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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Venturing into the world of home smoked foods

Smoked bacon is my boyfriend's (Josh) favourite thing in the whole world (I'm pretty sure it comes above all friends and family). So after weeks of agonising over what to get him for Christmas, I suddenly had a revelation in the form of a smoker, so that he could make his own.

"Cold or Hot smoker?" I hear you ask... I didn't know there was a difference either :s

Simply, hot smoking cooks whatever you put inside, and cold smoking doesn't. Hot smoking uses wood chips, and cold smoking uses wood dust. Smoked salmon and bacon (as you would see in the shops) is cold smoked, and other fish, ham and ribs etc would be hot smoked.

I decided to go for a cold smoker, as bacon was the key driver to this smokey present plan. I researched several cold smokers, but found that this one, from "Hot Smokers" called the "ProQ Eco Smoker", seemed to tick all the boxes.

Smoking requires the wood dust to burn very slowly, so Hot Smokers sell an ingenius product, which allows the dust to burn in a long line, in a maze type fashion. Well done ProQ!!

TIP: You could very easily fashion one of these smoke generators out of some wire mesh, or even a flatish sieve, then fold some tinfoil into long strips (around 3 sheets thickness) and make a circular pattern. This would form a swirl which you can light at one end. Then all you need is a tall, sealable cardboard or metal box which will fit your smoke generator and a shelf in

I bought the ProQ smoker box set and a selection of different wood dusts. Plus the shipping is FREE, amazing!

Starter Bacon Curing & Smoking Kit

Wood Dust Collection
TIP: Make sure the dust is well dried out, if it is a little moist and your struggling to keep it alight, try putting it in a warm oven for an hour or so

A present has never been so well received; everything you can think of has been smoked (garlic, cheese, pork, salmon, nuts...the list goes on), but the bacon is incredible, Josh's new weekend regime always starts with a trip to the butchers and then curing begins!

TIP: It's probably a good idea not to put your smoker inside your house as it does smell pretty smokey; a shed would be best, or outside when it's a little warmer

Here's a quick peak at the first lot of bacon that was made. This was made as per the the "Hot Smokers" instructions that came with the set, with a 1kg loin of pork. However we've since tried it using several different techniques, which i'll post full instructions for soon! YUM!!

TIP: We've found that smoking when it's freezing outside doesn't work as well as when it's around 10degrees. If it is freezing when you're trying to smoke, then try putting a heat mat down underneath the box

Our next project will definitely be making a hot smoker out of an old metal box! I'm so excited to see the results, and will share pictures when it's up and running.

This is a bacon lover's dream, try it, or buy it as a present. I can't recommend it enough; it's brought so much excitement to our house, and amazing meals with it.

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