Most people probably think of meat or fish when we talk about smoking food, but there are many possibilities besides meat that you can smoke and get a different texture and smoke taste. For example, try smoking cheese such as brie. Together with redcurrant jam and chopped walnuts. Or a smoked, creamy camembert fits perfectly in a salad. What you can smoke in your smoking cabinet is only limited by your imagination! Today, there are many different smokers on the market that you can use. Electric smokers such as a rolling smoker are increasing in popularity due to their convenience and practicality.
Smoking food is one of the oldest preservation methods. It is not only smart from a sustainability point of view, but it also gives a very good taste and texture to the food. You can say that the smoker can be seen as a low temperature oven with the smoke as an extra flavor dimension. It is both fun and easy to smoke food, at least if you have the proper smoker! Smokers are available in different sizes and with different functions.
Here are some things to know and keep in mind when smoking food:
With hot smoking you prepare the food. The temperature is between 50 and over 100 C degrees. Hot smoking results in a distinct smoky flavor and firm texture. This method is excellent for, for example, smoked ham.
Cold smoking is suitable, for example, if you are going to smoke fish. It is also suitable for food that you will prepare after smoking, for example: if it is to be grilled or fried. It gives a milder smoke flavor and juicier texture. Cold smoking works so that you only use the heat that comes from the smoke generator, so you do not need to turn on the heat in the smoker.
When cold smoking, the temperature in the smoker must not be more than 15 – 30 C degrees. Cold smoking is a slow process and can take from 2 hours up to several days depending on what you are going to smoke. It gives a strong smoky flavor and uncooked texture. It is important that the gas temperature does not exceed 30 C degrees, as it starts to turn into hot smoking.
Think about where the smoker is when you cold smoke. If it is in the sun, the temperature inside the cabinet may be too high. It is best to cold smoke in spring or autumn. Another important thing to consider is that the food you are going to cold smoke should be dry. If, for example, a piece of meat is not dry when you cold-smoke it, it can have a bad taste. Let the meat hang dry overnight. Cold smoking does not cook meat in such a way that it coagulates the protein as with heating, instead, it is the smoke that preserves the meat. Cold-smoked and air-dried meats have a very long best-before date if stored properly.
It is important to salt the meat before smoking it and there are different methods to use: salting, rimming, or dry salting. The salting is necessary for a good result. Salting reduces the amount of water in the meat and creates an environment that is inhospitable to bacteria. When the salting process is finished, it is important that you wash and dry the meat properly. Meat that is not properly dried does not absorb any smoke flavor.
Advantages of electric smoker
Many people stay away from smoking in the belief that it is very complicated to get started and it takes a lot of time. And using a classic smoker tends to be just that. But the electric smoker solves all these problems and in just a few minutes you can start smoking the food. It is also cheaper in the long run.
An electric smoker is very simple to use and does not require long preparations. Electric smokers are often light and can be moved easily. Through electric coils, the smoke quickly becomes hot and ready for use. When you want to smoke fish or vegetables, an electric smoker is a very good option.
Most people who have tried smoking something have probably tried using some smoking chips directly on the classic grill or similar. Or you may have inherited or bought a smoke box that has been relatively popular for a long time. All this requires preparing a heat source, e.g. charcoal or alcohol for the smoke box and it is actually very cumbersome.
With an electric smoker, you get started right away, on with, for example salmon and then out with some wood. Then plug in the electrical plug and you are ready to smoke. Hot smoking over charcoal is definitely the thing that takes the longest and many times it is difficult to get an even temperature.
Even with a smoke box and alcohol, it can be difficult to achieve an even temperature. It is also not at all unusual to have to top up with spirits to finish the food. With an electric smoking oven, you don’t have these problems and it’s really only the wood you need to look over during the process.