How to preserve seafood by hot & cold smoking

There are two types of smoking: hot smoking and cold smoking.

Hot smoking cooks the seafood but only partially preserves it. It is achieved by using smoke that has a considerable amount of heat.

Cold smoking is a preserving process, but does not cook the seafood. Cold smoking can be undertaken by either of two methods:

  • By the use of smoke with the heat removed
  • with a liquid containing the same chemicals as those in smoke

It has been found that hot smoking is more microbiologically safe than cold smoking.

Seafood can be frozen after it is smoked.

Equipment required

  • Hooks, smoke oven or pot, smoking cabinet, barbecue kettle, and woodchips or sawdust

Seafood to be smoked is traditionally first salted or soaked in brine to add flavour and help preserve the seafood. This is essential when cold smoking is used.

Hot smoking times

  1. Hang the seafood in the smoke of a fire but not near the heat source. This is usually done in custom-built cabinets or boxes.
  2. The ambient temperature should be around 20–30°c.

Cold smoking times

The smoking time determines the storage life of the smoked seafood, though oil content and quality will also affect this. Smoking time can vary from 12 hours to a couple of days. Cold-smoked seafood has a dried appearance.