Smoking meat has two complete different purposes, one is for flavoring the meat in order to consume it for immediate use and the other is for storing the meat for a later date. Here in the south both methods are used by many people.
Who does not like to have a rack of smoked ribs for dinner or a half of chicken that has been slowly cooked in a smoker. These are two main meat dishes that us southerners love to consume. Today home smokers are sold at almost any large box stores or you can pick one up online from places like Amazon.
Smoking meat can be an art, like mastering how to make fall of the bone barbecue ribs. Smoking meat for dinner is done by starting the smoker in the morning and letting the meat slow cook at a low indirect heat. Cooking something like a pork shoulder roast with the smoke contained in the smoker while cooking a low heat can make some of the best pulled pork that is delicious and tender
Now if you are wanting to smoke meat for preservation you will need to decide if your going to cold smoke or hot smoke the meat . If your looking to cold smoke the meat you will want to use a brine to cure the meat. Cold smoking is done by hanging the meat in a smoker where the temperature in the smoking chamber is between 75 – 120 degrees. Using the brine can make the meat saltier than normal smoking of meat, but by cold smoking you will need the brine to cure the meat for later consumption. Cold smoking of meat can make the meat last for years even when the meat is not refrigerated.
The second form of smoking meat for consumption later on is called hot smoking. Hot smoking takes less time than cold smoking since the temperature in the smoke chamber is between 14 – 200 degrees. The shelf life of hot smoked meat is less than cold smoked meat since you do not need to use brine to cure the meat. Some people will use a little brine for flavoring purposes but it does not need to be added if you want to stay away from salty meat.
Both hot smoking and cold smoking of meat help to preserve the meat from insects or bacterial growth on the meat. Salt cured meat or un-smoked meat will draw insects to contaminate the for consumption.
Like I mentioned above, smoking meat can be an art just like cooking can be. Try some practice runs using less expensive cuts of meat till you get the hang of it before spending money on fancy cuts of meats that you may ruin. There are thousands of recipes on the internet for smoking meat, give some a try and let us know how they turned out.