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Smoking Food!

I am after some advice on food smoking!

I have a ProQ cold smoke generator and i am planing to use it in a new galvanised dust bin, will this be ok? Might the food get tainted in the bin?

Many Thanks

Our very own Gareth is your man for advice on the smoking of food  

Providing the food being smoked does not touch the bin there should be no problem. I think the major concern would be from the resident bacteria upon the surfaces rather than the zinc used in the galvanising process.

Thank you for your replies - I will keep you posted on how i get on    


I have just copied and paste this from one of the albums on my facebook page I do hope that it is of interest to you.

My tatty old Smoker. My good friend (and previous landlord) Ray left it to me in his will when he died 4 years ago................. I really must get around to tidying it up a bit and giving it a new coat of paint.

To get the well seasoned Hardwood saw chips that are required to load up the ProQ cold smoke generator, I have found that the easiest way to produce them is touse a sliding mitre saw and to get a piece of scrap timber and either clamp it or screw it to the rear guide fence of the saw: I have drilled a couple of holes in the fence of my saw to take wood screws to hold the stops in place. Ensure that the scrap timber is overhanging the blade like this so that it is cut flush.

Cut the piece of timber and discard the off-cut.

The piece of timber that has been clamped or screwed into place is now your Zero clearance cutting stop.

Stand the saw on a large plastic sheet or tarpaulin to catch the all of the saw chips. The fitted as standard chip catching bag cannot be relied upon for this operation. Feed your chosen piece of well seasoned hardwood (debarked Hawthorn in this case) hard up against the zero stop and make a cut. Continue making cuts against the Zero stop until you have sufficient saw chips for your requirements.............. I like to do a couple of logs worth so I have woodchip for smoking available in a plastic box and ready for when I am.

If you have some little flat discs of wood left over from the cutting operation, do not dispose of them. Store them in small plastic take away containers that you often get from the Indian, Thai, Chinese or similar. To use the discs for hot smoking put them into a metal box with 3 or 4 additional ventilation holes; old 50g/2oz Tobacco tins are ideal for this purpose..... but ensure you have completely removed the rubber seal first, and then place this upon on the hot BBQ coals to produce a full flavoured hot smoke whilst cooking.

During this warmer weather I like to only run the smoker from Midnight-ish through until 8 or 9am: that is because of the efficiency of the ProQ cold smoke generator which will smoulder unattended on relatively very little wood chip for well over 8 hours (14 hours is the best I have got from one load in it so far), and the cool of night is a much better time as there is less chance of the food spoiling due the higher daytime ambient temperatures

The ProQ cold smoke generator. It takes approximately 100g of Wood chips to load it. I have found the saw chips from a sliding mitre saw to be absolutely perfect to use. The wood chip in the ProQ is ignited using a lit tea light candle for a couple of minutes. As soon as the smoke begins to rise and the wood chip is smouldering nicely you can extinguish and remove the tea light candle.

The ProQ has been smouldering for about 2 hours now. The smoke output is an inoffensive amount, which is a good thing when you have neighbours. This continuous but minimal smoke output is more than adequate to flavour and preserve the food. You can see the inoffensive wisp of smoke on the left hand side of the ProQ.

Here is a typical load for our smoker, as you can see we do not limited ourselves to just meat or fish. Here I have along with the Chicken breasts, 2 lumps of Cheddar Cheese, whole Garlic bulbs, 3 onions, crushed mixed nuts, Walnut halves, and Black Pepper Corns.

Here are a couple Pork Chops and a couple of Lamb chops ready to go into the smoker.

The easiest and most convenient way that I have found to smoke small food items is to use some Muslin cloth stretched over wooden embroidery frames. The smoke can then percolate through the cloth and over the whole surface of the food. The Muslin cloth and the wooden frames are also very easy to clean afterwards.

Loading up the smoker.

The crushed nuts and the Cheddar cheese after about 9 hours of smoking.

More gratuitous photos of food I have smoked. This is diced Pork marinated in Damson Vinegar. Half was minced and used to make Scotch Eggs, the rest was used to make Pork, sweet corn, sweet peppers, Parsnip and Pea Pasties.

Dried Sweet (Bell) Peppers on the left, and even more Black Pepper Corns on the right. Smoked Black Pepper corns are the perfect condiment to cook with or to grind fresh at the table....... the taste is unbelievable.

Experimenting with Brining chicken breasts prior to cold smoking. The one the right is a salt water brine mix made of orange Juice, water, salt, garlic and coriander powder. The one on the left was just garlic and salt water.

