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Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
#323788 02/28/13 05:31 PM
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Cold smoking

Some guys inquired on the cold smoking process I noted in another post regarding DIY lump charcoal, so thought I'd share a few photos and the cold smoke process.

The cold smoking process is useful for infusing your choice of smoke flavor items you do not want to expose to heat. Cheese is a perfect candidate as it cannot withstand temps beyond 100 degrees without melting. Consider a hickory or oak for strong cheese like sharp cheddar and fruitwoods like pear, apple, or plum for swiss or jack. Cheese can easily be oversmoked, especially with the stronger nut woods mentioned above, so carefully watch the smoking times. Starting with 30 minutes is a safe bet, and as your experience grows, you can steadily increase the time and infuse more smoke flavor. You can also cold smoke shelled nuts like almonds - they are very good with a hickory blast.

I also choose to impart smoke flavor to my steaks. However, since meat stops absorbing smoke after it's been exposed to high temperatures and seared, it presented a problem now resolved by cold smoking. The following is the process I follow to achieve a rich smoke flavor in my steaks BEFORE I place on the grill.

I'm a NY Strip fan, less marbling and a little leaner than Ribeyes. I ask the butcher to make 1.5-2" cuts if I haven't done on a loin already myself.



I like to use a rub consisting of garlic, onion, pepper, and dried cayenne and red bell pepper. I stay away from salt - it can lead to drying out your steak.



I then start the grill and choose the type of wood to use. Mesquite sounded good!



Once the grill is rolling I back it off to 300 degrees and add my wood chunks.



Immediately thereafter I attach my dryer vent duct to my Green Egg chimney and the other end to the cold smoke box. The box can be pretty low tech - like this modified cooler.



It's time to cold smoke some fat strips!



After an hour of vigorous smoking, I remove the vent duct from the chimney, replace the grate on top of the coals, and fire up temps to 650-700 and prepare for grilling. After five minutes the grate is ready to sear so I toss on the steaks. My preferred method for grilling is to sear for one minute, flip and sear for another minute, then shut the vent and cap the chimney and cook to a medium rare. For 2" steaks this might be 6 minutes/side depending on the temperature of the grill.

I used to worry about creating perfect diamond shaped grill marks, but no more. These beauties were succulent with Mesquite tones and just the right amount of char my family prefers.



Hope some of this is useful!


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323789 02/28/13 05:37 PM
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I shouldn't have read this post it made me hungry now i gota get something to eat. hope you enjoyed your super looks realy good.

Last edited by small pond; 02/28/13 05:37 PM.

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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323792 02/28/13 05:46 PM
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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
Omaha #323793 02/28/13 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: Omaha
laugh laugh that looks just like my neighbor when i tell him im bringing food

Last edited by small pond; 02/28/13 05:52 PM.

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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323796 02/28/13 06:10 PM
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Some good looking eats there.


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
small pond #323797 02/28/13 06:12 PM
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Very Cool. No Pun Intended.


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323805 02/28/13 06:33 PM
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TJ's on point about smoked steaks. Very unique flavor you can't get just by grilling. I've smoked mine, but always around 180 which I felt like was to hot. Smoking and grilling are way different animals and high smoking temps confused the issue to me.

Nice rig and makes perfect sense. Now I want one.

TJ, do you rack them in the ice chest, or just lay them in there?

Last edited by FireIsHot; 02/28/13 06:48 PM. Reason: ADHD moment

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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323807 02/28/13 06:42 PM
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MAN O MAN DOES THAT EVER LOOK GOOD

Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323814 02/28/13 07:13 PM
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Awesome....TJ you are da' man! I'm kicking around ideas for a bigger maple sap evaporator, now I may need to detour and build a smoker first.....grilling season will be here long before I need to make syrup again!

Thanks for the ideas and the excellent write up!


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323815 02/28/13 07:30 PM
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Damn! I just finished eating dinner -- I even had seconds. Then I ran across this thread. Now I'm ready to eat again!

Great idea. Great looking steaks.


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323823 02/28/13 08:50 PM
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I had the exact same experience Ken. First time that's happened. Nicely done TJ!! I was smoking jerky today with my homebuilt smoker. I have made 2 batches of pastrami with kens recipe and both turned out awesome. Way better then buying sandwich meat.

