What Is Cold Smoking and What Is It Used For?
Are you wondering what cold smoking is and what types of food are made with it? Well, you're in the right place, because you will finally find out.
On premise, cold smoking is a food processing method that allows products to last months without refrigeration. However, it is also used to create distinct flavors.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about cold smoking. So that you can shine bright with your newfound knowledge when talking to friends.
Whenever you're ready to move from unknowing to knowing, keep reading.
Cold Smoking: What Is It?
Cold smoking is a process that can be used in unison with curation to preserve and add a unique flavor to food products. In most cases, it's meat.
Some foods can be cold smoked without curing. All cold-smoked products can last for extended periods of time.
To cold smoke meat, the process is simple. First, the meat is cured to inhibit bacteria growth, but also to remove moisture. The meat is then exposed to smoke, which adds the flavor and locks-in the cure. Smoking takes lots of time, from hours to days.
The secret is in exposing the meat to smoke without overheating it. Hence, the "cold" part of cold smoking.
The food must remain at a specific temperature throughout the process. This is usually done by separating the curing chamber from the smoke chamber.
Cold smoking is an ancient practice, and it was primarily used to preserve meats for long winters. But you can perform it to enjoy the beauty of its taste.
Hot vs Cold Smoking
Hot smoking is not much different, except the process happens by using really hot temperatures. In most cases, these temperatures are high enough to actually cook the meat.
The meat is eaten quickly, usually right after the process. Because hot smoking occurs above 140 Fahrenheit, the meat does not need curing.These temperatureskill off all bacteria that can make one sick.
However, hot smoked foods are still usually marinated or cured, to add flavor to the food.
Hot smoking does not take as long, but some meat cuts can go up to a day. The true-time will be varied based on meat type and size.
Cold Smoked Food Types
The first thing that comes to mind is salmon or salami, which are the most popular of cold-smoked foods. However, there are so many other types of potential products, such as cheese.
If you have never cold-smoked, you should understand how cold smoking worksfirst. You should start with low-risk foods, such as cheese, and leave the meat for later.
This will let you practice the technique without worrying about any potential risks.
You can also try to cold-smoke nuts, tofu, olive oil, garlic, veggies, hard-boiled eggs, bacon (cooked before preventing safety risks).
Fish and sausage are the most common cold-smoked products, however, they come with a greater risk than most meats. That's because they have the best conditions for botulism to occur if they have not been handled appropriately.
Risks Of Cold Smoking
In most cases, cold smoking fits on two sides of the spectrum. It's either very easy to do and anybody can do it, or it's very dangerous and people can die of botulism.
This is an exaggeration for both sides and a disservice to the community. Information on the internet is incomplete and focused on scaring people instead of encouraging safe practice.
By understanding the risks and how you can remove them, you will be able to experience cold smoking without fear. While meat smoking does come with risk, sausage and fish is even riskier.
Cold smoking is a process, in which harmful bacteria can easily grow. That's because the meat is not cooked or cooking.
If you cure the near prior, the salt will inhibit bacterial growth, but it will certainly not kill it entirely. To ensure safety, the temperature for cold smoking should be closely assessed and retained stable.
You might be thinking about the obvious successful history of cold-smoked meats, so if it was so dangerous people would have given up on it, but it's not that easy.
Without a doubt, people have died, and some still do, because the meat was not cold-smoked properly.
And as a matter of fact, modern manufacturing methods have increased the bacterial risk for cured meats. For instance, pathogens such as Listeria and Botulism are prevalent in factorial environments because of the nature of the locale.
Botulism is especially dangerous, even though not as common as listeria, especially in amateur homemade cold smoking. Listeria can still be deadly, but it usually makes people very ill.
Ground meats also come with a high risk of infection, that's because bacteria that live in the gut are evenly spread through the meat after being ground up. If the meat is not cooked, the bacteria will grow.
Cold Smoke Safely
Now that you know what cold smoking is and how it works, you are well on your way to continue learning about this experience of crafted food.
As long as you do your research, remain sanitary, clean your kitchen and tools, as well as follow safety protocol, you will ensure that your cold-smoked foods are free from pathogens and you are safe from their harm.
If you're interested in learning more about the realm of food, check out some of our other artisanal articles on our blog.