During my recent attendance at BBQ School we learnt a number of new techniques. I figured it was time to give some a shot and decided to try cold smoking.
Cold smoking is a technique where you apply smoke to food without heating it so that it gets that delicious smoke flavour but is not actually cooked. In the class we used it to make smoked salmon but it is also often used for bacon, salami and cheese.
I thought I would start with cheese as it’s the cheapest and least complicated, plus cheese rules everything around me.
Marge: Have you been up all night eating cheese?
Homer: I think I’m blind.
There are a number of ways you can cold smoke foods and lots of different gadgets available. I want to keep it simple to begin with and used the same method learnt in BBQ School.
To begin with you will need smoking chips or pellets to provide the smoke flavour. I ordered a number of pellets from Aussie BBQ Smoke, a Victoria based manufacturer of all things smoking – and I have to say they made it across the Nullabor bloody quick!
There’s a whole variety of vehicles for smoking pellets available on the internet but again, I wanted to keep it simple. I decided I would finally get hip and ‘on-trend’ and buy a mini deep fryer basket to hold the pellets for my cook. They only cost about $10 if you can find somewhere stocking them that hasn’t been visited by every single restaurant in Perth.
Load up your basket with pellets – I went with the ‘Big Red’ from Aussie BBQ Smoke which is 1/3 red gum 1/3 red box (Julia Gillard?) and 1/3 tea tree.
Light up the top of the basket with a blow torch, you don’t want a raging fire, you just want it to smoulder away slowly to create lasting smoke.
As it was a warm day I also put some trays of ice in the BBQ to keep the temperature down.
The smell of the big red pellets was amazing, it was like a delicious bush fire in my backyard.
I put the cheese in and smoked it for around 3 hours. I do need to work on vent control or perhaps light the pellets less next time as the temperature did start to run up a bit at one point but overall it worked fairly well.
Cold smoke flavours develop over time – I’m now eating the cheese two days later and it’s delicious, but I’ve got a couple of blocks vacuum sealed for a week or two and I think that’s going to take it to the next level.
There will be more cold smoking experiments to come – next on the agenda is double smoked bacon which went in to a brine yesterday!
Let me know if you’ve done any cold smoking and if you have any tips or recipes!