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Food smoking offers fantastic scope to create complex enhanced flavours across a wide range of foods and dishes. Working with both hot and cold smoking techniques you can bring any food type to the food smoking table and the diverse range of equipment, woods and flavours allow for extensive experimentation. The following recipes are intended as a guide only. Adapt these to your own taste and to the particular type of food smoking technique you are using.
From the traditional to the experimental
There are few limits to those foods which can be hot smoked. Home smoked food does have an edge over some commercial products, particularly when 'smoked' does not always mean the traditional smoking process but can be sprayed on or dipped. Consider smoke as a flavour and use as you would a strong spice, so that it complements rather than obliterates the taste of your food. Subtlety can pay off. Don't feel you have to stick to traditional foods such as salmon, game and bacon, most foods will benefit from this flavour infusion from seafood to chillies to cherry tomatoes.
Use the following recipe ideas as a springboard for your own ideas and don't be afraid to adapt recipes designed for conventional ovens, the third dimension of wood smoke flavour can easily be added to recipes requiring roasting or steaming.
Rubs are commonly used in hot smoking as dry marinades to help intensify flavours. Just a basic seasoning of salt and pepper can be used to draw out excess moisture and help the smoke flavour penetrate. Add any spices of your choice to create more complex flavours or use an off-the-shelf rub.
For very long and slow cooking methods you need to use an indirect cooking method in a charcoal barbecue set up. This is where the heat source does not sit directly below the food, but is set to one side, with the food set to the other. As a result the food cooks in the gentler chamber heat rather than from the more powerful direct heat from the coals.
Hard to overcook
Cooking at low temperatures and with the addition of a moisture releasing water pan in equipment such as the ProQ charcoal smokers means that food will become more and more tender and moist the longer it is cooked. For hit and miss cooks, this is a great advantage as there is little danger of the 'burnt to a cinder' characteristics of barbecuing.
Easy to oversmoke
Don't overdo the smoke flavour. This is usually taken on by foods during the initial stages of cooking, particularly if the food has been pre-marinaded. At a certain point the meat is sealed and piling on more smoke flavour will only lead to a bitter taste. Also carefully select the wood flavour to suit the food you are cooking. Don't use the most powerful flavours with delicate fish and white meats, aim for a complementary pairing to suit robust or less heavy food flavours. For more guidance on wood choice, see our Wood Flavour Tasting Notes.
Food Smoking and Health
Hot smoking is a healthy way to flavour food without the use of salts, fats or oils. There is much disinformation about the carcinogenic content of smoked foods, however, research conducted by the CSL Food Science Laboratory in Aberdeen, revealed that the wood burning process produced a complex group of compounds known collectively as PNEHs. These compounds are also naturally occuring and found in natural fossil fuels, fruits and vegetables. In fact, surprisingly it was found that the PNEHs levels in lettuce and asparagus are higher than in smoked foods.
TRICK & TREATS Smoked Salted Caramel Apples
* 6 Apples
* 250g Soft Brown Sugar
* 10g Coarse Sea Salt
* 2 tbs Golden Syrup
* A mid flavoured wood chip - we used Almond from our Speciality Woods range.
* Juice of one Lemon
* 2 or 3 star anise (optional)
* Wooden skewers
Prepare your smoker. Aim for a low to medium heat and add your wood smoking chips. Place the sugar and salt into a foil pouch. Add the star anise. Place on the smoking rack and leave to smoke for around 1 hour.
Cut the apples horizontally into 1.5cm slices. No need to peel or core. Discard the stalk and opposite ends. Mix the lemon juice with 100ml of water and douse the slices with the mix to prevent them browning
In a pan add the golden syrup to the smoked sugar and salt mixture. Heat up until the sugar and salt dissolves and it begins to caramelise. You can test whether it has reached setting temperature by periodically putting a small dollop on a clean cold saucer. Once it has set, place the skewers into the apple slices and dip into the caramel mixture. Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
You're ready to serve!
RECIPES - Hot Smoking
Hot Smoked Sausages
* Any pork sausages of your choice
One of the simplest yet most rewarding ways to enjoy hot smoked food. Just place your sausages on grill rack, add a handful of cherry chips to your smoker box and smoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the thickness of the sausages. The sausages won't be as browned/blackened as with a traditional bbq result but will be super tasty and succulent.
