Smoking meat for meals has been around for centuries, first as a way to survive and, as years passed, as a preferred method of preparing food to give it a unique taste. Sometimes people also used salt to preserve the quality of the meat. Though smoked meat was very popular in Europe and in countries around the area, it didn’t become a favourite when introduced in what is now the United States and Canada (at least, not right away).
There are two basic methods of preparing meats in this manner: cold smoke and hot smoke. The time period depends on the food being prepared, on the heat or lack of it, and on personal preference, of course. In most cases, the need for a specific temperature to achieve desired results meant limiting the process to the colder months of the year. Today, refrigeration technology has changed this a bit.
Unique Taste, Texture
Smoked food in general has a unique taste and texture with which most people aren’t familiar. But specialists in this process take great pride in producing the foods that they offer and once people try these wares, they often become great fans. Producing high-quality smoked food in Sussex begins with carefully chosen raw ingredients and the wood used in the process. Oak delivers a special flavour to fish, meats and cheeses through a wood used because it’s found in abundance in this area.
Of course, a key element in producing quality products is the traditional methods that continue to be used even today. In the hot-smoking method, a specially built kiln burns an open fire of local oak. With a process this “hands on,” the kindling and logs must be cut carefully by an individual with the experience and skill to size the wood correctly. This helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process.
Not only does a proper fire provide the required smoke but it helps bring meat and fish to the correct temperature. The food is adequately cooked and smoked to deliver a balanced, authentic taste. One of the keys to success is to know from experience when to close the fire and start smoking the fish or meat. With some fish, such as salmon, specialists use both cold smoke and hot smoke to produce a firmer texture and give it the necessary smoked taste.
This process involves the use of traditional brick kilns. Cold smoking gently removes moisture to preserve fresh food and give it flavour. Smoking time varies with the season and with the specific meat or fish used.
If you haven’t tried meat, fish, or cheese smoked in the traditional manner, you will be pleasantly surprised at the taste and quality. While the oldest, proven methods are still used today, modern smoking experts adhere to all health and hygiene requirements and guidelines.