Cold Smoking The Easy Way
Introduction
We were perusing the barbecue section at our local Ace Hardware when we came across a very interesting product, Olde Barbecue Smokecones:

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Olde Barbeque Smokecones.

For $9.99, you get 3 smokecones: one apple, one hickory and one mesquite. The packaging claims that each cone will smoke for 25 minutes. It also contains information on using these cones for hot and cold smoking. We decided to pick a package up, thinking these cones might be just the ticket for the occasional cold smoking session.

The Cones
As you can see from the following photograph, the smokecone consists of a metal pan about 2-3/4" in diameter. Atop this pan sits a cone made from some odd material that looks and feels like highly compressed dryer lint. There is a hole in the top of the cone, and a short wick protrudes from the hole. If you give the cone a shake, you can hear something rattling around inside. You start the smoking process by lighting the wick.

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
A close up of a Smokecone.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Lighting a Smokecone.

Lighting The Cone
The next series of photographs shows what happens next. The wick will burn for a short period of time and the cone itself will start to char and discolor and something inside the cone continues burning. Now, this next part is real important: The instructions say "Light the top of the cone like a candle. The real wood smoke will star in 3 to 5 minutes." As you can see in the third photograph below, smoke will start to exit the cone when the flame goes out and the top 1/3 of the cone is charred. THIS IS NOT REAL WOOD SMOKE! Do not start smoking your food yet! If you take a whiff of the smoke, it will smell of some sort of chemical, not wood. You MUST wait until the entire cone is charred and the smoke coming from the cone smells like wood smoke! Be patient and your patience will be rewarded!

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
The cone has started.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
The cone burns with a flame at first.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
The flame goes out and the cone makes a chemical smoke at first.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
The cone has completely ignited and the good smoke starts.

We decided to use these cones for cold smoking cheese. Each cone is supposed to last about 25 minutes, so we figured two cones would do the job. We picked apple and hickory.

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Cheese ready for smoking.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
We used a plate setter to block any direct heat, then a grid. No ice was used.

How The Cones Performed
So how did the cones perform? Well, we weren't sure how hot the cone would get and therefore if it would ignite any charcoal in the cooker, so rather than place the cone on the charcoal, we put a piece of fire brick down in the charcoal and placed the cone on that. As you can see in the next three photographs, each cone produced plenty of smoke.

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
We placed a fire brick in the bottom so no charcoal would ignite.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Plenty of smoke.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Lots of smoke close up.

The following graph shows the temperature of the cooker and the ambient air temperature during the smoking process. A few comments. The dip halfway through is opening the cooker in order to place the second cone in the cooker when the first cone was petering out. The jump in the outside temperature at the end of the cook was the result of accidentally moving the temperature probe into the sun. As you can see from the graph, each cone seemed to last about 22 minutes. Close enough!

The following photographs show one of the cones after it was done smoking. The second photograph shows how we poked at it and discovered what was inside: wood smoking pellets! And we also discovered that when the cone is almost done smoking, you can poke at the cone to let some air get to the pellets and you can produce a bit more smoke.

Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
The exhausted cone.
Cold Smoking Olde Barbeque Smoke Cones
Inside are wood smoking pellets.

Conclusion
So how did the cheese turn out? Well, we found that two cones, or about 50 minutes of smoking was just about right for our tastes. We doubled-bagged the cheese to prevent smoking up our refrigerator, let it rest a few days and the cheese turned out great! So for the occasional short cold smoking session, if you don't want to mess with briquettes and wood chips, soldering irons, paint cans, or anything else, for about $7.00 an hour, Olde Barbeque Smokecones may just be what you are looking for.


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