Hi folks smoking newbie here... need help with cold smoking types of wood

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by munsterfan, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Hello everyone, We live in Portugal in the Algarve and are newbies at cold smoking We have several trees on our land and actually lots of trees and wild herbs on all the lands around us. We built a cold smoker from an old Weber BBQ and a clean 55-gal drum. We're now preparing to smoke garlic,local harvested salt and the Mexican chili's that we've planted. Later on down the road we are thinking of curing and smoking sardines and horse mackerel. 

    1st QUESTION:  

    We don't know which trees and herbs would be good, sweet smoking wood. 

    Trees order of abundance:  
    1. Carob
    2. Almond
    3. Olive
    4. Orange and Lemon
    5. Fig 
    6. Persimmon 
    7. Vine, grapes
    Wild Herbs
    1. Thyme (acres and acres)
    2. Rosemary many kilometers of hedges
    3. Bay laurel (Yes it's a tree but we can only get the leaves) 
    2nd QUESTION:

    To cold smoke something at 50C/60C how many kilos (lbs) of chips would be used on average for say...1-hour? We just don't have a clue. I realize that different woods burn/smolder at different rates etc....I'm just look at a ball-park answer. 

    3rd QUESTION: 

    Must the tree branches that we gather for chipping be tinder dry before smoking? or is semi-green OK? 


    Do we 'soak' the chips before smoking? If yes; then in water or beer or wine ( we've LOTS of cheap tasty wine here)?

    Thank you in advance for your help any/all thoughts and comments welcome. 
  2. Hello.  I am no expert.  Don. know about Persimmon but since it is an edible fruit I might try it.  Carob I had to look up and as it says an evergreen I would steer clear of using that.  All the rest are good to go.

    To cold smoke you are not talking 50c-60c; you need to be looking at 20-40. ( TOPS ).  You need a rethink.  As for wood; we are not talking kilos unless you are smoking in a 24'x30' garage.

    No green or semi-green and no soaking.

    Hope this helps.  Keep Smokin!

  3. Hi Danny thank you for your comments. Thank you for the correction about cold smoke temp.  

    Just a few questions;

    Why not kilos as everything here is in metric?

    Also the Carob tree may keep its leaves in the winter but is not an evergreen in the sense of Pine, Spruce, Fir or Cedar. It's a very hard wood akin in density and BTUs to Oak. I know they use it for smoking in Greece and Turkey etc., but I don't speak those languages so I thought I'd ask about it here is this international Smoking Forum. 

    We also have thousands of FIG trees here ...hmmmmm another smoking wood idea, yes? 

    Thanks again
  4. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    HaHa, Danny is an American living in the UK. America, has not caught up with us yet and still use Pounds, Inches and Miles!
  5. Hi.  No.  What I meant was that you should not have to use "kilos" of wood to cold smoke some meat; unless you are smoking "LOADS" of meat.  A kilo of chips or sawdust will cold smoke a LOT of food.  We are talking grams.  100-500 grams depending on product and smoker. Keep Smokin!

  6. Oh  OK I didn't understand. I have a few finely chipped kilos of Almond and Olive, Carob, Fig and Orange.  

    So I guess I'll just experiment a bit myself with each species of wood, weigh what goes into the fire, then log the usage of chips per hour to maintain a sustained target temperature  of 20C-30C/68-86 °F,  to gain an accurate consumption value.  Just invested in the purchase of a 6kw chipper as there are NO chips to be bought in Portugal.  Thanks again 
  7. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Muster, people can give you advice on what they like, but we are all not the same. Trial and error and find what suits your taste!
  8.  Yes thanks I can see/read that through out this forum and life in general. 
  9. I agree with SM..  Want you want to try to achieve in cold smoking is producing as much smoke as possible ( depending on your tastes ) without adding heat.  If that makes sense.  The other thing you need to assure is that the smoke does not linger too long in the smoking chamber; so you need airflow and exchange of new smoke for old for lack of a better explanation. If the smoke remains too long it will give the food an acrid taste.   As you know fire needs air to burn.  So you need to provide free air exchange without enough air flow to ignite your smoldering chips/dust.  Search mailbox mod.  This mod allows you to open the vents on your smoker ( which promotes air flow ) but also allows you to control the amount of air getting to your chips.  Keep Smokin!


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