One of the real delights of the Big Green Egg is that it makes a really good ‘cold smoker’. Clearly this was not the original intention but it really does work very well for this. Cold smoking though can be done in any reasonably large container as long as there can be an airflow through it. I tend to reserve cold smoking for the cooler part of the year as I am more comfortable doing it when the temperature is closer to 10C or less rather than 20C. For that reason, I also tend to do it more as an overnight smoke rather than during the day, simply because it is usually cooler.
I use the ProQ smoker (which I bought from the very helpful people at Hotsmoked.co.uk) to generate the necessary cold smoke for the smoking process. The little metal maze that is filled with ‘wood dust’ (which I again got from Hotsmoked.co.uk). It is lit at the start of the maze and simply allowed to smoulder, which it does for around 12 hours. Full details of the basis curing and smoking can be found at Basic smoked Salmon, together with some very simple safety precautions.
I prefer to smoke foods when there is relatively low humidity (no rain) and not too much wind which can sometimes speed up the rate at which the sawdust smoulders, giving a shorter smoke. As the weather forecast had predicted a nice crisp weekend we cured the salmon with a basic sweet cure on the Friday night (see Basic smoked Salmon) and it was ready to smoke on the Saturday night. The salmon had been sitting in the fridge throughout the day developing a dry surface that would absorb the smoky aromas, and in the evening, it was popped onto the stainless steel grill above the smouldering ProQ. As I had also been curing a piece of pork loin to make bacon that was added to smoke at the same time (more on this in a later post). The smoking medium was a 50:50 mix of Beech and Alder which gives a lovely subtly finish ideal for the salmon and fine for the bacon. The lid was closed and the vents set and the whole set up was left to sort itself out till morning.
In the morning, on opening the EGG there was that glorious smell of freshly smoked salmon, which in turn had taken on that lovely deep colour. The colour and the aroma tells you that the taste will be superb! All that is then left to do is to wrap them in clingfilm and put both smoked products back into the fridge for the smoky aromas to mellow a little before eating. If you can restrain yourself for a few days before trying it, it will be all the better for that!
…………………. but if you are desperate for a taste – go for it!!