What is hot smoking?
Hot smoking takes place between 80-120C. The smoke from small wood chunks or chips placed on a heat source such as charcoal slowly cooks the food and infuses it with flavour.
What is the difference between hot and cold smoking?
Cold smoking does not cook meat or fish as hot smoking does. Instead, the protein is gently preserved by the smoking process, which takes place at ~25C. The end product is considered ‘cured’ and is eaten ‘uncooked’; smoked salmon is an example of cold-smoked food.
What can I hot smoke?
A wide range of foods can be hot smoked including meat, fish and vegetables, dairy products such as cream and butter, egg yolks, garlic and seasonings, such as salt.
Smoked meats are an important cornerstone of American barbecue tradition. Brisket, for example, is cooked very slowly at a low temperature with wood (often oak). This produces a very tender piece of meat with a visible, pink ‘smoke ring’ just under the surface, achieved when wood smoke reacts with myoglobin in the meat.
While brisket is a cut many outdoor cooks attempt to master, it is possible to smoke any piece of meat, including sausages, duck, chicken wings and of course, bacon!
Seafood is a great place to start if you’re new to smoking, as fillets of fish and shellfish will all cook quickly. Salmon is a popular choice - serve with a salad of fennel, peas and radishes or stir through pasta with creme fraiche and lemon zest. Other oily-fleshed fish such as mackerel take smoke flavour well; try smoking fillets or whole fish and serve with pickled cucumbers, rye bread and good butter. The shop-bought, pepper-laden fillets will pale in comparison.
Many vegetables can also be smoked. Try experimenting with hardy roots such as beetroots and parsnips - you’ll find their earthy flavours are complemented by the spicy sweetness of wood smoke. Aubergines are notorious for their abilities to absorb smoke flavour, and can be cooked whole then skinned to reveal creamy flesh that will make the best baba ganoush you’ve ever tasted. Or use sweet vegetables such as squash or pumpkin, served with ricotta and a sprightly green sauce for an explosion of creamy dairy and zippy herbal flavours.
Smoked butter and garlic are both excellent spread thickly on sourdough bread and sprinkled with crunchy sea salt, or served with grilled fish, vegetables or a flame-licked steak.
What types of wood can I use for hot smoking?
Different woods will produce unique smoke flavours due to the varying components of each species. A wood with more glucose molecules will produce sweet flavours such as coconut, apple and peach. Harder woods will produce pungency and spiciness.
Oak is a popular choice for smoking, as it produces a mellow smoke that doesn’t overwhelm. Fruit woods such as cherry add a hint of their namesake fruits, while hickory is towards the stronger end of the flavour-scale. Experimenting with different woods is part of the fun of smoking.
Exciting Home Smoking Recipes
Rich, tender smoked duck breast, tart pickled walnuts and bitter radicchio leaves combine to make a salad that’s full of pleasing contrasts.
See how easy it is to smoke a piece of fresh salmon at home. We love to eat this warm from the smoker with charred leeks and a creamy mustard sauce.
Tofu makes a perfect base for smoke flavour and is incredibly versatile. Try dicing and folding into steaming fried rice, add to a frittata with spring onions, or top noodles (don’t forget the crispy chilli oil!).
Smoking your steak before pan searing is akin to the reverse-sear method, using smoke to very gently begin the cooking process rather than the oven. Serve your smoked steak with a salad of bitter leaves dressed with a lip-tingling shallot vinaigrette and triple cooked chips.
What are the best smokers for home smoking food?
Cameron's Stovetop Smokers
Camerons stainless steel stovetop smokers make it simple to smoke food indoors.
The original Camerons Stovetop Smoker can be used quickly and easily indoors to add smoke flavour to meat, fish, or vegetables, and can accommodate larger cuts such as hams if tented with foil. This premium indoor smoker also doubles as a steamer and will become your new best friend in the kitchen.
If you’re looking for something smaller, the Camerons Gourmet Mini Smoker will suit your needs. Just like the Camerons original smoker, it is placed over the heat source, using wood chips to impart a smoked flavour to food in minutes.
ProQ Smokers are high quality, robust and versatile smokers loved by professionals and home cooks alike. They feature a modular, stacked design and will not corrode thanks to their high spec materials including cool-touch silicone and porcelain.
This is a top of the range smoker used by competitive BBQ professionals. With a 65lb cooking capacity (enough for 8 whole chickens!) and functionality for grilling, smoking and roasting, this is a very versatile piece of equipment - the only limit is your own creativity.
Cook enough food to serve 12 people in this stack-designed upright smoker. While hot coals provide a heat source from the bottom, a central water tray creates steam, helping retain moisture. Slow smoke or quick sear with this adaptable, good-looking smoker.
This compact smoker has all the features of the larger Excel and Frontier Elite smokers but is suitable for a smaller outdoor space. Smoke your own ribs, duck breasts or even your Christmas turkey inside!