Spicy Pork Tenderloin
* Pork loin
* 2 teaspoon Spicy Rub (try any of the Quiet Waters spice rubs designed for pork, or the Gordon Rhodes Quick Hot Rub
Roll the meat in the rub. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate overnight. Hot smoke for just an hour and a half over your choice of wood chips or chunks. The loin is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 65°C. The leaner the meat the less cooking time is required. Slice thinly and serve. Makes a great starter.
Slow Cooked Spare Ribs
* Pork ribs - two 1.5kg racks
* 1 tablespoon of a spicy rub suitable for pork (see tenderloin recipe above)
* BBQ sauch (homemade or shop bought)
Trim off the underside membrane and any loose fat.
Dry with paper towels and coat in the rub. Add any additional herbs or spices to your own taste.
Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.
Baste the ribs with the bbq sauce and allow the meat to reach room temperature.
Cook for around 5 hours, adding oak chunks during the first 2 to 3 hours.
Baste the ribs every hour with the bbq sauce.
Wrap in foil for final 2 hours, then place your cooking grill directly over the heat and sear the ribs on either side for 30 seconds to brown and caramelise the sauce coating
'Low & Slow' Hot Smoked Pulled Pork
* Pork shoulder joint (aka Boston Butt) with the shoulder blade in. Approx 4 to 6kg
* Spice rub: based on paprika, sugar and chilli (try our off the shelf Gordon Rhodes rub for speed)
* Marinade: 250ml apple juice, 100ml cider, 75g muscovado sugar, 30ml Worcestershire Sauce, 25ml soy sauce, 3 tsp of the dry rub above
* Sauce: 250g muscovado sugar, 150ml cider vinegar, 75ml Worcestershire Sauce
* Oak, hickory or maple wood chunks
Allow a minimum of 7 hours cooking time.
Remove the skin, leaving as much of the fat layer as possible. This will render out during cooking and helps to keep the meat moist.
Using a marinade injector fill with the marinade mix. Make many small, deep injections rather than large deposits which will leak out again.
Dry the meat surface and apply the rub, ensure an even coating. Wrap in clingfilm and leave for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight in the fridge.
Allow to reach room temperature, meanwhile, prepare your heat source and fill the water pan 3/4 of its capacity with hot water. If using a bbq, place the coals to one side for indirect cooking.
When the coals are ready, add 3 or 4 wood chunks and top up as necessary during the first 3 hours of cooking. After 4 hours the meat will be sealed and will not take on more smoke without the meat tasting bitter.
Allow to cook, leaving any top vents open whilst using the bottom vents to regulate temperature. Top up the charcoal partway through.
When the internal temperature reaches 92°C the pork is ready to 'pull'. Remove from the smoker and allow to 'vent' uncovered for 15 minutes. A bark will form on the pork. Then wrap tightly in foil and allow to rest for around 1 hour.
To pull, use two forks and aim to create fairly big chunks. Overworked pulled pork is stringy and lacks texture. Serve with bread, coleslaw and the homemade sauce mix.
Spicy Beef Brisket
* Joint of brisket (unrolled)
* Spicy Rub - one of our off the shelf rubs by Quiet Waters or Gordon Rhodes, or make your own
* Can of cola
* Baste: 200g muscovado sugar, 100ml cider vinegar
* A robust wood smoke flavour - try oak, whisky oak or mesquite wood chips
You can adapt this recipe to omit or increase the spicy content.
Select a brisket with a 5mm layer of white fat and marbling running through the meat. This renders out during cooking and helps the meat stay moist and tender.
Marinade the meat using a marinade injector with cola. A strange ingredient you might think, but one which effectively breaks down some of the meat tendons for a more tender result. Make many small incisions rather than injecting in large amounts at once.
Brush the meat with oil and then coat liberally with a spicy rub. Wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
Bring to room temperature whilst preparing your smoker or barbecue. Establish the coals and if using a barbecue, position these to one side for indirect cooking.
Place the meat on the grill rack and cook at 110°C at a rate of 1 and a quarter hours per lb of meat.
