Lack of color on smoked chicken / cold smoking

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ssorllih
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Lack of color on smoked chicken / cold smoking

Post by ssorllih » Fri Dec 14, 2012 05:02

Cold smoked chicken legs, six hours in maple smoke and very little color but very good flavor. Surface may have not been sufficiently dry. Any other thoughts?Image
Last edited by ssorllih on Sat Dec 15, 2012 05:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Baconologist » Fri Dec 14, 2012 05:07

Yes, the surface of the meat must be dry to the touch for smoke to cling well when cold smoking.
You should also ensure that the meat is at smoker operating temperature before cold smoking to avoid condensation.
Godspeed!

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Post by ssorllih » Fri Dec 14, 2012 05:56

I am fascinated that the smoke flavor is present in the absence of the smoke color. I will try these again sometime with a long drying time.
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Post by redzed » Fri Dec 14, 2012 06:33

Did you not use nitrite?
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Post by Pete » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:26

G'day ssorllih,

I can't answer your question as I have no experience with cold smoking at all.

But hope you don't mind if I ask you a question.. :grin:

What is involved in the decision to 'cold' smoke instead of a hot smoke.

Just wondering the pro's and cons of each method in this case.

Into chooks at the moment, pickled 8 x 1/2's yesterday for 8 hours, and hot smoked over 3 hours, very pleased with the outcome for a beginner.

Thanks

Pete
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Dec 14, 2012 15:10

I used a proper brine with sodium nitrite. The meat color is as expected with cured meat. Just didn't get the smoke color on the surface.
I chose to cold smoke because I have a very primitive smoker and temperature control is very limited but I have a very fine cook stove that will hold 170°F for hours. I sometimes hot smoke in this rig but I must monitor it very closely.
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Post by Pete » Sat Dec 15, 2012 01:49

Thanks Ross.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Sat Dec 15, 2012 02:38

Hi Pete,
Would you mind if I threw in a couple of cents worth about the cold smoking process vs. the hot smoking process. Here is some basic information that may help you decide the best route for the product you are making.

"Cold smoked meats prevent or slow down the spoilage of fats, which increases their shelf life. The product is drier and saltier with a more pronounced smoky flavor and very long shelf life. The color varies from yellow to dark brown on the surface and dark red inside. Cold smoked products are not submitted to the cooking process. If you want to cold smoke your meats, bear in mind that with the exception of people living in areas with a cold climate like Alaska, it will have to be done in the winter months just as it was done 500 years ago." ____Stan Marianski

Cold smoking is a drying process usually involving many hours for several days or even weeks. On the other hand, hot-smoking is a smoking-prep cooking process usually finished relatively shortly (within hours). To ensure a constant breakdown of nitrate into nitrite in cold-smoking sausages, Cure #2 is most often used. However, occasionally in some comminuted sausage, the use of Cure #1 may be specified. Cold-smoked products are not usually smoked continuously as fresh air is usually allowed into the smoker at regular intervals to allow time for complete penetration of smoke deep into muscle tissues. As moisture leaves the meat, the product will become naturally rigid.

Because cold-smoked meat and fish products are not cooked, cold smoking is an entirely contrasting process from hot-smoking as the heat source is remote and the smoke is "piped" into the smokehouse from several feet away, giving the smoke time to cool down. Most often, the cold-smokehouse is elevated higher than the heat source, or the smoke is forced inside by a fan.

Because fish begins to cook at 85°F. (30°C.), the temperature in most American "cold-smoke houses" is less than 85° F. (29°C.) and often much lower in order to prevent spoilage. In Russia and many parts of Europe, the upper limit has been 71°F. (22°C.).

Cold-smoked products must contain nitrite or nitrate/nitrite cures to be safe because even using thin smoke, oxygen is cut off and most obligate anaerobic bacteria, some facultative anaerobic bacteria, and even some microaerophile bacteria may thrive. Never cold-smoke fresh sausage or any meat product without using a curing agent.

Some dry-cured (raw) sausages are held for weeks in cold-smoke while they continue to dehydrate safely below .85 Aw. Initially they are protected from pathogenic bacteria by the sausage`s salt content. This affords their only protection while the lactic acid is being produced by lactobacilli and pediococci bacteria. Additionally, some semi-dry cured sausages may be cold-smoked after they have been prep-cooked. Again, although cold smoking is not a continuous process, it usually assures deep smoke penetration. It is usually discontinued overnight, allowing fresh air to assist with the uniform loss of moisture.

Hope this helps.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by ssorllih » Sat Dec 15, 2012 02:57

Chuckwagon that is very true and perhaps I use the term cold smoking erroneously. Stan also states that smoke may be applied in one stage and the cooking in a second stage. That is precisely what I am doing. The air temperature and the temperature in the smoker were under fifty degrees. The meat was brought into the kitchen and placed in a 170°F oven for two hours and the temperature was raised to 195°F until the IT reached 160°F .Then the meat was chilled to 35°F packaged and frozen.
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Post by ssorllih » Sat Dec 15, 2012 03:12

I was just reading some more about curing, smoking and cooking as pertains to this thread.
It seems that smoke will penetrate better on damp or wet meat than on dry meat but smoke will impart color better to dry surfaces. Smoking may be an intregral part of cooking the meat or it maybe a staged process. The choice seems to be based on the quality of temperature control for the cooking process.
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Post by snagman » Sat Dec 15, 2012 05:26

Ross,

What you want is a sticky surface, called a pellicle, which develops on the surface during a drying phase in the refrigerator after brining. The smoke sticks to this. This state is between wet and dry. You might have a better product using chicken if the skin is taken off before brining, since it can be tough and rubbery after smoking.
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Post by ssorllih » Sat Dec 15, 2012 05:48

When I smoke chicken I am going for taste and appearance is secondary. I always get good color when I dry cure the chicken and with any pork that I have cured. I was asking because the smoke flavor was excellant even though the color was anemic. I have since read that wet meat will take smoke flavor into the meat more readily than dry surface meat but that the color develops best in a well formed pellicle.
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