Hot or Cold Smoked?
The Gone Fishin’ event at Scadding court has officially come to a close for this year. Lots of great people came out to the week long event and tried their hands at fishing. We were also on site for many of the days offering up whole hot and cold smoked rainbow trout, as well as our smoked salmon.
One of the questions that I found came up often over the course of the Gone Fishin’ event was what is the difference between cold and hot smoking? It would seem that when we would mention “hot” smoked, most people assumed that it was a spicy product, which is not the case.
Hot smoking consists of brining the product (fish, or other products such as meat or veggies even) for a period of time usually between 2 hours up to 12 hours (or more in some cases!) to impart flavour and help to retain moisture throughout the cooking process. Although this is not mandatory, it is certainly recommended. It is then removed from the brine, given a quick rinse to wash off any excess brine, and set to dry for a few hours and form a dried tacky surface called a “pellicle” which helps the smoke adhere to the product, as well as protect from excess moisture seeping out of the product during the course of the cooking. It is then loaded into the smoker, and smoked for the necessary amount of time for the product in question, with the temperature being gradually raised from approximately 130 °F to 170-200°F until the product is fully cooked and imparted with a nice smoke flavour and colour. Food can be left in the smoker for almost as long as you like, however the longer you go, the stronger the smoke flavour will become, and the chance of drying out or overcooking increases.
Cold smoking is a process where the product is cured usually using a “dry brine” process which involves covering the product in a dry mixture of salt, sugar and spices, then leaving for a period of 12-24 hours. Over the curing time, the mixture will draw moisture out of the product, and create a brine in the process. After the curing is finished, the product is wiped, or lightly rinsed off and often given a coating of simple syrup, maple syrup, or other desired flavours, and left to form the pellicle for a period of at least 3 hours. It is then loaded into the smoker and smoked for a period of not less than 3 hours at temperatures not to exceed 80°F. The finished product retains the “raw” look and texture, however is fully cured and smoked.
This is of course just a basic overview of the difference between hot and cold smoking meant more for informative purposes rather than a “how to”, that will come a bit further down the road.
Finally, we were not able to launch at the 707 West market at Bathurst and Niagara due to issues with the site, however I have been assured that the market will begin on the 30th of June, so come on down and say hello and check out one of the newest farmers markets to open up this year. We will also be launching at the Distillery District’s Sunday market beginning on July 6th, so come check us out there.
Have a great week everyone!