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Cold smoking is a unique method of infusing foods with smoky flavour without actually cooking the food. You’ll need a cold smoker generator (such as the ProQ or Bradley) to attach to a smoker as well as wood to smoke: dust, chips, or briquettes depending on the specifications of your smoking setup.
Two distinct categories of cold smoking exist: Meats, and non-meats. Non-meat products that are commonly cold smoked include cheeses, nuts, and salt. Such products are simpler to cold smoke since no curing is involved; they can be smoked simply as they are. Almonds, for example, are a great way to test out your cold smoking capabilities. They only require a few hours of smoking and work well with a variety of different woods.
Meats such as bacon, chorizo, or salmon require curing before being smoked to remove water that can otherwise serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. The moisture is drawn out with salt, either in wet brine or with a dry rub. Smaller items like fish filets may only require an overnight cure; larger cuts of meat such as hams or pork belly may require several days. After washing and air-drying, meats are ready for the cold smoke treatment.
Whether you’re smoking oils and nuts or a fridge full of bacon, adding smoky flavour through the cold smoking process adds a tremendous depth of flavor to food. Set up your equipment, find the right wood, and get to it!