You can also create a baste, which should be applied hourly, though you can successfully cook brisket without one. Mix muscovado sugar with cider vinegar and add a little of any remaining spice rub.
When the internal temperature reaches about 90°C the meat is cooked. Wrap the meat in foil and leave for a further hour or so.
Remove from the smoker and allow to rest.
Slice thinly, against the grain and serve.
Quick Whisky Oak Smoked Steaks
* Rib-eye or rump steaks (you need those with a little fat)
* Seasonings of your choice. Try one of the Quiet Waters rubs.
Lightly coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roughly ground mixed peppercorns.
Use whisky oak chips.
Sear the steaks on both sides, then cook over the wood smoke flavour for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, turning part way through.
St Austell Steak Parcels
This is an original recipe by Ian McKend at Macs BBQ back in the early days of the development of the ProQ smokers, but still a delicious twist on beef.
* 4 sirloin steaks
* 12 rashers of bacon
* 1/4lb mushrooms
* Crumbly blue cheese
* 1 red pepper
* flat leaf parsley
* salt & pepper
Season the sirloin steaks with salt and black pepper to taste
Place the bacon rashers on both sides of the sirloin steaks
Slice the mushrooms and the red pepper and place on one of the bacon layers. Crumble the cheese over the mushrooms and pepper and sprinkle with roughly chopped flat leaved parsley.
Roll the steak up into parcels and tie with string. Brush with olive oil or butter.
If using a water pan, fill with water and add sprigs of rosemary. Use oak wood chips for the smoke flavour. For a more traditionally smokey flavour use hickory or mesquite and to introduce a mild sweet smokey flavour try apple or cherry woods. Place the steak parcels directly onto the grill rack and smoke for 1.5 to 2 hours.
When cooked, remove the parcels from the smoker and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice thickly and serve with a rocket and baby spinach salad.
Whole Smoked Partridge
* 6 dressed partridges (we get ours from the local shoot, or try your local butcher)
* 1 litre water and 1 tbs salt for brine mixture
* 250g butter
* 2 shallots, fresh parsley, juniper berries
This recipe can also be used for pheasant and grouse.
Mix together the salt and water and completely submerge the birds in the brine. Leave for 2 hours in the fridge.
Drain the birds and rinse thoroughly with cold water. It's important to remove all salty residues.
Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place the lightly crushed juniper berries, quartered shallots and chopped parsley into the cavity of the birds. Brush the skin generously with butter.
Add a few juniper berries to your water pan.
Smoke in cherry or apple chips for 2 hours.
Smoked & Spiced Venison Haunch
* 5 to 6lb leg of venison
* Dry rub - spicy or herby according to taste.
* 2 cloves garlic & fresh rosemary
Allow approximately 5 hours cooking time.
Rub the venison leg with olive oil and coat with your spicy rub. Wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
Make a few slits in the surface of the meat and stuff with garlic slices and whole rresh rosemary sprigs.
Add a glass of red wine to the water in your water pan along with more sprigs of rosemary
Use a strong wood flavour - oak chunks are ideal or try hickory or mesquite.
Cook for 4 to 5 hours (the meat can be served pink) and allow to settle for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Beech Smoked Whole Chicken
* 3-4lb whole chicken
* 2 celery stalks, 1 onion and 3 bay leaves
* Beech wood smoking chips or chunks
Wash the chicken inside and out and blot dry.
Season the inside cavity with salt and add the roughly chopped celery, onion & 1 bay leaf and season the skin with coarse sea salt and crushed black pepper
Fill the water pan with warm water and add the remaining 2 bay leaves.
Use beech for a gentle smoke flavour. Or try cherry, alder or oak - all great with chicken.
Place the chicken on the grill rack in your barbecue or smoker and cook for 3 to 4 hours. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Also try cooking your chicken upright on a chicken rack or 'beeroaster', this allows the smoke to penetrate more evenly. Your end result should be beautifully moist chicken.
Smoked Honeyed Chicken Breasts
* 4 chicken breasts, with skin on
* 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, fresh ginger
* 2 tbs runny honey
* 2 tbs light soy sauce (or dark if preferred)
* Apple or Maple wood smoking chips
Finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger and mix together with the honey and soy sauce in a large bowl.
