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Wood to use in a cold Smoker

I know about using Oak, Beech, Hickory, Apple, Pear, Plum and Cherry wood dust in the smoker.......... I have used each of them and each has it's own distinctive taste characteristics, but today I have found some 4 or 5 year old seasoned in an out building Hawthorn logs and I was wondering if anyone else has tried cold smoking food with Hawthorn.

I did a batch of cold smoking using Oak dust earlier this week, so it'll be another 2-3 weeks before I'll want to cold smoke any more Bacon, Chicken, diced Pork, Turkey or Cheese, etc.  

I would like to try a few different kinds of woods to create different tastes, so any pointers or advice from the experience of others will be gratefully received

Here we use Manuka or Kanuka native hard woods sorry bit heavy to post to you  
Bulworthy Project

We were talking about hawthorn as a smoking wood the other day.  Do post how it goes.

Alder is very good for fish.

I am going to bite the bullet and run one of the hawthorn logs through my sliding mitre saw tomorrow morning ..................... the saw chips are the perfect size for smouldering in my ProQ cold smoker. On Sunday I will be a little reserved for me (I normally fill the smoker right up to the top) and will just do a chunk of Cheese, a couple of chicken breasts, some chopped Walnuts and Hazelnuts and about 30 grams of Black peppercorns. I'll let you all know how I get on Sunday evening.

I have just used in our cold smoker some of the old hawthorn I found last week.

Firstly I stripped all of the bark from a Hawthorn log. As the Hawthorn was well seasoned, I used a knotted wire wheel in one of my angle grinders to clean the old bark from it (I find the taste of smoke generated from any kind wood dust with bark in it to be extremely bitter).

I then passed a log through my sliding mitre saw....... this provided saw chips of wood of the perfect size for use in a ProQ smoke generator.

Today whilst trialling Hawthorne wood dust for smoking, we have smoked the following: 2 X 6oz Beef rump steaks, 2 X 5oz Lamb steaks, 3 whole Spanish Onions. 2 X halved (long) red bell peppers, 4oz of halved chestnut mushrooms, 4 whole gloves of garlic, 600g of mature chedder cheese cut into 6 pieces, 100 g of Black peppercorns, 100g Walnuts, 100g Hazelnuts, and 50g chopped Almonds.

The single loading of the ProQ with hawthorn dust smouldered for just a few minutes short of 8 hours, and by the usual Proq standard there was less smoke than we would normally expect..... however this was an extremely well seasoned and dried out (at least 5 years under a weather proof cover) Hawthorn log that I used. If the wood had not been so dry the dust would have smouldered for maybe another 2, and possibly 3 hours with probably about twice the volume of smoke, so maybe I should have dampened it down with a little water about an hour or so before I started.

Initial taste tests of the nuts and the cheese indicate a rather pleasant bitter sweet taste from the smoke which immediately reminded me of the scent of hawthorn blossom. I have either cling filmed or bagged all of the food that I have smoked this afternoon to allow the tastes to develop for a few days. I really hope that the pleasant bittersweet taste is not lost, but matures to become a little more rounded, more pronounced in taste, but a little subtler in bitterness.

Alll in all I will recommend without reservation using hawthorn dust in the smoker.

For dinner this evening Lois used  1/2 a smoked Onion, One of the Smoked Bell peppers, and all the smoked mushrooms that we did with the hawthorn saw chips on Monday. She made me a sort of chicken risotto which went down exceptionally well.

After a couple of days the hawthorn smoked food has taken on a lovely summer taste to the smoke which I was not expecting............. you will just have to try it yourself to experience what I mean.  

We have just had dinner, and tonight it was a couple of the hawthorn smoked chicken breasts that I had smoked last weekend and then froze for 7 days.

When the chicken breasts had thawed, we slit them to make a pocket and added a level teaspoon of our favourite mango chutney to each before sealing them with a cocktail stick and baking in the oven. The combination of the hawthorn smoke and mango chutney was a superb combination of tastes.

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