A herby chicken for a Sunday dinner and a few sausages Smoked overnight on a Friday night.

Sliced Sweet (Bell) Peppers and halved Mushrooms that were used in a Chicken fricassee and a Chicken Pie, along with even more smoked garlic bulbs.

A chocolate coffee cake topped with smoked Walnut halves.


I had no idea you could smoke peppercorns!! What a great flavour that must be!

I recently made a smoked Tomato Ketchup using cold smoked Sun dried Tomatoes, and peeled fresh Tomatoes.

The Sun dried Tomatoes were scattered upon the framed pieces of muslin and placed in the smoker. I found the easiest way to smoke the peeled fresh Tomatoes was to peel them using the hot water method and to then stand the naked Tomatoes in spiral wire egg cups in the smoker.................. I also did the same for the hard boiled eggs that I smoked to make Scotch Eggs the other evening.

Excellent article Gareth, clear and easy for numpties (like me) to follow and understand  

As 12Bore said....easy article to follow....your putting more thoughts in my head....
Keep this up and I will certainly have no "time on my hands"...

Cheers Gareth.....

Thank you for posting Gareth, really interesting I had a go at smoking some cheese and garlic a couple of evenings ago and it has been quite successful! I am very keen to do some more, your article has got me planning more smoking! I will be asking your advice!

Cheers James

I'm no expert at cold smoking Jimbo.................I've only been doing it regularly for about 3 years but I do learn extremely fast and I am a little more daring and experimental than most.  

Successfully cold smoking Honey has been my pinnacle so far: I think it was my problem solving abilities and sheer bdooly mindedness that made me think of using a cheap chocolate fountain to circulate the Honey and putting the whole thing in the smoker....... now that was one of my better experiments.

Thanks for that Gareth My smoking had gone a little stale, so now have a couple of new routes to follow.



Forget the bin, I built one of these like the one in chickenfeeds post.


Gareth wrote:
I recently made a smoked Tomato Ketchup using cold smoked Sun dried Tomatoes, and peeled fresh Tomatoes.

Cold Smoking fresh Tomatoes. That is correct, and no I have not gone nuts, fallen out of my tree or absconded from an institution, but I have figured out how to cold smoke fresh tomatoes so they can be used in other recipes. You will need: Fresh tomatoes, wire egg cups and either a slotted or a pasta/spaghetti serving spoon. You will also need a saucepan of boiling water.

Drop the fresh tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1 minute..... absolutely no longer as all you want to do is remove the skin and not cook the tomato.

You will see the surface of the skin break in the boiling water, this is when your tomato is ready to be peeled.

Peeling them with your fingers is very straight forward and quickly done.

8 tomatoes hot dipped and peeled in less than 8 minutes from beginning to end!

Note: all though I am not doing it to this batch, you can roll the freshly peeled Tomatoes in finely ground, salt, black pepper, powdered garlic and other herbs & spices to season them before cold smoking.

The freshly peeled tomatoes sat in their wire egg cups in the smoker along with some Garlic granules and dehydrated wild Cherries.


6 more Tomatoes from the bottom of the fridge, which I will "hot dip" peel ready for cold smoking.

Today I am going to roll my freshly peeled Tomatoes in a blend of Herbs de Provence, ground Black Pepper and Celery Salt.

After the Tomatoes had been rolled around in my blended seasoning, I placed them in the wire egg cups ready to be put into the cold smoker.

I have placed them at the top of the smoker and they will be directly under the dome when I put it on in a moment. These pre-seasoned Tomatoes will spend the next 9 or 10 hours in wisps of a blend of Hawthorn, Oak and Sycamore smoke, along with about 1.6kg of Mature Cheddar cheese, 5 large chicken breasts, and 4 really good looking Pork chops.


I'm a great fan of the ProQ csg, and have promoted it wherever possible.  I'm also aware that the 'food risks' that people are prepared to take vary tremendously.

I don't want to 'rain on anyone's parade', but would ask people to be aware that cold smoking generally involves the product being in the 'temperature danger zone' for long periods. Not only that, but it also creates anaerobic conditions.

Please be careful.


Have a look at this. Obviously cheap and cheerful but how useful do people think that this model could be to those starting out smoking?

That it is good price: 25.99 plus 6.99 P&P to UK postal zone A

With the main body at 41cm diameter (it is 52cm is across the handles)  if you wish to extend the smoking chamber as I have done, it will accept additional stack-on sections and grills from other manufacturers and stockists.

Thank you for posting the link Bodger - just ordered one up!

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