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Cold Smoking on a Weber Kettle

Cold Smoking on a Weber Kettle

by Tim Granzeau

A Weber kettle offers dramatically great flexibility and wide range of heat levels for smoking.  You may greatly enhance many kinds of meat  which can be enhanced by cold smoking after generously seasoning with sea salt.  These include rib eye beef roasts and loin end pork roasts.  Both are very tender cuts.  Place the meat in the refrigerator until ready to smoke.  Generally you should follow the instructions for smoking salmon although you will want a steady flow of smoke for a minimum of 30 minutes.  This may require more briquettes to start and more wood chips.  This will result in more heat which is not a problem for a roast.

After smoking, place the roast in a pan.  Place pan in a cooler with ice until you finish cooking.  (You do no want your refrigerator to smell like a smoke-house.) 

Cold smoked salmon is impossible on most home smokers.  Here is the way to do this on a Weber Kettle.

Cold Smoking Salmon on a Weber Kettle

Salmon or trout should be smoked without allowing the fish to heat to over 70F degrees.  Do not let the fish temperature rises to over 80F degrees which is partially cooked.  The fish becomes flaked and cannot be sliced thin on a diagonal.

Cold smoking requires a good flow of smoking without heating the cavity of your kettle.  The following basic procedures should be followed.

Season (cure) the fish with kosher or sea salt a day in advance and place uncovered or wrapped in the lower part of your refrigerator.   Before smoking you will want to rinse and carefully and complely dry the fillets.  Wrap with dry paper towels and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to begin smoking.

You will need a mesh rack to hold hot briquettes and small wood chips.  Mild fruit wood or alder chips works nicely with fish.  Soak the chips in hot water for 15 mins.

You will need 4 natural briquettes (Weber or Kingsford Professional) if the temperature is below 50F degrees and maybe 2 briquettes if the temperature is above 75F degrees.

You may light the briquettes with an electric starter or soak them briefly in rubbing alcohol and light with a match.

The cooking rack must be very clean.  I use a stick free rack on top of the kettle rack.

When the briquets are ready, place them on the mesh rack at the bottom level at the windward side.  Toss a good handful of the wood chips on the hot coals.  Place the grill and non-stick rack on the top.  Place the kettle cover in with top vents on the leeward side.  Leave the bottom vents half-way open.  Open the top vents a bit to allow smoke to come out.

When the smoke begins to flow, pull the fish fillets out of the fridge, dry them with paper towels and place skin side down on the leeward side of the grill. 

Replace the cover and set a timer for 20 minutes.  Watch the grill for about 5 minutes to see the smoke flowing.  If it is flowing rapidly, close the top vent a bit.  If the grill begins to feel hot, close to bottom vents halfway.

If the smoke stops, you can light another briquette and place it on the rack with more wood chips.  After 20 minutes the salmon should be fully smoked and still feel cold.  Wrap in aluminum foil and cover with a plastic bag or Press and Seal.  Refrigerate to fully cool the fillets.

Now, you are ready to perform like a Zabar’s professional lox slicer preparing perfectly round paper-thin portions.  Top with capers, onions, cream cheese and enjoy.