Simple recipes for cold smoking meat yourself

According to confirmed data, smoking products has come to us since the times of Ancient civilizations. It is impossible to pinpoint exactly where smoke processing originated, but it is known that the ancient Romans fumigated meat products with wood smoke so that they could be stored longer. The theoretical justification for such actions is quite clear, because smoke contains substances that have preservative properties.

If you start to understand the issue of preparing products for long-term storage, it turns out that it is only necessary to prevent the focal development of microorganisms that are always present in organic fibers.

Substances that can protect against bacteria and remove existing germs are called antiseptics. Wood smoke has antiseptic properties, which is why it was chosen as a preservative. In addition, the smell of smoldering wood goes well with the smell of meat, and the characteristic tart taste has become loved by all nations over time. Since then, smoked meat has been included in the diet of almost any national cuisine.

The idea of ​​organizing smoking at home never went away. One could even say that the factory production of smoked meats is a secondary activity. Recipes for homemade cold or hot smoking have been passed down through generations. Today there is no need to gain knowledge from our ancestors, since all recipes are described in detail in various sources on the World Wide Web. But the lack of exchange of experience between the older and younger generations did not affect the popularity of smoked delicacies.

Benefits of home smoking

The red thread of the article should be cold smoking of meat, as one of the methods of processing it. However, first I would like to dwell on home smoking in general. Self-processing of meat is often criticized. Many are inclined to believe that, having organized smoking at home, it is impossible to comply with GOST, and with these thoughts they calmly go to the market for finished products.

In fact, the vast majority of manufacturers do not have the expected level of responsibility. Their task is to obtain maximum profits, so they are forced to switch from natural smoking to the use of synthetic substances. Instead of wood smoke, a liquid extract is used. In this regard, the conditions for self-smoking look more profitable.

  1. The first advantage is the naturalness of the process. You choose the meat for your future dish, so fraud can be completely eliminated if you make the purchase correctly. Special varieties of trees were selected as smoking material, producing natural, environmentally friendly smoke. When purchasing materials, you will be satisfied only with what is presented.
  2. The next advantage is the ability to adjust the aroma and taste bouquet. The most important thing is to maintain the required proportions in terms of salt content, and all other variations can be initiated at your request.
  3. The last factor that leads to the choice of cooking meat yourself is assessed in monetary terms. Buying a product on the market and preparing it yourself will be much cheaper than purchasing ready-made smoked meat.

Features of cold smoking

There are two smoking methods, naturally, in the simplest classification. One of them is smoke treatment, the temperature of which often does not exceed the ambient temperature. Under such conditions, there are no fundamental changes in the structure of the fibers, so they retain their physical properties.

Cold smoked meat is easy to distinguish by its consistency. It is quite elastic, exactly the same as in its raw form. A yellowish tint is barely noticeable, especially in areas with streaks of lard or fat.

The temperature of cold smoking of meat is 25-27°C degrees. Compared to the hot method, there are not only low values, but also a small range. All this suggests that the smoking process must be taken with full responsibility. The meat is tougher, which is not such a positive property, but in the absence of exposure to high temperature, all vitamins and beneficial elements are retained in the fibers.

Another feature that you should pay attention to is shelf life. A product spoils only when pockets of microbes develop inside it. If hot smoking saves meat only during the cooking period, then cold smoking, which occurs after preliminary salting, loses its suitability for microbial life for a long time. Cold smoked products can be stored for several weeks.

Preparing meat for cold smoking at home

You can cold smoke any type of meat (poultry, pork, beef, veal). But to obtain delicious smoked meats, the carcass must be properly prepared:

  • rinse and dry;
  • get rid of veins and excess fat;
  • sprinkle with salt or marinade.

If preparing meat for cold smoking will take place during the hot season, then it is better to place the meat in a mesh frame or ordinary gauze so that insects cannot feast on the delicacies.

Washing meat before smoking

Do-it-yourself cold-smoked meat does not undergo heat treatment, so you should choose the carcass very carefully so as not to get food poisoning. It looks bright in color and without a pungent odor.

If you properly prepare meat for cold smoking at home, the finished delicacy will have an incredible taste and smell.

How to choose the right meat

To decide to smoke meat at a low temperature, there must be significant motivation for this. This type of processing is not recommended for beginners due to the length of the process, the presence of prerequisites, and lack of skill. But many amateurs ignore the recommendations, by the way, without regretting it.

It is in a cold smoked smokehouse that the meat will retain that original basis, natural taste, and elasticity. It will be moderately tough, perfect as a snack for beer or kvass.

