Early Morning Cold Taxi: Cold Smoke
These posts have been more and more sporadic, huh? Well, I'm afraid it might be that way for a while-- just a few posts here and there but, most likely, not daily....I'll do my best. This one goes out to my buddy, Gary, from the venerable PigTrip.Net where he blogs knowledgeably about just about every and any bbq joint or event happening in the Northeast.
I start 'cooking full time' for the first time in my life on Monday. I put cooking in quotes because, although I've catered and cooked barbecue for a long time, this is my first restaurant job and there's much to learn. I'll be doing a fair amount of training for the next month or so, as we lead to the opening of the restaurant. I think they're gonna really make me earn my duckets...
In the meantime, I went out to breathe in the smoke from Wubby and while I was at it, I cold smoked some cheese, garlic and (yikes!) tofu. It was a nice, cool and breeze free afternoon which was a big help.
I tried to keep it on the lower side and, when needed, I could open the vertical door entirely and within seconds the temp would drop to a more desirable point. I choked the stack as needed to reduce flames and keep the wood barely smoking, or with the tiniest flame possible.
I started a very small fire of a few nuggets of lump charcoal and split and sawed some logs of cherry down to kindling and chunks, inserted the steel baffle between the horizontal and vertical (where the goods were placed as you can see above) sections of the smoker. I cleaned the shelves, but they weren't pristine, so I used a few layers of cheesecloth (doh!) underneath the product to limit the grease marks. They were in the smoke, and rotated occasionally, for about 4+ hours at a temperature between 40-80 degrees at any variable moment. If the cheese 'sweats' try to bring the temp down and gently blot the moisture away.
I like to wrap the cheese and let it rest for about a day before using it, but we sliced up a piece of the sharp cheddar and used it on top of some yellow rice that night. We packed the rice into little molds with some olive oil and put the cheese on top, then put it in the broiler for a few moments. It was so tasty. The little kernels on top got toasty and married with the cheese and the rest was moist and steamy underneath.