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Author Topic: Cold smoking  (Read 397 times)
Hero of The Month
Sr. Member
Posts: 230

« on: January 15, 2018, 01:00:24 PM »

Hey guys,

It's been a while since I posted. I have been experimenting cold smoking salmon using the amazen pellet smokers like this one:

First recipe I did during the holidays was a 24h cure using equal parts of kosher salt, white sugar, fresh dill and lemon zest. I cold smoked for maybe 2-3 hours and was done. It turned out great!

Second try was last weekend. I essentially did the same curing process except I used brown sugar instead of white and smoked for maybe 5-6h. Turns out the pellet smoker, combined with maybe the sun hitting the keg  Huh, generated enough heat which basically cooked the salmon even though it was -20C up hereā€¦I even had the keg diffuser in for added precaution...!

Could it be that the Keg is so insulated that even a little pellet smoker can produce enough heat to go over the cold smoking temperatures? I wasn't measuring temps using a probe or anything like that since it was so cold outside... I did notice (late) that the dome thermometer was no longer sitting at the bottom and was close to 100F. I never thought heat from the pellet smoker would be an issue in such cold weather...

Salmon was still good, but no longer had the texture I was shooting for.

Anyone else played around cold smoking using a similar setup?

Superhero Member
Posts: 756

« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2018, 10:54:46 PM »

Caveman, I do pellet cold smoking of cheese, and peanuts using a basket strainer which I have shaped so that it is like a bundt cake pan.

I have not had problems with it getting too hot unless the outside temp is 70 or higher. I do have problem with the pellets continuing to burn around the circle. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Last time I had to restart several times. Easy enough, but it makes it hard to time how much smoke the cheese is getting. Are there specific instructions that make the burn continue more consistently? I hit it with the torch, catch them on fire at one end, then after 10-30-60 seconds blow it out. One of the reviews on the link says be sure to microwave the pellets. What?

I never write down what I keep the top and bottom vents at, and I suspect that is part of my, and your, problem. I am unsure what the air flow should be. I vaguely recall you want little air flow, and this article confirms that: It also would suggest that I am not letting the pellets burn enough before blowing them out. The article doesn't mention blowing them out!

Your thoughts?

Quibbles with the article: I smoke cheese 60-75 minutes, with hickory. Apple might be fine longer as it is milder. You don't need to wait two weeks. You really don't need to wait at all. I have done scientific testing, giving friends smoked cheese right off the grill and two week old cheese, side by side. No difference to speak of. As a rule, I  do vacuum bag small blocks but we start on one right away and the others all properly age.
Hero of The Month
Sr. Member
Posts: 230

« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 11:53:41 AM »

Never had any issues with the pellets not burning consistently...putting pellets in the oven at a very low temp for maybe 15 min draws out any residual might be storing yours in a humid environment or are lighting it the right way so it must be either the humidity, your basket strainer or lack of air flow...Try to dry a small batch in your oven before, check your vents and see if that helps.

as for setting the vents...I don't recall, but maybe I had them wide open and the pellets ignited which resulted in higher temps...the article seems to suggest to close down the vents to prevent this from happening, so maybe this is why it ended up cooking the salmon.

I redid the recipe, however I used my weber kettle and it came out perfect...I may try it again in the keg next time.

p.s. anyone still visiting this forum?
Hero Member
Posts: 326

« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 02:00:49 PM »

i look here about every 2 days or so.  Uncle is the only guy keeping the lights on for the most part.  I can't say much though.....with 3 young kids i don't get much time to take and post pictures. 
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