my new obsession, cold smoking… part one

we all know how delicious smoked food is.  aside from smelling like firewood, it’s easy & has great results.  i come from a home from everything could be smoked, from thanksgiving turkeys to ribs.  this however is a game changer, cold smoking is where it is at!  thanks to a christmas wish fulfilled by my brother, i finally got around to giving it a go.

this is super easy, little mess & cheap!  what the hell is cold smoking?  it is a way to flavor food without cooking it like in a traditional smoking.  Iall you need is a smoker or grill, a pellet tube smoker, smoker wood pellets & a utility lighter.  oh, and lots of random food to smoke!  i used my grill, a 12 inch A-maze-n tube smoker, smoke pellets from amazon & disposable metal trays.  the instructions that come with the tube smoker are simple to follow and worked like a charm.  so, get to ordering your supplies so you can join the fun!  just a note, where i live this is the perfect time of the year to cold smoke due to the 35 to 50 degree weather.  if you live in a warmer climate, i would do some research before you dive in.

what food should you cold smoke? While you can cold smoke bacon & salmon, i am starting with food items that don’t need to be cooked.  aside from smoked salmon or cheese, there aren’t a lot of searchable resources on cold smoking.  i just tried to think about what food items i would want to have a smoky flavor.  i’ve had smoked salt & smoked tomato sauce, so that is where i started.  i decided on salt, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cauliflower, ricotta, cheese blocks & onions.  i’m looking forward to smoking other things like hardboiled eggs, fruits & nuts.  this will be a two part post considering the amount of stuff i smoked.

smoked salt

2/3 cup course salt
8X8 tray

. smoke for 1 hour

i just used kosher salt.  if you want to make more salt, no big deal.  it will just take a little longer & you will need to stir half way through to make sure all of the salt gets even exposure to the smoke.

what to use it for? season anything that you would use regular salt for.  popcorn, roasted veggies or fish for starters.

plum tomatoes

4 plum tomatoes, quartered & deseeded
8X8 tray with 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke for 3 hours

what to use these for? since they aren’t cooked, i put them in the food processor & will add them to a tomato sauce.  if you wanted to peel your tomatoes before you smoke them, you can make tomato jam, salsa… the list goes on

smoked ricotta

1 16 ounce container whole milk ricotta
8X8 tray
salt & pepper

. smoke for 1.5 hours to 2 hours stirring half way through

. this cheese is super delicate, so watch out for over smoking.  taste test to smoke level then season with salt & pepper.

what to use this for? as you would use any ricotta.  i used it as pictured on a crostini, but i am looking forward to using it in lasagna & pizza.

smoked ricotta & honey crostini

this combination is straight perfection! smoky, sweet, spicy & savory. OH. SO. GOOD.

1 small baguette, thinly sliced
smoked ricotta
red pepper flakes
fresh thyme
salt & pepper
olive oil

. preheat oven to 375 degrees
. place bread slices onto baking sheet in a single layer
. lightly drizzle with olive oil
. bake until both sides are lightly browned, flipping over halfway
. let bread cool enough to be handled
. spread ricotta on bread & place onto serving dish
. LIGHTLY drizzle with honey
. season with red pepper flakes, cracked pepper & salt
. sprinkle with fresh thyme


2 cans chickpeas, drained
8X8 tray with plenty 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke for 2 hours

oven roasted chickpeas

we have all had the yummy guilt free snack.  this is just the best of the best in flavor town (yes, sadly i just quoted guy fieri).

. preheat oven to 425 degrees
. cover large baking sheet with foil
. place chickpeas on baking sheet & drizzle with olive oil just to coat the chickpeas
. season with salt, pepper & garlic powder
. toss until everything is coated
. bake 20 minute, shaking baking sheet every 5 minutes
. make sure they are crispy before you take them out of the oven, sometimes the golden color makes you think they are done before they are


1 lb small cauliflower florets, do not cut too big for even smoking
2 8X8 trays (or one larger sized tray) with plenty of 1/8 to 1/4 inch holes in the bottom

. smoke 3.5 hours

what can this be used for? replacing protein in things like pasta.  since it isn’t cooked, you can cook to make cauliflower mash (just don’t boil) or even just eat with dip.

cauliflower salad with bacon & sunflower seeds

this is like replacing potatoes or pasta, even chicken or tuna for a healthy salad.  just break down cauliflower into bite sized pieces, you can even finely chop the stalks leftover to add to the salad.

1/2 cup mayo
1 teaspoon apple cider or rice vinegar (i used roasted garlic rice vinegar)
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
5 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt & pepper

. mix cauliflower, mayo, red onion & celery together
. season with salt & pepper & toss to make sure everything is coated
. when ready to serve top with bacon, sunflower seeds & scallions

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