In the best traditions, lovers of this delicacy prefer to choose meat without fat as raw materials. Usually the cut is taken from the back ham, but the beef is already quite tough, so you can smoke the loin and balyk. We have considered the priorities of only one category of amateurs.

Another category switches to mutually opposing materials. Pork belly, bacon and shoulder contain layers of lard, which is not rendered during the cooking process and is served in the form of thin slices in alternating layers. Many people call this delicacy bacon, although bacon meat is taken from the sides of the pig.

Is it possible to cook beef

The technology for cold smoking pork at home is therefore relatively simple. But if you wish, you can also cook beef or poultry at the dacha using this method. Meat of these varieties, when exposed to cold smoke for a long time, as already mentioned, can become dry and tough. To prevent this from happening, such products will need to be heat treated before smoking. Usually, such meat is first simply placed in a pan and water is brought to a boil.

Boiled smoked meat

Surely, many users have a silent question: “How does cold smoking relate to cooking?” Indeed, these two concepts exclude each other. The process of marinating in boiled water is considered one of the most controversial. The fact is that some masters, in order to eliminate the toughness of the meat, decided to try boiling it a little.

This recipe was created for hot smoking, but we tried adding the semi-finished product to a smokehouse with cold smoke, and after a few hours we got a product that deserves special attention for its taste.

  • To make the proper preparation, you need to make a brine by mixing water and salt. For one liter of water add 60 grams of salt, black pepper and bay leaf.
  • The marinade is heated to a boil, and then the meat itself is immersed in it. This temperature regime means that after half an hour the meat will not yet be cooked, but its fibers will become soft and loose.
  • The semi-finished product will have to be brought to readiness in a cold smoked smokehouse, lightly treated with smoke. As a result, after several hours of work, we received an excellent and mild-tasting dish that absorbed many of the qualities of real cold-smoked meat.

What temperature should it be for cold smoking?

To cook delicious cold smoked meat, you need to maintain the flow of smoke at a temperature of 20-30 degrees. The smokehouse lid itself should be barely warm.

Lard is smoked at a temperature of 15-20 degrees.

Smoking barrel with thermometer

Smoked meat is stored in the refrigerator or in rooms where it is always cold, and before serving, the delicacy is boiled, fried or stewed.

Simple Ambassador

It's time to consider a recipe that is popular only among true connoisseurs of cold smoking. The main positive quality of this recipe is that the fibers of fresh meat remain virtually untouched. Smoked meats turn out to be elastic and quite tough, but if you slice them thinly, you get a simply gorgeous snack that has absorbed the smells and tastes of aromatic meat and wood smoke.

First you need to make blanks in the form of briquettes. You should not smoke a whole piece of meat, as it is difficult to salt, and it will take too long to cook, but this will not eliminate uneven smoking. The optimal thickness and width of the piece is 5 cm. We will salt the meat by simple salting, that is, a method in which salt is directly applied in the form of a dry marinade. You can add a mixture of black and red pepper to the salt. The resulting composition is thoroughly mixed and scattered on a horizontal surface.

Each piece of meat is carefully dipped in a dry marinade and placed in a bag. This kind of salting is somewhat different from salting under pressure. In the first case, the juice is released more naturally, so the meat will not be as fibrous. Depending on the type of meat, the duration of salting varies from two to five days. Once the process is complete, the meat is removed from the bag and immersed in clean cold water. This is necessary to remove excess salt. But after such “baths” you will have to dry the meat by spreading it out or hanging it in a ventilated room for 5-6 hours.

Cooking cold smoked mackerel at home

Sometimes when you purchase smoked mackerel in a store, when you come home and try it, you remain extremely dissatisfied with the quality that the fish turns out to have not been smoked at all, but was simply boiled in onion skins. Or it’s simply impossible to eat such fish because it’s too salty. So, there is a solution to such problems - make smoked mackerel at home. Any chef can cope with the task if everything is studied thoroughly. In this article I will introduce you to a recipe that will describe the method of smoking mackerel or some other fish. Let's move on to the necessary ingredients for cold smoking mackerel.

Ingredients for cold smoking mackerel:

  • Liquid smoke – 100 ml;
  • Onion peel - 2 small handfuls;
  • Fresh mackerel – 2 pieces;
  • Salt – 4 tablespoons;
  • Water – 1 liter;
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoons;
  • Bay leaf – 1-2 leaves.

