Food after smoked in electric smoker

How to Keep Temperature Down for Cold Smoking

Posted on: October 04, 2023
Read time: Read Time: 10 min

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Are you an outdoor cooking enthusiast? Do you love going to the extreme to experiment with new and exciting food smoking recipes? Well, you are probably one of the above, and that’s why you have landed on this page.

Cold smoking is one of the ways to step out of your comfort zone. It’s a thrilling smoking experience that will likely introduce you to a new world of flavor options.

What Is Cold Smoking?

Cold smoking is an ancient culinary practice that has been used for years to preserve and add flavor to the meat. You will need to use preservatives to preserve the meat for later use, spices if you want to season it, and add a distinct flavor to its natural flavor. You can simultaneously preserve it by curing and adding flavor to your meat. Also, you can cold smoke some food without curing, which will last for an extended period.

The entire cold smoking process is an easy procedure that you can comfortably perform in your kitchen at home. The initial step entails curing the meat to curb any bacterial growth by eliminating any moisture in the meat.

Meat hanging in food smoker

You will then proceed to expose the meat using your food smoker of choice, of which there are a variety of smokers, including our tried and tested Bradley food smoker and its cold smoke adapter kit that we will for sure recommend you.

The key to note is that you are supposed to expose the meat to smoke without burning it. Any form of heat is not allowed, explaining why it’s largely termed cold smoking.

Temperature is another key factor when it comes to cold-smoking meat. You have to constantly watch and maintain the recommended low temperature for the best results. Mistakes here might end up ruining the taste of your meat, which you don’t want to happen.

Though an essential factor to consider while cold smoking, maintaining the required temperature remains one of the most significant challenges for most people. Most people often fail at this step, which goes a long way to influencing the overall results of your food smoking experience. (here is where a Bradley will make it easier for you)

But this should never be a significant challenge after reading this, as we will share expert tips on how best to keep temperatures down during the cold smoking process with you.

How to Maintain a Low Temperature During Cold Smoking

In most cases, during cold smoking, we recommended keeping the meat’s temperatures low at 90°F (32°C). It may sound easy on paper, but in reality, it is. The secret is to ensure you keep your meat in an unheated food smoking chamber while sourcing the smoker from a separate chamber.

But there are also other factors such as weather that also come into play when smoking cold. The temperature of the surrounding environment can alter your smoking experience, explaining why it’s essential to smoke during winter when temperatures are lower. The surrounding cold air plays a crucial role in ensuring that the food smoker doesn’t heat up.

But if you feel you can’t wait until the colder months, we advise smoking late at night or early mornings when the temperature is at its lowest. We also recommend using an aluminum drip pan full of ice placed in the smoke chamber if you feel like the temperatures are rising to anything above 90°F (32°C). Ensure you place the aluminum pan in the middle firebox and smoker chamber (or the bottom rack of your Bradley Smoker) to help regulate the temperature.

Using our cold smoke adapter kit will make things easier, as it separates the smoke generator (and its heat) from the oven and your food, and the aluminum tubing will allow the smoke to cool down before reaching the food you are prepping.

Food kept in food smoker for smoking

Best Food for Cold Smoking

There is a wide array of food that can be cold smoked. However, meat is the first food that springs to mind when mentioning cold-smoked dishes. But if you are new to cold smoking, you will definitely want to be sure of the best types of foods to get you started. This is perhaps the best approach we recommend to help you reduce the risks of making mistakes.

Meat is by far the safest type of food to learn with how to cold smoke. You can go for salmon, cheese, boiled eggs, vegetables, or even nuts, which are much easier to smoke.

We recommend staying away from soft foods such as cheese, leaving it to experienced pitmasters. The cheese melts easily and can ruin your experience with even the slightest temperature increase. (or go for cheese using the Bradley adaptor kit)

Key Takeaways

  • Maintain the food temperature below 90°F (32°C).
  • Ensure the smoke chamber is separate from the burning wood.
  • If possible, smoke during cold winter months.
  • If need be, smoke during the cooler hours of the night or early morning.
  • An aluminum drip pan full of ice can be essential to help maintain the temperature.

We have a few more articles about cold smoking for you:
How To Choose The Best Wood For Smoking Cheese At Home
First-Time Cold Smoking for Beginners
How to Cold Smoke Bacon at Home

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.