Add the chicken breasts, mix well and allow to marinate for 2 hours.
Prepare your barbecue or smoker and fill the water pan. Add a dash of dry white wine and some fresh ginger.
Use cherry, maple or oak chips
Smoke for 1 to 1.5hours or until cooked through.
Serve with lightly stir-fried vegetables.
Smoked Whole Christmas Turkey
* 1 medium sized turkey
* Your choice of a herbs and spices rub
* 1 x 100gm jar/tin pesto
* 150gm butter, at room temperature
* 4 garlic cloves
Allow 5 to 6 hours cooking time.
Mix together the pesto, butter and fresh chopped garlic to form a paste
Gently lift the turkey skin from the neck end and massage about 3 tablespoons of the herb and butter paste into the skin. Distribute as evenly as possible.
Rub the remaining paste onto the outside of the bird and sprinkle with your rub or a selection of herbs and spices.
Make sure the bird is at room temperature. Meanwhile prepare your smoker or barbecue. Add fresh herbs - try rosemary - to the water pan and use cherry chips or oak chunks. For a mores seasonal take try chestnut. The smoke flavour will be absorbed most readily during the first couple of hours of cooking. No need to add more wood products after that.
Place the bird in your smoker and allow to cook. Keep the top vent open and regulate the temperature with the lower vent.
Check the internal temperature of the turkey after 4 hours of cooking at between 90°C and 105°C. It should reach 75°C when it is cooked.
Note: The smoking process will darken the skin of the turkey but this doesn't mean it is burnt. In addition, the flesh will have a slight pink halo from the smoke flavouring not to be confused with undercooking. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.
Hot Smoked Mackerel
* 4 to 6 whole mackerel, gutted with head on
* coarse sea salt, herbs of your choice
* hickory wood chips, just a handful
This recipe can be adapted for any whole fish, all of which we find are best smoked in their natural state, so there's no need for oils or sauces.
Rub the fish with the salt and herbs and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Rest the fish for 20 minute before eating.
Whole Smoked Fish
* Any whole fish such as trout, sea bass or bream
* White wine
* Fresh lemon or lime, fresh bay or tarragon, seasoning & spices to taste
We find that whole fish is best smoked in its natural state, so there's little need for sauces or too much by way of spices, but this is entirely a matter of individual taste. Gut the fish but leave the head on
Place the whole fish flat on the grill rack or hang from a fish hanger by placing the hooks through the eye sockets. The fish hanger is fitted to the ProQ Frontier and is available as an accessory for all other smokers. You may need to remove the grill rack to create the required hanging space.
Add fresh herbs of your choice and a glass or two of white wine to the water pan to create aromatic steam in which the fish will cook.
Place lemon or lime slices in and around the fish.
Use alder wood chips or pellets for a traditional smoked fish taste.
Cook for approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on temperature. Remove from the smoker and eat with fresh green salad and home made chips!
Hot smoked salmon with horseradish and creme fraiche sauce
* 4 salmon fillets
* lemon, fresh dill
* black pepper
* for the sauce: fresh horseradish (if available), creme fraiche and fresh tarragon
This is a basic recipe for hot-smoked salmon. You can embellish the recipe to your own taste by experimenting with herbs, marinades and sauces.
Place the fillets skin side down on the the grill rack. Squeeze fresh lemon over the flesh and add a pinch of pepper and fresh chopped dill to taste.
If using a water pan, fill with warm water plus a dash of white wine and fresh dill.
Use alder or oak wood chips and smoke for 3/4 hour. Remove from the smoker, cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with a horseradish and crème fraiche sauce. Grate fresh horseradish into 200gm of crème fraiche and add chopped fresh tarragon. Use horseradish from a jar if fresh is not available.
Hot smoked salmon in the Camerons Stovetop Smoker
* 4 salmon fillets
* fresh dill
* black pepper
Place a tablespoon of Camerons wood grains in a heap on the ribbed base of the Camerons Stovetop smoker. Try Alder for a subtle smoked flavour or Oak for a more robust smokey taste.
Add the drip tray and grill rack and place the salmon fillets skin side down on the the grill rack. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, freshly grated pepper and chopped fresh dill to taste.