Last edited by blair5002; 02/28/13 08:51 PM.

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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323828 02/28/13 09:07 PM
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Once again thanks TJ for the detailed 'how to'. Can't wait to try it!


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
FireIsHot #323837 02/28/13 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: FireIsHot
TJ's on point about smoked steaks. Very unique flavor you can't get just by grilling. I've smoked mine, but always around 180 which I felt like was to hot. Smoking and grilling are way different animals and high smoking temps confused the issue to me.

Nice rig and makes perfect sense. Now I want one.

TJ, do you rack them in the ice chest, or just lay them in there?


Yes, cheap little removable racks that came with the cooler. I want to create more racks and will soon so I can fit more meat on at a time.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Linked Image from i1261.photobucket.com]


Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
FireIsHot #323844 02/28/13 11:12 PM
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Sorry should have provided photo of inside of smoker box. Looks kinda nasty with the accumulation of smoke over the years - so thought I'd leave them out but important to understand one definitely needs shelves for the cold smoke box.



Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Linked Image from i1261.photobucket.com]


Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323846 02/28/13 11:49 PM
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That is a very cool set up!! And I can almost smell the smoke from here....But its a horible post for this catholic to read this close to a Friday during lent. Can you do fish with the same set up? grin

Last edited by mnfish; 02/28/13 11:49 PM.
Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
mnfish #323850 03/01/13 12:04 AM
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TJ, the smoke residue just adds to the flavor. Nothing nasty about it at all!


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
mnfish #323854 03/01/13 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted By: mnfish
That is a very cool set up!! And I can almost smell the smoke from here....But its a horible post for this catholic to read this close to a Friday during lent. Can you do fish with the same set up? grin


I like to impart some smoke on seafood [shrimp, scallops] and tuna/halibut/salmon. Problem in the past was cooking low and slow to impart smoke was drying out the seafood/fish. Yet, if I cooked faster/hotter there was little time for the fish to absorb smoke and it was hard to taste. I haven't tried fish in the cold smoker, but I'll bet it would work well. I would recommend using a light tasting wood like lime, pear, peach, plum, lilac, apple, and of course alder.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Linked Image from i1261.photobucket.com]


Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323873 03/01/13 08:53 AM
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Great thread. I never would have thought of smoking steaks.

Seeing your bellows hanging off your egg brought a "why haven't I thought of that!" moment...if I can find a set, no more blowing in the bottom vent to get things going.


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Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323891 03/01/13 11:51 AM
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TJ - Great thread for those of us beginners. Questions:

1. I have lots and lots of alder growing on my propery. With fruit woods or alder, do you peel the bark before using?

2. How do you clean or store your smoking equipment so as not to make the garage smell like a giant smoker? Any tricks on keeping mice out of an permanent outdoor smoker?

Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323898 03/01/13 12:42 PM
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With any smoking wood I strongly advise only using seasoned wood. Some experts know how to use green Hickory, but that's beyond my experience and capabilities. You can ruin an expensive meal in a hurry using wood not fulled cured unless you are versed in the art of green smoking.

Esoteric circles of professional smokers will ONLY use wood once bark has been stripped - and they're adamant about it. I don't think it's critical, but I have noticed a slight taste improvement removing bark. If possible, I'd remove or at least select pieces with less bark if it's not a huge chore.

I have never had any mice set up shop in my equipment at home, but they get into everything at the farm. I'd suggest baiting your garage very well to keep numbers down and you should be ok.

I don't notice a smoke smell from my garage but I'm careful to make sure the garage door is closed when I smoke. I think you'll be ok. The cooler can set outside anyhow - those plastic things are cheap and easily replaced if it starts to warp.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Linked Image from i1261.photobucket.com]


Re: Cold Smoking with Natural Lump
teehjaeh57 #323926 03/01/13 05:56 PM
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Cool thread TJ! Thanks!!!

Cold smoking is the only way to go!

You can also cold smoke fruits and veggies.

Cold Smoked Anaheim Chilies, stuffed with your favorite fixins, Yeah!

My cold smoker is still in raw material form on a skid out back. (actually, a combo hot and cold rig) One of these day's I hope to get to it. Electric tho.


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