Smoking Meat

A barbecue is a favorite form of entertainment around the world. People wait for the weather to change so they can begin this outdoor experience. Doing things outdoors makes the experience a lot more fun, and this also serves to cook. Why stay indoors when you can enjoy the outdoors with a sunny climate? One of the favorite meats that people love is smoked meat. This is done by shaving the meat on a traditional grill.

The grill has to use a certain type of wood or charcoal to ensure that the flavor of the smoked meat is correct. Different types of fuels are available so there is smoke produced on the grill that will give the meat a particular flavor. It is best to take the advice of an expert to choose the right kind of wood for this, as it is not possible to achieve the right flavor on a standard barbecue grill.

It takes some skill to make smoked meat since the food can be infused with too much stale smoke or ruin the meat altogether. Only the experience can get the right touch for this type of cooking, and the first efforts may not be very satisfactory.

There are several instructions given on the internet on how to build a meat smoker on your own with simple instructions that are easy to follow. If you have a friend who has done this kind of thing on his own, he could take your assistance and also borrow the tools needed for it. He will probably also give you instructions on how to prepare the smoked meat, because, surely, he knows how to smoke meat.

Why do we smoke cold meat?

The main reason that meats are spoiled is the moisture inside which becomes a playground for food that damages bacteria. With sufficient moisture removed, we reach a point where the meats will last almost indefinitely in a cool and dry place, and that is how we have solved the lack of refrigeration for thousands of years.

It was relatively easy to dry the meats in countries with constant winds and moderate temperatures like Spain and Italy. These countries have been producing wonderful hams and sausages to date by drying meat for months. Then came the point where the meats were ready to eat, although they never underwent any cooking and lasted a long time.

In northern Europe, the climate was hard, cold and humid, and was not suitable for air-drying meat products. Our ancestors discovered that smoking meat with cold smoke became the best method for preserving meats for later use. Even today in Germany and Poland, about 60% of all meats sold for consumption are of the smoked variety. Therefore, we can say that the cold smoking method originated in northern Europe.

Now the question will arise as to why cold and not hot smoke is more suitable for meat conservation.

No matter what kind of process (cured, smoked, cooked) is sent to a piece of meat, the action will always start from the outside towards the center. Skin, grease or any hard surface will create a formidable obstacle to any process. The hot smoke will dry the meat too quickly, and the outer surface of the meat piece or the sausage wrap will begin to harden. If too high a smoke temperature is applied, the meat will start cooking too.

On the other hand, the cold smoke that has low temperature will not harden the surface of the meat and will penetrate in all the areas of the meat, which takes days and sometimes weeks. Cold smoking is the drying of meat with cold smoke. After prolonged cold smoking, the meat will hang in a cool, dry area and continue to lose moisture, getting to the point where it will be preserved and will not spoil. Such a product, although never subjected to the kitchen, is perfectly safe to eat.

All Polish and Russian meat technology books coincide at the following temperatures:

Cold smoke – below 71 � F (22 � C), some books recommend raising to 77 � F (25 � C)

Hot Smoke – 72º – 104º F (22º – 40º C)

Hot smoke – 105º – 140º F (42º – 60º C)

Cold smoking is rarely done today as it is labor intensive and the meats are preserved by keeping them in a refrigerator or a freezer. Hot smoking is the commonly used method, and the process is carried out within hours. Some products, especially salmon, are still smoked in the cold since cold smoked meats offer a better texture and a smoother, more pronounced flavor. They can be cut into sheets of paper and remain in one piece.

Keep in mind that if you live in a hot climate, the only time you can produce cold smoke using a home smoker is in December, January, and February and at night. Some commercial smokes can generate hot or cold smoke, and temperature and humidity are easily controlled.




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