Slide the lid on and put the smoker on your choice of heat source. Allow to smoke for around 40 minutes. Serve with fresh salad and hot crusty bread.
Whole oak roasted salmon
* 1 large whole fresh salmon (or two smaller whole salmon)
* For the marinade: 750ml water, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 15g fresh coriander, 30ml olive oil
* 1 tablespoon of both salt and brown sugar
Combine the marinade ingredients and marinade the salmon overnight in the fridge. Remove and rinse fish with water.
Place the salmon on tin foil (so it's easier to remove from the grill pan when cooked) and add a sprinkling of fresh or dried herbs.
If using a water pan, fill with warm water and add the remaining marinade mixture.
Use oak wood chips and smoke for approximately 2 hours depending on the size of the fish(es).
Hot smoked salmon with teriyaki sauce
* 4 to 6 salmon fillets
* For the sauce: fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 2 shallot, juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp maple syrup
* fresh coriander and 250ml white wine
Chop the ginger, garlic and shallot finely and mix together with the soy sauce, maple syrup and lime in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens to a glaze.
Place the salmon fillets directly on the grill rack, skin side downwards, and add the glaze topping to each.
Fill the water pan with water and add fresh coriander and a glass of white wine
Use hickory wood for a distinct smokey flavour and smoke for approximately 45 minutes. Serve with lightly stir fried green vegetables.
Lime and Star Anise Smoked Scallops
** This gourmet recipe has been supplied by Michelin star chef Mark Dodson from our local restaurant, The Masons Arms in Knowstone. www.masonsarmsdevon.co.uk
* 12 king scallops
* Dressing: juice of 1 lime, 50g caster sugar, 25ml fish sauce, 25ml soy sauce, 20ml rice wine vinegar, 20ml vegetable oil
* Wood smoking mixture: 1 lime peeled and juiced, 5g star anise, dried lime peel, 75g demerera sugar, oak wood chips
Lightly season the scallops. Leave to reach room temperature.
Blend the dried lime peel with the star anise, mix in the sugar and oak chips. Place in the stainless steel smoker box and place on hot coals.
Place the scallops on a layer of foil and smoke for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile whisk together the dressing ingredients in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the scallops and pan fry or heat under a grill until they brown.
Serve with an oriental style salad and the dressing.
Recipe supplied by Martin Dorey, author of The Camper Van Coast, www.martindorey.com
* freshly gathered mussels
* oak wood chips (or try maple or alder for a gentler smoke flavour)
This is an ideal recipe for food on the hoof down at the beach. It will work with a simple portable bbq or stainless steel smoker and makeshift fire.
Pick the mussels at low tide.
Prepare your bbq and place the closed mussels in a foil pouch on the grill rack. Close the pouch if your portable bbq doesn't have a lid.
Allow the mussels to steam in their own juices for 10 minutes, then add a handful of wood chips to your fire and as the mussels open the flesh will be infused with oaky smoke flavour.
Hot Smoked Cherry Tomatoes
* cherry tomatoes on the vine at room temperature
* fresh basil
* coarse sea salt
* beech, cherry or maple wood chips
Season the tomatoes and place in a mesh tray if you have one or on foil over your grill rack.
Sprinkle with roughly chopped basil.
Hot smoke over beech, cherry or maple for around 30 minutes until the skins are soft.
Hot Smoked Field Mushrooms
* 4-6 large field mushrooms
* olive oil and balsamic vinegar
* watercress and baby spinach to serve
Drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Smoke for around 30 minutes using beech chips
Serve with the watercress and spinach and a good salad dressing.
Smoked Half Jackets
* 4 large baking potatoes
* 4 sweet potatoes
* Quiet Waters Bourbon Street Rub or similar
* fresh chopped herbs
Halve the potatoes lengthways and add a dob of butter to the cut side together with salt and pepper seasoning and your fresh chopped herbs such as basil and oregano.
Use a spicy rub with the sweet potatoes.
Placed the potatoes skin side down directly onto your grill rack.
Try hickory, mesquite or whiskey oak wood chips for a punchy smoke flavour. Cook for at least 2 hours till cooked.