Methods to Grasp Smoking Meat, Salt-Curing and Brining

smoking meats, brining, salt curing

Smoking, curing and brining are historical methods utilized in preserving meals. In the present day, meals akin to hams, corned beef and smoked salmon are salt-cured, brined or smoked primarily for taste. Cured meats have a attribute pink shade which is attributable to the response of sodium nitrite, which is added throughout processing, with the naturally occurring myoglobin protein within the meat.


Salt-curing is the method of surrounding a meals with salt or a combination of salt, sugar, nitrite primarily based curing salt, herbs and spices. Salt-curing dehydrates the meals, inhibiting bacterial progress and including taste. It’s most frequently used with pork merchandise and fish. Salt-curing just isn’t a fast process and does take a little bit of time to finish. For instance, country-style hams are salt-cured. Correct curing requires about one and a half days per 450g (1lb) of ham, which suggests three weeks for the common ham!

Some salt-cured hams akin to smithfield and prosciutto are usually not truly cooked. The curing course of preserves the meat and makes it protected to devour uncooked.

Gravlax is a well known salmon dish ready by salt-curing salmon fillets with a combination of salt, sugar, pepper and dill.

salt cured gravlax
Salt-cured gravlax


A brine is definitely a really salty marinade. Most brines have approx. 20% salinity, which is equal to 450g (1 lbs) of salt per 4 L (1 gal.) of water.

A brine has approx. 450g (1 Lbs) of salt per 4L (1 Gal) of water

As with dry-salt cures, brines may also comprise sugar, nitrites, herbs and spices. Brining is typically known as pickling.

In the present day, most cured meats are ready in giant manufacturing amenities the place the brine is injected into the meat for fast and uniform distribution. Commercially brined corned beef is cured by this course of, as are commonest hams. After brining, hams are additional processed by smoking.

Smoking Meats

Smoking meats has loads of info related to it, but it surely leads to one of the crucial satisfying and widely-used processing strategies.

There are two primary strategies of smoking meals:

The precept variations between the 2 is that sizzling smoking truly cooks the meals whereas chilly smoking doesn’t.

Each are performed in a smoker particularly designed for this function. People who smoke may be gasoline or electrical and so they fluctuate tremendously in measurement and operation. However they’ve a number of issues in frequent.

All encompass a chamber that holds the meals being smoked, a method of burning woods to supply smoke and a heating component.

Kinds of Wooden for Smoking

Various kinds of wooden can be utilized to smoke meals. Particular woods are chosen to impart particular flavors.

  • Hickory — Usually used for pork merchandise
  • Alder — Nice for smoked salmon
  • Maple
  • Chestnut
  • Juniper
  • Mesquite
  • Cherry
  • Apple
  • And plenty of extra

It is very important keep away from resinous woods that give meals a bitter taste such pine. Tea and fragrant herb stems could also be utilized in smoking as effectively.


Chilly Smoking

Chilly smoking is the method of exposing meals to smoke at temperatures of 10’C – 29’C (50’F – 85’F).

Meat, poultry, recreation, fish, shellfish, cheese, nuts and even greens may be cold-smoked efficiently. Most cold-smoked meats are typically salt-cured or brined first. Salt-curing or brining provides taste, permits the nitrites (which give ham, bacon and different smoked meats their distinctive pink shade) to penetrate the flesh and, most essential, extracts moisture from the meals, permitting the smoke to penetrate extra simply.

smoked meat wood chips
Wooden chips for smoking

Most cold-smoked meats are typically salt-cured or brined first.

Chilly-smoked meals are literally nonetheless uncooked. Some, like smoked salmon (lox), are eaten with out additional cooking. Others, akin to bacon and hams, should be cooked earlier than consuming.

Sizzling Smoking

Sizzling smoking is the method of exposing meals to smoke at temperatures of 93’C to 121’C (200’F to 250’F). As with chilly smoking, an amazing number of meals may be ready by sizzling smoking. Meats, poultry, recreation, fish and shellfish which might be hot-smoked additionally profit from salt-curing or brining. Though most smoked meals are totally cooked when faraway from the smoker, many are utilized in different recipes that decision for additional cooking.

Whereas most smoking requires specialised tools, two reasonably priced choices exist for imparting a smoked taste to meals. A range prime smoker, which resembles a lodge pan with a decent becoming lid, can be utilized to hot-smoke small cuts of meat, fish, poultry or greens. Wooden chips are scattered inside the underside of the pan. Meals to be smoked sit on prime of a mesh rack contained in the field. The warmth of the range prime ignites the wooden chips, permeating the meals with a smoky taste.

smoked pork

Meals smoked on this method should attain a correct inside cooking temperature to be served with out extra cooking.

Liquid smoke is a flavoring constructed from smoke, which has been condensed from the burning of wooden chips. When used judiciously it may possibly impart a nice smoky style to BBQ sauces and marinades.

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