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Curing and Smoking


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Curing and Smoking

In its simplest form the word 'curing' means 'saving' or 'preserving' meat and the definition covers preservation processes such as: drying, salting and smoking. When applied to home made meat products, the term 'curing' usually means 'preserved with salt and nitrite.' When this term is applied to products made commercially it will mean that meats are prepared with salt, nitrite, ascorbates, erythorbates and dozens more chemicals that are pumped into the meat. Meat cured only with salt, will have a better flavor but will also develop an objectionable dark color. Factors that influence curing:

  • The size of the meat - the larger meat the longer curing time.
  • Temperature - higher temperature, faster curing.
  • Moisture content of the meat.
  • Salt concentration of dry mixture or wet curing solution-higher salt concentration, faster curing.
  • Amount of fat-more fat in meat, slower curing.
  • pH - a measure of the acid or alkaline level of the meat. (Lower pH-faster curing).
  • The amount of Nitrate and reducing bacteria present in the meat.

Smoking meat is exactly what the name implies: flavoring meat with smoke. Using any kind of improvised device will do the job as long as the smokehouse is made from environmentally safe material. As long as smoke contacts the meat surface it will impart its flavor to the meat. The strength of the flavor depends mainly on the time and density of the smoke. Smoked meats are usually eaten cold at a later date. Many great recipes require that smoked products hang for a designated time to lose more weight to become drier. It is only then that they are ready for consumption.




Curing and Smoking