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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Vergeroux, France

    Default Cold Smoking wood tests

    While doing my yearly PC backup and cleanup I found this, which I had prepared but, I think, never posted. This was back in 2012 ! With the evolution of the Pound Sterling/Euro exchange rate and the increase in British postal rates, buying wood chips from England has become prohibitive for me!

    Wood chip tests

    I finally found some different wood chips for the smoker. To test the differences in smoking with the Pecan, Cherry, Maple or Oak (my old standard) chips, I decided to do four cold smokes one right after the other with three different food stuffs.

    I used as a base reference the time that I have used in the past to get a good cold smoked cheese, that is to say 2 hours with Oak.
    To insure, as much as possible, that there would not be any variances in the flavor of the “raw material”, I cut a piece of Leerdammer cheese in four pieces, a slice of cooked ham (about ¾ of an inch thick) in four pieces and, while I am at it, 2 cloves of garlic in half (!). I have wanted to try smoked garlic for a long time but never wanted to fire up the smoker just for that.

    I started with the pecan. Unfortunately it want out after 1 hour 45 minutes so I did not get the 2 hours that wanted. To maintain the comparison I did the others for only 1 hour 45 too.

    Temperatures for the 4 smokes (I think that the Pecan and Maple are hotter because theygot away from me and started flaming) :

    The garlic : I tasted some of it raw the next day. Being the smallest pieces, I thought that they would have absorbed more of the smoke than the ham or cheese, they did not. The Oak had the strongest smoke flavor followed by the Pecan but none of them really had enough to tell any difference in wood flavor. Put some butter, slices of Pecan garlic and some Italian Pecorino Romano (a kind of Parmesan but made with sheep's milk) cheese on bread then into the microwave. Nice, more smoke flavor but still not enough. Conclusion : do it again increasing the smoking time.

    I tasted the ham after 48 hours. Enough smokiness here. Again Oak was the strongest followed by Pecan. Cherry is really different – surprise, Mrs. king liked the Cherry smoked ham. Other than “smokiness” could not detect any flavor differences between Maple, Pecan and Oak.
    After 72 hours, wow, the Pecan evolved and is fantastic – no change for the others.

    Tasted the cheese 6 days later, Oak was smokier but all had a good smokiness. Could not detect any flavor difference.

    Final conclusion : Smoked garlic to be done again but with a longer smoke.
    The Pecan and Cherry may be worth the extra money but I normally do not cold smoke store bought cooked ham.
    Do additional testing, maybe with something that has to cooked after being cold smoked or add the different woods to a hot smoke.

    Some photos :
    The wood chips:

    Raw material :


    In the smoker for the first run:

    The Italian Pecorino Romano:

    Pecan garlic + Pecorino ready for the microwave:

    Hardware : Cold smoker, Weber kettle copy, SFB stick burner, Weber Spirit E-310, Bullet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    OK. I now want one more toy. I need a cold smoker for the ham and the cheese. Most likely I'd use oak and/or hickory for the wood and try smoking some Colby cheese to start. Thanks for the ideas.
    Small Barrel Smoker/Grill Weber One Touch Gold
    Cowboys don't lie, They only improve on the truth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Carthage, MO


    I gotta say the pics really look good. Let us know how well your cold smoke works after cooking. Thanks

    No chickens were harmed in this statement. But it doesn't mean I didn't want to.
    Last edited by PigCicles; 01-10-2014 at 09:12 PM.
    Plank Owner ..................
    I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!

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