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I quite fancy a smoker to smoke some mackerel and trout.

What's the pros and cons of hot vs cold smoking and is it better to buy a ready made smoker or make one?

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You can use both for both if you buy or make the correct type.

roughly cold smoking is for preserving or flavouring to then be cooked later or consumed raw.

Hot smoking is exactly that, cooking and smoking at the same time. 
 

I have a large offset smoker that I built out of two compressor tanks for hot smoking and a small drum type for salmon and bacon cold smoking. 
 

 

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2 minutes ago, D_shooter said:

You can use both for both if you buy or make the correct type.

roughly cold smoking is for preserving or flavouring to then be cooked later or consumed raw.

Hot smoking is exactly that, cooking and smoking at the same time. 
 

I have a large offset smoker that I built out of two compressor tanks for hot smoking and a small drum type for salmon and bacon cold smoking. 
 

 

Cheers. So cold smoking is just for the flavour and hot smoking is for the flavour and to cook it. 

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Just now, walshie said:

Cheers. So cold smoking is just for the flavour and hot smoking is for the flavour and to cook it. 

Well it depends, normally cold smoking is done with something you cure like bacon or smoked salmon, but you can also smoke things like butter, cheese, garlic etc that don’t need cooking. 
 

Hot smoking is usually low and slow type cooking. 
 

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21 minutes ago, D_shooter said:

Well it depends, normally cold smoking is done with something you cure like bacon or smoked salmon, but you can also smoke things like butter, cheese, garlic etc that don’t need cooking. 
 

Hot smoking is usually low and slow type cooking. 
 

So when you see smoked mackerel fillets at the supermarket, they'd be hot smoked? In that case I think I need a hot smoker. 

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I've a proper one but but you can also play about. You could cobble one together, either hot or cold or convertible. I saw the much moustachioed Strawbridge guide somebody through making one, basically a smoke (generating) box and a smoking area, to cold smoke this needs to be cooled. They'll be loads on youtube. You'll also want to learn about brining.

I normally bbq over wood and fancying a change this week simply created a bit more smoke and a bit less intense heat and put an old incinerator lid over the top of my round cast iron bbq. The mackeral when cold were the best I've ever had from anywhere. I'd just give it a go and see how you get on.

 

Edited by yod dropper
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14 minutes ago, yod dropper said:

I've a proper one but but you can also play about. You could cobble one together, either hot or cold or convertible. I saw the much moustachioed Strawbridge guide somebody through making one, basically a smoke (generating) box and a smoking area, to cold smoke this needs to be cooled. They'll be loads on youtube. You'll also want to learn about brining.

I normally bbq over wood and fancying a change this week simply created a bit more smoke and a bit less intense heat and put an old incinerator lid over the top of my round cast iron bbq. The mackeral when cold were the best I've ever had from anywhere. I'd just give it a go and see how you get on.

 

Thanks. I intend to. 👍

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1 hour ago, walshie said:

So when you see smoked mackerel fillets at the supermarket, they'd be hot smoked? In that case I think I need a hot smoker. 

I’m fairly sure you would want to hot smoke them if your doing it yourself. 
 

I would say it’s easier to use a “hot” smoker to cold smoke by just using a smoke generator. 
 

I’ll warn you though , you will smoke everything to start with and then end up putting all the family off!! 

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I would say avoid the small pan type. They are okay to a point but difficult to control. I toyed with making or investing in one. If I bought it was going to be an electric Bradbury that was almost self regulating. The cost though put me off and I put all my fish, goose, pheasant etc into the local smokers and they do the job at a reasonable cost.

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I bought a Callow smoker from Amazon and it is superb. Fuelled by meths it is easy to set up and use. Two burners, 25 minutes, fuel burns out, job done.

I use Apple chips, it's better to start with a few chips and then increase rather than over-smoke.

The Apple chips are put into a small foil parcel which is perforated to let smoke out and a layer of foil on the drip tray all helps with cleaning and disposal of charcoal when finished.

For Trout I fillet the fish, sprinkle the fillets with rock salt and leave in the fridge for 60-90 mins, which pulls out moisture, rinse off and pat dry with kitchen towel. Light burners, put smoker on the burners, read a book for 25 mins til the burners go out and that's it, cooked perfectly to eat hot or cold.

No need to mess about waiting for bbq coals to heat up or cool down.

There's loads of different woods to use.

A couple of days ago I soaked Chicken breasts in brine for 90mins, dried them off then rubbed them with Cajun spice and smoked them for 25mins, absolutely gorgeous.

Definitely best thing I've bought in a while.

Word of caution, don't stand it on plastic table or precious lawn. Not me but Youtube vids I've seen😉

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6 hours ago, KFC said:

I bought a Callow smoker from Amazon and it is superb. Fuelled by meths it is easy to set up and use. Two burners, 25 minutes, fuel burns out, job done.

I use Apple chips, it's better to start with a few chips and then increase rather than over-smoke.

The Apple chips are put into a small foil parcel which is perforated to let smoke out and a layer of foil on the drip tray all helps with cleaning and disposal of charcoal when finished.

For Trout I fillet the fish, sprinkle the fillets with rock salt and leave in the fridge for 60-90 mins, which pulls out moisture, rinse off and pat dry with kitchen towel. Light burners, put smoker on the burners, read a book for 25 mins til the burners go out and that's it, cooked perfectly to eat hot or cold.

No need to mess about waiting for bbq coals to heat up or cool down.

