Cold Smoking is a cooking technique is which foods are smoked for long periods of time over a heat source averaging 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Meats are especially at danger of rapid bacterial growth at this temperature, and thus most beef, pork and fowl are either fermented, salted or brined prior to being cold-smoked. Nuts, cheeses and some fish are popular cold-smoke selections, as they do not require extensive preparation before the slow-cooking process begins.
The Traeger Cold Smoker is a type of barbecue cooker that burns hardwood pellets created from compressed sawdust. The pellets are fed into the firebox of the cooker by an electric auger that functions at a consistent speed, a design facet that allows the grill operator to cook at a specified temperature more easily. Traeger grills also feature an electric draft-induction fan that blows air into the firebox and allows for precise temperature control.
Ambient heat and cold affect the temperature in the cooking chamber of a cold smoker. The best climate in which to cold-smoke foods is a moderate one, such as during the spring and fall. Traeger Cold Smokers can be equipped with a dome thermometer which monitors the temperature inside the cooking chamber.
Clean the grills inside the Traeger cooking chamber prior to cold-smoking. Dirty grills may contribute to bacterial growth, and consumption of tainted food can lead to a variety of unpleasant stomach ailments. Meat should only be cold-smoked by people who have experience with the technique, as healthy preparation requires extensive knowledge and training. Beginners or people with intermediate smoking skills should stick to fish, nuts and cheeses.
Soft cheeses accept cold-smoking better than hard cheeses. Cut sections of cheese into 2-inch portions and smoke at 85 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Smoking times for cheese range from 15 minutes to an hour.
Spray nuts with a brine, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt prior to cold-smoking. Nuts require between 15 minutes and 1 hour to acquire a smoked flavor.
Fish will need to be smoked for 8 hours to 4 days. Fish should be submerged in a brine consisting of water, salt and brown sugar prior to being placed in the cold smoker. Use 3.5 cups of salt for every gallon of water, and allow 1 gallon of brine for every 4 pounds of fish. Brine the fish 30 minutes for each 1/2-inch thickness of meat.
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