Cold Smoking

In the UK, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has done much to renew and increase interest in smoking with his River Cottage TV series. In his accompanying The River Cottage Cookbook, he writes much on the subject of cold smoking … a subtle procedure that requires attention to detail

We would agree, but clearly the Bradley Smoker does so much to relieve the labour intensive business of supervising and fretting over chippings or sawdust, and produces consistent low temperature smoke.

However, when cold smoking, as with any system, there are variables that will affect the performance of the Bradley Smoker.

Cold Smoking Temperature

Firstly, the ambient air temperature will clearly be a contributory factor. Obviously, achieving a low temperature on a cold day is much easier than on a hot summer afternoon.

The quantity of food in the cabinet, and its overall bulk will also affect the temperature in the cabinet.

Consider also our standard smoker models where the element that heats the bisquettes is positioned inside the insulated cabinet. The cabinet is of course insulated for the benefit of hot smoking and barbecuing. When cold smoking, the very small and concentrated area of heat that is used to heat the bisquette, does make some contribution to the temperature in the cabinet, and the fact that the cabinet is insulated does not help the situation.

If, under any particular set of conditions, you experience difficulty in maintaining a sufficiently low temperature in the cabinet, then the solution is to detach the smoke generator from the cabinet by lifting it from the two connecting lugs and to position it some distance from the cabinet. Call upon some basic ingenuity to arrange for the smoke now being produced externally to be piped back into the cabinet.

There is further discussion about maintaining lowest cold smoking temperature in the Bradley Smoker Forum – see

Smoking Times

Obviously these will vary with the different foods to be smoked, and the overall size and texture of the individual cuts or pieces. However, the smoke generator produces enough smoke that the smoking time will not be effected by the overall quantity of food in the cabinet. Generally speaking, smoking times in the Bradley Smoker are much less than is generally quoted by folk who hang their produce in their chimney. For example, salmon can be perfectly well smoked in under two hours, rather than the periods of days that may be quoted elsewhere.