Method for preparing cold smoked mackerel:

To prepare cold smoked mackerel, first you need to thoroughly rinse the onion skins, and then fill it with water in the amount of one liter. Now you should put salt and sugar there according to the recipe, put everything on gas and bring to a boil. It should boil for about 20-25 minutes. The entire resulting decoction must be filtered, and then it must be mixed with liquid smoke, bay leaves must be added there - everything must be left under the lid for 20-25 minutes. Now, after the time has passed, remove the bay leaf from there, and then add fresh mackerel to this marinade. Everything should cool to room temperature so that you can then transfer the fish with the marinade to the refrigerator. The fish should stay there for about 2 days, and it is worth remembering that the fish must be turned over 2 times a day. Enjoy your meal!

Photo: Kai Hendry

Smoked fish at home

To cook smoked fish at home, you will need to make your own smokehouse, which will consist of a simple iron barrel. For the smoking process we will need sawdust, with which we will smoke our fish. It should be noted that any sawdust can be used, but not coniferous. Any fish you like can also be used. I recommend taking a notepad and pen to write down the recipe! So, let's get started with smoking fish at home!

Method for smoking fish at home:

The most important thing in the smoking process is to choose the right sawdust. It is best if it is sawdust from alder or birch. Before smoking, it is necessary to clean the fish and marinate it in advance. Once the fish is marinated, you can start smoking it. The smoking process lasts several hours. Enjoy your meal!

READ ALSO: Georgian-style eggplants for the winter, spicy without sterilization

I really hope that you liked the 2 recipes presented above. On our website you will also find a similar recipe on this topic - this is Hot Smoking Bream at Home.

If you have your own recipes for cooking, send them to us by email, we will be happy to publish them.

Spicy pickling

A certain category of lovers prefers to combine the aroma of smoking and the exquisite taste of spices, and therefore recommends marinating the meat. Marination differs from pickling only in technology. The goals of these two procedures are absolutely the same.

To marinate fibrous and tough meat, you will need a higher concentration of salt. Three liters of water will require 250 g. The brine must be boiled for 5 minutes, while adding all the desired seasonings to it. Parsley, garlic, basil, thyme, and lemon go well with the taste of meat.

You should not use all of the listed components, since together they form a not entirely clear bouquet of aromas.

Before you marinate the meat, you should cool the marinade. Place the pan with the semi-finished product in a cool place for 3 days.

Final stage

In the absence of a smoke generator, you will have to smoke salted meat in a homemade smokehouse. The essence of the whole technology is that the smoking box is located at some distance from the firebox, which allows the smoke to be cooled to a temperature of 25-30°C degrees.

An important condition for obtaining a positive result is the continuity of smoking during the first 8-10 hours. This is quite difficult to do, so you need to prepare the required amount of wood chips in advance. It is at this time that the meat is still susceptible to infection by microbes, but after the first hours they are no longer scary.

The duration of smoking cannot be stated, since it all depends on the type of meat, tenderloin and salting method. If you don’t have enough experience, then after a few days you will have to start making test cuts, which will immediately show how much is left to smoke.

We smoke in the apartment

Making a smokehouse

If you are a convinced city dweller or a hostage to work in a big city, but still want to smoke at home, then you can choose the optimal solution without high costs. You can purchase a cold-smoked smokehouse (here’s a review) for your apartment, master one of the methods of processing raw materials without a smokehouse, or make the unit yourself from a casserole:

  • Drill a 10mm hole in the lid.
  • We cut out the appropriate paronite gasket - with the same diameter.
  • We insert a baking sheet into the casserole dish so that the side edges are at a distance of 2 cm from the walls of the casserole dish.
  • We attach the baking sheet to the stand.
  • We fix the stainless steel grate for food.

Smoking process

Cold smoking in an apartment occurs as follows:

  1. We fill the bottom with wet wood chips (here's how to choose them);
  2. We fix a stand with a baking tray on top to collect fat;
  3. Place the cooked food on the grill;
  4. Insert the paronite gasket and screw the lid tightly;
  5. Place the unit on low heat;
  6. We fill a plastic bottle with water, make a hole for a tube that connects to the fitting. We dip the tube in water, and immerse the smoke tube in the same place, the opposite end of which goes out into the open window.

Smoking is accelerated due to high atmospheric pressure: it will take an hour to an hour and a half to cook medium-sized pieces. The temperature inside the smokehouse does not reach 100 degrees.

Cold smoking at home is not only tasty, but also very profitable. Natural meat and fish products using this technology are very expensive, but at home they can be made in large quantities and without much difficulty. The savings will be obvious. Moreover, you simply will not find products of this quality on the shelves! This is an individual recipe, flavored with your ingenuity and care.

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