Who doesn’t love the authentic smoky flavours of outdoor cooked dishes? Hot and cold food smoking is the process of cooking or infusing food with natural wood smoke flavours. Originally a means of preserving cured or raw produce using open smoke techniques, today food smoking is part of an exciting foodie revival achieveable on a regular BBQ.
So, hot or cold smoking? What’s the difference?
Hot smoked foods are cooked gently over smoking woods to achieve a subtle flavour infusion. The slower the cooking, the better the results. Choose a wood flavour to complement the food you are cooking, so a lighter wood flavour for a delicately flavoured food. The wood, in chip or chunk form, needs to be heated up to release its flavour. Use a dedicated smoker, ceramic grill or hooded BBQ.
Cold smoke foods are cured and then smoked. The food remains uncooked, but the dual process of curing and smoking preserves and prolongs whilst also intensifying flavours. Cures are a mix of salt, sugar and spices applied as a dry mix or dissolved in water for a brine in which the food is submerged. Smoked salmon is great example, whilst bacon is another which we then cook before eating.
Food is gently cooked whilst infused with wood smoke flavour
Foods are cured before sealing with a layer of cold smoke flavour
WHAT FOODS TO SMOKE
The possibilities are endless from meats to vegetables to desserts. All meats benefit from the low and slow hot smoking technique, allowing fat to render and fibres to tenderise whilst also infusing with smokiness. The results are succulent and richly flavoured. Whole chickens are transformed and the flavour of fish, whole or filleted, is intensified. Meats and fish need to be cured to remove bacteria prior to smoking, whilst cheeses, nuts, seeds, chillis, oils, salts and be cold smoked ‘neat’ for subtle flavour infusions.