what wood for cold smoking bacon?

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what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby badjak » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:56 am

I got 2 slabs of bacon curing in the fridge. They will be ready for smoking in a couple of days.
I'll cold smoke them as that's the way I like it.
I'll be using a proQ cold smoke generator and I just check my supply.
I got apple wood, beech, alder and oak.

I would prefer to smoke the 2 slabs at the same time. 1 is in a szechuan cure (szechan pepper corns, rice wine, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and obviously salt, some sugar and cure #1),
The other is in a cure with juniper, garlic, black pepper and bay (besides cure #1, salt, and sugar)

What would be the best choice of wood? Or, what would you use?
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby DanMcG » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:42 am

If those are your four choices, I personally would go with the apple wood. Oak would be to strong, and I'm not all that familiar with beech or alder.
FWIW, my goto flavor is pecan.

Where do you get your smoking supplies from badjac?
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby badjak » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:06 am

Thanks Dan,
Oak I can get locally *wine barrel oak" but it is a bit coarse for the proQ.
There is another smoking dust I can get, but it doesn't specify what it is. I have used it before, and it's OK, but I don't want to use it for my bacon.
The others, believe it or not, travelled wiht me in my suitcase from the Netherlands. Luckily KLM/Kenyan airways gives you a 46 kg luggage allowance :D
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby Odin » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:38 pm

Badjak

My favorite wood for bacon is always Apple, as Dan suggested, but with all the spices you used I don’t think it would be the best choice. Hickory would be what you want. Alder would probably do as it is used in many pellet smokers mixed with other woods. What trees are native where you live?
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby wheels » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:49 pm

Beech is a great wood if you don't want the fruitier overtones of apple. I also hear that alder is good.

I would use oak in a mix with any of the other woods to add a bit of Oomph!

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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby badjak » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:26 am

Thanks!

Going to think about it a bit more....
Still got a couple of days.
Sofar I have been using apple and the unmarked one for cold smoking.

Instead of mixing, would it be possible/advisable to smoke with one wood the first night and the next type the second type? Or doesn't that make sense at all?

As for local wood: I use those for hot and warm smoking. Not for cold smoking as I won't get it fine enough to use in the proQ
We have (and I have used) amarula, acacia, and masao, as they grow in my area
Other possible ones are citrus wood, mahogany, mukwa, and for other uses corn cob, cane. I will have lemon wood in a couple of months after pruning my lemon trees
As the country produces Pecan nuts and macademia, it should be possible to get some as well.
But again, I will only be able to get those as branches.
I don't do enough cold smoking to built a dedicated cold smoke house
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby wheels » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:49 pm

The beauty of the ProQ cold smoker is that you can use it in any suitable container - even a cardboard box. My apple and cherry dust is not too fine and doesn't burn well, so I always put a layer of beech underneath it; this solves the problem.

HTH

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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby badjak » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:06 am

Thanks again.
I have decided to go for beech.
Mainly because of the juniper bacon (well, bacon with a couple of juniper berries added). Since this is very much a Northern European flavour, I figured, I'll go with wood that's popular in that area (beech and oak).
So plan is to take the bellies out of the cure today or tomorrow (I'm checking on the weather. I prefer it to be dry as it will be a bit cooler at night in that case).
I may scrape off the spices, or rinse, or just leave them on. Haven't decided yet I figure a lot of them will fall off during the smoking process anyway.
Then leave uncovered in the fridge for a couple of hours to dry out somewhat (and form a pillicule).
Then move to my smoking contraption. They can hang there for half an hour to an hour while I go and prepare the proQ.
Smoke overnight, then wrap in tea towel and keep in the fridge.
Taste in the evening and decide if more smoke is needed. If so, then smoke at night again, fridge during daytime etc
My little tasting will be raw bacon as I really like it and I know it is actually raw meat, but I've been doing this since I was a little kid (esp once the bacon has dried out a bit).

Anything wrong with my description above (bar the eating of raw bacon)? Any additions?
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby DanMcG » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:13 am

Sounds good to me, but i'm not sure a couple hours will give ya a good pellicle. It usually takes me 10-12 hours, but I guess there's many variables to consider for the end result.
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Re: what wood for cold smoking bacon?

Postby badjak » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:17 am

Thanks Dan,
Based on your post, I rushed to my house and took the bellies out of the cure at around 14.00 hrs.
Had them in the fridge till 18.30. then moved them outside and hung them in the smoker (without smoke) and started smoking at 21.30.
Just a glitch, dropped the Szechuan one, so had to go and rinse it after all. Still decided to smoke a I figured that it would dry out while smoking......
And it will get a couple of nights of smoke, so hope all goes fine.
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