The Perfect Time for Cold Smoking

The Perfect Time for Cold Smoking

Have you ever tried smoked salmon? Personally, it’s my favorite snack and I love making it. It’s made by cold smoking, a technique used to preserve meat, and is now considered a renowned delicacy worldwide. To this day, this refined preservation method is employed often, in hopes of storing meat for a long time without it going bad. Not only does smoking kill harmful bacteria, it also gives a wonderful smoky flavor to your dishes. There are many ways to smoke, but here’s a very simple way to elevate your cooking game to the next level.

My favorite smoking method is to cold smoke, which I love doing with different foods, but more particularly with fish. To cold smoke, you must first understand that it is not a source of heat that will cook your meat; instead, the smoke penetrates each layer and slowly cooks it. Hence why it’s called cold smoking. This method requires the ambient temperature to be favorable. Fall to early winter and spring seasons are ideal as it’s not too warm outside. If the smoking isn’t done in a smoker, you can use a barbecue with a large grid. The reason for this is that we want the food to be as far as possible from the heat source while it’s smoking.

These are the very simple steps I use when cold smoking which have never let me down:

If cold smoking meat or fish, you must brine your piece in a mix of your favorite spices and salt for at least 12 hours in the fridge, to cure the meat and stop bacterial growth. The quantity of spice depends on the size of your filet. Make sure your filet is well covered with your favorite rubs and tightly wrapped in your fridge, to contain the delicious yet “fishy” smell.  When ready to go, gently rinse your fillet and pat dry. If you are planning to cold smoke nuts, cheese or fruits, you can skip this step.

  • Check the outside temperature! To cold smoke, you must make sure that it’s between 4 and 15 degrees Celsius. Your smoking session will last 3 to 4 hours, so do it under the warm midday sun or after sundown to stay within that temperature range as much as possible.
  • Fill the pellet holder of your choice with enough pellets to fulfill a 3-4 hour smoking session and light the pellets on fire. Wait until the pellets have burned a few centimetres with a strong flame, then blow it off to keep the smoke going. You want to make sure the fire is strong and will work its way through after you set it up and forget about it. Too close to the fire? Don’t hesitate to wear gloves.   
  • Place the smoking pellets at the opposite end of your fish inside your BBQ, either under or on your heat deflectors.
  • After making sure you have good airflow and that your BBQ is cold smoking, close the lid and let the flavor-infused smoke slowly cook your meat.
  • For a milder flavor, smoke your meat or fish for 3 to 4 hours, and up to 10-12 hours if you prefer a very intense flavor. No matter what, you’re sure to enjoy a delicious and simple dish!

Remember that smoking with maple, cherry, and apple woods will render a softer smoky taste while hickory, oak, or mesquite will  make it more pronounced.

I love this simple recipe on any given day. Smoked salmon is great on salad, can be enjoyed with a cream cheese bagel the next day, or as a topping on white pizza. Well… that’s another recipe!

Enjoy your barbecue at this time of the year and get smoking!

For more recipes and barbecuing techniques, visit

10 Tips for Grilling in Winter

10 Tips for Grilling in Winter

Temps are falling, days are getting shorter, and there’s every indication that this season we will be staying in and cooking at home more than any winter before.

Here’s one way to get by: don’t put that grill or smoker away. Instead, embrace backyard cooking through the fall and all winter long.


The following are 10 tips to make the most of grilling in the coming months:

  1. Don’t peek! Heat escapes quickly and you’ll be adding on cooking time. Limit lifting the lid except for turning and flipping foods.
  2. Plan on adding 25% more cooking time to compensate for cold temperatures. Use a reliable food thermometer to check.
  3. Consider adding a propane heater to your patio this year. Of course, these heaters can make barbecuing and entertaining in winter much more comfortable.
  4. Make shorter trips outside by moving your barbecue grill a little closer to the house, but make sure you still keep it at least 10 feet from any buildings or structures. Never grill in enclosed spaces, such as a garage or under an overhang, that can trap deadly carbon monoxide.
  5. Position gas grills so the wind is perpendicular to the gas flow, and not blowing the flame down the burner tubes. A sturdy patio umbrella set on its side can also serve as a wind block. When lighting the grill, do not turn the handwheel on the propane tank all the way on. Instead, use a single turn before lighting.
  6. Check that everything is in working order before using your grill. Don’t force a frozen knob or grill lid – you’ll risk cracking it or breaking the seal. Instead, move your grill to a garage where it can thaw or use a hairdryer.
  7. You’ll want to dress warmly, but avoid hazardous bulky clothing and tuck in loose scarves. A pair of easily-removable boots or shoes is a good idea when making trips in and out of the house. You’ll find heat-resistant gloves with plenty of dexterity are worth the investment.
  8. The days are shorter in the winter, and you’ll likely be grilling in the dark. While your favorite flashlight works, it can be hard to juggle with your grill tools. Clip-on or magnetic grill lamps are a handy upgrade for monitoring your cooking.
  9. Consider a wireless remote or instant read thermometer your new best friend. A leave-in remote thermometer allows you to monitor cooking temperature while you stay warm inside, and an instant read thermometer will minimize your time in the cold.
  10. When not in use (and only when completely cooled), protect your grill from the elements with a snug cover.


If you’re not planning to grill over the winter, it’s important to protect your grill from the harsh winter elements. Learn more here: