how to cold smoke with offset smoker

Last Updated on: 23rd April 2023, 02:38 am

Cold Smoking is an ancient way of preserving meat for a longer time . But nowadays it’s popular for the flavor and tenderness it provides.

 It can be a bit overwhelming when starting out but you can master it by this article you will learn a complete guide on how to cold smoke with an offset smoker correctly while minimizing the risk attached to it.

How to cold smoke with offset smoker

Cold Smoking is a time taking process which requires patience and effort to be carried out. But once completed the cold smoked meat is worth the effort.

the most critical thing to consider is to maintain low temperature throughout the process.

The process of cold smoking is very much similar to that of hot smoking except low temperature and curing the meat. Here is a step by step guide to Smoking in an offset smoker.

Step-1: choose meat 

The first and most important step of cold smoking is to choose a good quality meat that should not grow any hazardous pathogens during smoking.

 This step is important because cold smoking is done at low temperature and if meat is contaminated with pathogens then it can lead to bacterial growth.

Step-2:cutting the meat

After choosing the meat , you should cut it into smaller pieces so that the meat is smoked evenly and treated evenly with salt to inhibit the bacterial growth.

 If the meat chunks are larger than the surface of the meat it will get marinated but the internal portion will remain moisturized.

Step-3:curing meat

After cutting the meat into smaller pieces, cure them with salt to remove the moisture and stop the bacterial growth.

 Although it doesn’t kill all the species of bacteria, it’s still more effective than smoking without salt. In addition it also gives flavor to meat

Step-4:lit the charcoal up

After leaving the meat in salt, prelit your charcoal so that it doesn’t have to lit in the smoker while starting the smoking process. 

Pre-liting is done in charcoal chimneys which save a lot of time and effort during smoking.

Step-5:add the charcoal

After that add charcoal into the firebox of the smoker to heat up the smoker. Make sure to not ignite all of the charcoal at once because cold smoking requires maintaining a lower temperature. 

Now add the wood that you want to produce smoke with. The smoke will be produced with wood and heat with charcoal which will burn with minions method to maintain low temperature

Step-6:place the meat

After the smoker has reached the desired temperature which is usually 90 F° for cold smoking, place your meat on the cooking grilling.

 Make sure to give some space between the meat pieces to allow ventilation. Place the grill into the smoker

Step-7:Add water pan

If you want to enhance the flavor of the smoked meat and avoid it from drying out then you can add a water pan.

 You can use apple juice , vinegar or any liquid of your choice in a water pan. This step depends on your choice of whether you want to allow moisture or not.

Step-8:Closing vents

Because low temperature is required for cold smoking then you will have to close the bottom vent to avoid overshooting of temperature. 

But the top vent should be kept open to allow escape of combustion gases and provide oxygen to fuel throughout the process.

Step-9:leave it for sometime

After that let the smoker run on its own for the required time to cold smoke your meat.

You should consider checking the temperature after every 30 minutes to maintain the temperature and effective smoking of meat. 

It’s not a set it and forget type of method ,you will have to get involved in the process to avoid pathogenic growth and maintain temperature.

remove meat from smoker

After the meat has been smoked, you can now remove the meat from the smoker and cool it down before using.

We recommend cooking cold smoked meat before eating to minimize the risk of pathogens. These pathogens in some cases can be deadly. 

So you should be careful about using cold smoked meat if you are a beginner.

Enjoy each bit of your smoked meat!

What is cold smoking?

Cold Smoking means smoking meat at low temperature for several hours or even days to remove the moisture out of meat and preserve it for a longer time without the use of a refrigerator. 

Cold smoking is different from hot smoking in that hot smoking uses higher temperature for a shorter time to cook meat quickly while cold smoking uses low temperature for a longer time.

It is done to add smoky flavor to meat and preserve it for a longer time . It is often recommended to cook the cold smoked meat at higher temperature before eating it.

 Moreover the meat is cured with salt before cold smoking to remove moisture and inhibit the bacterial growth which can be dangerous for humans.

Cold smoking is done by indirect smoking. So the meat is not directly exposed to heat, rather it is placed in a separate chamber and heat source is placed in a separate chamber. 

The smoke generated by the heat source is then pumped into the cooking chamber to add smoky flavor to meat.

 best food for cold smoking

There is a wide range of food that can be cold smoked which in fact preserves the selected meat. But you should start with food that is less risky in case you go wrong during the smoking process.

 There are various low risk foods available that can be used to practice cold smoking e.g. cheese.

The most common foods used for smoking are :

  • Vegetables
  • Different types of nuts
  • Garlic

 Is cold smoking more hazardous  than hot smoking

 The short answer to this question will always be Yes. Hot smoking is done at a higher temperature which kills pathogens and minimizes the risk of pathogenic growth. 

While cold smoking provides favorable conditions for bacterial growth.You should always cure meat with salt to minimize the bacterial growth risk .

 Cold smoking is dangerous but if we take some precautions then we can’t go wrong with it. The proof of this statement is that cold smoking has been used from ages and we are not going to abandon it any soon.

Although its risks can’t be neglected. The most common disease caused by cold smoking is botulism which is caused by clostridium botulinum which can be deadly if not cured properly.

It is often recommended to avoid cold smoking meat that is grounded because it may contain bacteria throughout its contents .

Tips for cold smoking 

Use an accurate thermometer

Cold Smoking is a time taking process and can be dangerous if its temperature is not maintained properly. To maintain temperature,you will first have to measure the accurate internal temperature.

 So it’s better to modify your offset smoker with an accurate thermometer before using it for cold smoking.

Uncontaminated food

It’s better to spend some bucks and buy good quality meat that is not contaminated with pathogens. It might be a bit costly but it’s far better than putting your health at risk by using cheaper meat that can be contaminated with pathogens that can even cause death.

Cure your meat

Curing meat is an excellent way to reduce the risk of pathogenic growth. In addition to inhibiting the bacterial growth it also acts as a marinade and provides good flavor to meat . 

The meat that is not cured with salt is more favorable for pathogens growth.

Final Thoughts

Cold Smoking in an offset smoker is an excellent way to preserve your meat without using a refrigerator. But you should keep in mind the precautions to avoid risking your health while smoking. Cold Smoking is worth it’s effort if done correctly. 

Jakob miller