[Sca-cooks] Smoker

Daniel Schneider macbrighid at campus.ie
Sun May 31 19:33:37 PDT 2009


The thing to remember about preservative smoking is that it's aimed at
insects, not microbes.We did a fair amount of smoking at Sturbridge, and as
I recall (CAVEAT: this was about ten years ago, so I may be off on some of
the details), food that was cured by dry salting would be hung in *cool*
smoke to have a layer of smoke residue (we used corn cobs) laid down on the
surface, to keep bugs from laying eggs in the meat. It's possible that the
smoke *may* have had some effect in pulling any residual moisture from the
meat, but considering thefact that the meat would have been buried in salt
for several weeks previously, I wouldn't think there would have been much
residual moisture in the first place... The biggest problem I'd forsee with
using a modern smoker would be keeping the meat from getting too warm. We'd
do the smoking in the late fall, and we'd try to keep the temp inside the
smokehouse about the same as the ambient air temp: The smokehouse was about
the size of a single-occupant outhouse, with the meat hung near the roof,
and the smoke coming from corncobs smouldering in a (approx)3-quart iron
kettle on the floor. I'm not sure how you'd be able to get the low
temps with a small modern smoker


> Cariadoc Wrote

> Have you experimented with smoking as a method of preservation,
> rather than only flavoring? I've wondered if it would be a useful way
> of having meat at Pennsic without a cooler.
> --
> David/Cariadoc
> www.daviddfriedman.com
> And Hrefna Wrote:
> I have not, but I have thought about it.  The question is of course
> figuring out how is safe to do.  I am pretty sure that the smoke would
> need to really penetrate, or that the meat would need to dry out some. I
> am not sure what would be the most hostile to the nasty organisms that I
> would want to avoid. If I am remembering correctly, most preserved
> smoked meats are relatively dry, so running the smoker without the water
> pan would be called for. I have also thought that developing a 'crust'
> of smoke to seal the meat after getting it up to sterile temperatures
> could work, similar to how one can use a pie crust to seal out bugs. I
> would be creating an anaerobic environment inside the meat, so botulism
> is a worry.
> I have never found any period resources about how to smoke meat for
> preservation, but I have also not looked seriously. hmm.
> Just off the top of my head, my first try might be a dry smoke of thin
> (half inch or so) cuts, at around 250?F, for about to 8 hours. As a
> first try I would probably make lots of pieces and take one out each
> hour after around 4 hours to about 16 hours, then leave them at room
> temp for a few weeks in a cloth bag, each labeled, and see what happens.
>  Not sure how brave I would be to try them after.
> The safest way would be dropping the smoked bits in honey or vinegar
> while still hot or making sure the meat ended up very dry, more like jerky.
> -Hrefna

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