There's loads of different woods to use.

A couple of days ago I soaked Chicken breasts in brine for 90mins, dried them off then rubbed them with Cajun spice and smoked them for 25mins, absolutely gorgeous.

Definitely best thing I've bought in a while.

Word of caution, don't stand it on plastic table or precious lawn. Not me but Youtube vids I've seen😉

👍

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56 minutes ago, Mice! said:

I read a book from the library a couple of years ago on smoking Eels Walshie,  can't think of the name but it's worth looking for .

I thought eels were endangered now

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I bought one from Matalan of all places about 10-12 years ago, it is a 3 tier model, fire in the bottom, in ther middle is a pan for stock/water/beer and on the top is the grill, they started at abut £80, then dropped and dropped, I got mine at £25, I've smoked/cooked fish/meats/cheese/garlic and it's paid for itself many times over.

With different woods/marinades/flavourings, you can conjour up alsorts of stuff. Great fun.

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I made a hot smoker out of a gas barbecue and an old stainless steel beer keg cut in half and just plonked on top basically with SS rods through to make a hanging rack. 

Used the gas to get my wood going and then used to shut it off and let it smolder and cook overnight. 

I have smoked with Oak, Beech, Apple and Alder. 

Beech and Alder added to Oak is my favourite.

I mostly smoked herrings as we used to catch them for pot bait but I'd put a few aside. 

Have also smoked mackeral, cod for kedgeree (******* amazing). 

prefer mackerel cooked straight out of the sea, crispy skin with some wholegrain mustard on a granary roll accompanied with an ice cold, dry cider. Real cider. Not that strongbow nonsense. You want bits floating in it.

Cods Roe (Wasn't as good as the stuff I have bought in the past but still edible)

With the herring or the mackerel and I assume any oily fish, hot or cold smoked it definitely benefits from brining otherwise it will have a "slimy" texture. 

If that dies happen, blend it up with creme fraiche or youghurt or cream cheese, soured cream etc etc and use it as a smoked fish paté

 

Edited by ClemFandango
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, kernel gadaffi said:

I bought one from Matalan of all places about 10-12 years ago, it is a 3 tier model, fire in the bottom, in ther middle is a pan for stock/water/beer and on the top is the grill, they started at abut £80, then dropped and dropped, I got mine at £25, I've smoked/cooked fish/meats/cheese/garlic and it's paid for itself many times over.

With different woods/marinades/flavourings, you can conjour up alsorts of stuff. Great fun.

Sounds fun. Looking forward to experimenting.

8 hours ago, Mice! said:

Thanks for taking the time to find that. Looks a good read. 

13 minutes ago, ClemFandango said:

I made a hot smoker out of a gas barbecue and an old stainless steel beer keg cut in half and just plonked on top basically with SS rods through to make a hanging rack. 

Used the gas to get my wood going and then used to shut it off and let it smolder and cook overnight. 

I have smoked with Oak, Beech, Apple and Alder. 

Beech and Alder added to Oak is my favourite.

I mostly smoked herrings as we used to catch them for pot bait but I'd put a few aside. 

Have also smoked mackeral, cod for kedgeree (******* amazing). 

prefer mackerel cooked straight out of the sea, crispy skin with some wholegrain mustard on a granary roll accompanied with an ice cold, dry cider. Real cider. Not that strongbow nonsense. You want bits floating in it.

Cods Roe (Wasn't as good as the stuff I have bought in the past but still edible)

With the herring or the mackerel and I assume any oily fish, hot or cold smoked it definitely benefits from brining otherwise it will have a "slimy" texture. 

If that dies happen, blend it up with creme fraiche or youghurt or cream cheese, soured cream etc etc and use it as a smoked fish paté

 

Some good tips there. Thanks.

Edited by walshie
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I just happened across A-Amaze-N smoker tubes, and other smoking tubes, on Amazon that use wood pellets.

They look handy for use on a bbq, either hot or cold.

I've not used them but look ideal for smoking cheese.

 

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1 hour ago, Mickeydredd said:

Yep, that's the one, I've smoked a few trout on it, including fillets of a 4.25lb and a 3.5lb fish at the same time so it holds a good amount. Friends I've given samples to have said they'd happily pay me for more in the future so that's a good endorsement.

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1 hour ago, Mickeydredd said:

Cheers.

I fancy using it for chicken and venison.  Where do you buy meths? lol

Any hardware or DIY store, 👍 I did some chicken the other day, was delicious.

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Walshie, as has already been said, it sounds like you’re after a hot smoker.  I have something similar to the callow which I bought from Lidl years ago.  You could knock something up with two roasting dishes and a cooling rack from the pound shop to start with. Sit one tray on your bbq, sprinkle wood dust or chips on the base, lay on the cooling tray, add your fish etc then Place the other tray on top (inverted) and bobs your uncle.  You always want some through flow so you can see smoke escaping as if it’s completely sealed the food develops an acrid flavour.  Any fish or meat you are hot smoking in this fashion will benefit from a quick Light brine or Small Rub of salt As it helps the meat take the smoke.  Things like fish or chicken/duck breasts benefit from a fairly quick hot smoke at temperatures similar to those you would cook them in the oven, don’t confuse the technique with low and slow smoking as you may have seen for ribs/pulled pork/brisket etc
 

it’s great fun once you get started, it’s amazing how quickly you get to understand brines etc, then the next thing you are curing meat/making bacon etc

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