What is Hot Food Smoking?
Hot food smoking is cooking meat via indirect heat and introducing smoke produced from burning wood pellets or wood chips in a tin foil pouch, smoker pot or smoke box. Hot smoking can be done is a kettle, hooded BBQ or Gas BBQ, using a vertical or horizontal smoker will produce the best results. Hot smoking is a slower cooking process e.g. a chicken will take up to 3 - 4 hours at around 100C.
What is Cold Smoking?
Cold smoking is exposing cold smoke to food without actually cooking the food. Cold smoking is used to cure mainly fish and is an exacting process which will require reading up on. Today cold smoking / curing is mainly done on a commercial scale. Enthusiasts today tend to add cold smoke and freeze for preservation. Popular items to cold smoke are: cheese, paprika, salt, pepper, galic etc.
How do you smoke food?
Food smoking is not complicated, just make your fire add meat and wood chips. You may want to marinade the food the night before.
What are the benefits of smoking versus traditional BBQ?
To get good results from barbecuing food requires careful timing so that cooking occurs when the fire is just right, not too hot or cold. Additionally it is very much a hands on process as the meat will need to be constantly watched so it doesn't burn and moved around so that the bigger pieces of meat are above the hottest part of the fire. Smoking on the other hand is a leisurely process, you make the fire add meat etc. and then leave it to its own thing - the result also are to die for. With food smoking you will need to start a number of hours before as it is a longer process, typically anything from 3 - 12 hours depending on what you are smoking.
What food can I smoke?
All types of meat including Chicken, Joints, Ribs, Brisket, Pork Fish, cheese and ofcourse vegetables.
What creates the smoke?
By adding wood chips, wood chunks will produce a rich stream of smoke. You will need a container to hold the wood chips. Make a pouch out of tin foil, add a handful of chips and punch a small hole on either side. This is then place on the fire. Make 6 or so at a time. You will need no more than 2 - 4 at any one time.
Can I use my existing barbecue to smoke food?
Yes, but it must have a hood and big enough so the meat does not sit directly above the fire (indirect cooking). A gas BBQ with a hood will also work.
Where do I put the water bowl?
Water bowls are supplied with most vertical smokers and go between to coals and the grill. You can put herbs, beer, wine, brandy, cider in the bowl. The water evaporatesto increase the humidity which keeps the food nice and moist. and succulent.
Why Smoke your food?
Smoking enhances food with rich natural flavours. Since mankind starter using fire to cook their food we have always enjoyed the unique flavour created by adding smoke. Slow cooking is done at abou 200F for 3 - 12 hours and this makes the meat tender and very tasty.
Do I have to use specially prepared wood?
Yes, you will need to source wood that has not been treated as these chemicals will normally contain toxins that can be harmful. Best to buy wood chips etc. from a specialist supplier. Most supermarket and DIY stores stock wood chips.
Do woods give off different flavours?
Yes each type of wood e.g. Oak and Apple each have their own unique flavour, these flavours suit specific meat types (please see Smoking Wood Flavour Chart at the bottom of the page).
What is water smoking?
Water smoking is where a water bowl sits above the fire and raises the humidity, resulting in moist, tasty and succulent food.
What temperature should I smoke food at?
Temperatures are lower than those used to BBQ and vary according to what you want to cook (please see temperature chart at the bottom of this page).
How much smoke do I need to cook?
You can produce smoke for the whole duration of the cook, however the meat will take on most of the smoked wood flavour in the first 2 hours.
Do I need special charcoal for food smoking?
Definitely, use only the best quality charcoal or briquettes. Use briquettes for extended cooking times as they burn consistently for a long time. Also consider coconut shells which burn long and hot - eco friendly option too.
Wood Flavour Types
Wood Smoking Characteristics
Alder has a delicate hint of sweetness. Great for pork, fish, chicken and wild fowl.
Almond has a sweetish smoke flavour. Good with all meats.
Apple has a mild fruity flavour with a touch of sweetness. Good with chicken and pork.
Ash burns quite fast with a distinctive flavour and slightly sweet. Use with fish and red meats.
Birch is a medium hard wood with a hint of maple. Good with chicken and pork.
Cherry is one of the most popular wood for food smoking. Use with chicken, pork or beef.
Grapevines produce a rich and fruity smoke. Best with chicken, red meats, game and lamb.
Hickory has a sweet and strongish bacon flavour. Good with pork, ham and beef.
Maple has a smokey mellow and slightly sweet flavour. Best pork, poultry and cheese.
Mesquite has a strong earthy flavour and burns very hot. Use with beef, fish, chicken and game.
Mulberry has a sweet smell, bit like apple. Good with pork, ham poultry and game birds.
Oak produces a lovely smoked colour and light flavour. Use with beef, chicken, pork, fish, game & wild fowl.
Orange has a tangy citrus smoke and leaves a lovely golden colour. Use with chicken, pork, fish & game.
Pear has a subtle smoke flavour, a bit like apple. Great for chicken and pork.
Pecan is like hickory, but milder with a nutty taste. Use with beef, chicken, pork and cheese.
Plum has subtle smoke flavour. Great with chicken, turkey, pork and fish.
Walnut produces a heavy smoke - best mixed with lighter woods like apple and pear. Use with red meat
For More information contact For Food Smokers on 01483 889666 – www.forfoodsmokers.co.uk