Cold smoking some bacon - need humidity?

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rdstoll
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Cold smoking some bacon - need humidity?

Post by rdstoll » Mon Dec 22, 2014 22:15

Hi - I've read a wealth of information here on the site and in books/forums. Am ready to get my cold smoke "on" next week after I put my bellies into cure this evening.

One thing I've read here is the importance of higher humidities when you are cold smoking. I live in Northern Illinois and temps are expected to get cold next week (like 19 degrees F, -7C).

I'm planning on building a small fire in my reverse flow smoker with the bacon hanging in the pit warmer and am expecting to keep temps in the 50F range as I cold smoke it for several hours. However, with the ambient temperature expected to be so low at 50F in the smoker the relative humidity will no doubt be quite low. So is it a good idea to put some sort of water pan in the pit to keep moisture or does this even matter for something like bacon?

Thanks!
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Post by Devo » Mon Dec 22, 2014 22:36

Well I for one have never heard of R/H being a problem before for bacon. I have made triple smoked bacon several times and the idea is to lower the moisture content of the bacon over time. Have a look at this recipe and maybe it might give you some good ideas. It is based on a bradley electric smoker but can be used with others. My smoking times are much longer and let it rest over night at the same temps I smoke at. Turns out wonderful.
http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showth ... oked-Bacon
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Post by markjass » Tue Dec 23, 2014 00:48

I have not heard of r/h being an issue in smoking bacon. I live at sea level and whilst it gets dry here the r/h does not get to low. The only time I think about r/h is when I air dry my bacon in my curing chamber. I cold smoke the cured bacon for about 4 hrs and then hang it in my curing chamber and gradually reduce the humidity to about 75% over a number of weeks. Once it has lost about 30% of its weight I start thinking about using it.
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Tue Dec 23, 2014 06:59

Some instructions for cold smoking do call for high humidity, especially when meats are smoked for many hours or even days. That is so that that they don't dry out too much. I don't think that this would be an issue with your bacon, since it has a high fat contents and therefore a lower water content.

I do, however have a bit of a concern about cold smoking at 50°F. The colder the temp the less smoke absorption and less flavour imparted into the meat. That temp is used in cold smoking salmon by commercial producers. The standard temperature range for cold smoking meat is 59 to 72. Also don't forget to preheat the smoker (and then cool off of course) before cold smoking. It will season the smoker and purge it of rancid smells,
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Post by markjass » Tue Dec 23, 2014 07:43

This is a good point

"Also don't forget to preheat the smoker (and then cool off of course) before cold smoking. It will season the smoker and purge it of rancid smells"

I use an old whisky barrel as my smoker and use an external smoke generator. After about about every 12 hrs of smoking I strip down the smoker and clean it. If I do not there is a build up of a tar like substance (?creosote) inside it and it is more difficult to keep alight. I also find that it works better. I clean the vents in the barrel and the bars (hang sausages etc). The barrel is well seasoned. Should I give the inside of the barrel a scrub every so often?
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Dec 23, 2014 16:35

Remember that burning wood creates considerable water vapor. The relative humidity at 19°F is always very low and when that air is heated to 50°F it is desert dry.
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