment and dedication, but which can give great satisfaction in terms of taste and aroma of foods. With the right attention and a little practice, anyone can become an expert in cold smoking and create unique and original dishes that will conquer everyone's palate.