Cold smoking is a very important part of outdoor cooking and is a lot simpler than people imagine. It is also hugely fun.
I’ve used a Bradley Smoker for years and it is very effective but there are few down sides: firstly, I really hate plugging stuff in. I can never understand why people want to buy outdoor cooking tools that need plugging in. My ideal Alfresco Kitchen is totally independent from the house and is self sustaining – no wires running around the garden and no machine noise. So, however great the Bradley Smoker is, it has to be plugged in and kept in a dry place.
Mac’s BBQ are a UK company that specialises in hot smokers and BBQs and Ian, the owner, has come up with the simpliest but most ingenious cold smoker. So simple, in fact, it makes you wonder why it hasn’t existed forever.
You need to use very fine dust, pack the maze with it and light the candle for about 30 seconds. The dust starts to smoulder and then you blow out the candle. The dust will smoulder for hours giving you up to 10 hours worth of cold smoking.
Place your maze into your BBQ or Smoker and smoke away…
The most important rule with cold smoking is keeping the temperature below 32C/90F – this is a must otherwise you are starting to cook your food. So be careful with metal barbecues as, on a hot day, the internal temperature can rise too high. That’s why ceramic Kamado barbecues work so well – they are built to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures so make great cold smokers by not being affected by the outside temperature.
The ProQ® Cold Smoke Generator generates a lot less smoke than a Bradley Smoker, so giving a gentler smoke flavour. Don’t expect the industrial smoke generation of a Bradley Smoker but it works perfectly well for home smoking. It is also a lot cheaper at £35 and the ProQ dust costs a lot less than the Bradley briquettes. You don’t need to plug anything in or set anything up or worry about wires. So, if you want to quickly cold smoke some ingredients or your meat before cooking the Cold Smoke Generator is perfect but also works brilliantly for the long cold smokes.
Just a few more points: firstly, be very careful of dripping food. If you get food or juice onto the dust it will go out so, if necessary, make a tin foil tent to go over the maze.
Secondly, ProQ dust is very fine and is made for their smoker. You can buy other dust, or make your own, but if it isn’t fine enough it may light well but might just go out during the smoke. I have other dust from another company and it is a lot less fine and it didn’t work well. Dust can mean different things to different companies.
So I highly recommend the ProQ® Cold Smoke Generator because it makes cold smoking accessible to everyone and cold smoking is fun – you will love cold smoking different foods and ingredients and trying out all the different wood flavours.
For those of you who do want an industrial smoke, MacsBBQ have come up with a larger version. I haven’t tried it yet but will do soon.