As I mentioned before, smoking is a way to preserve food with smoke. In fact, it is not only about this, because the products that undergo this process acquire a specific taste and aroma. Smoke is produced by slowly burning an appropriate quality wood material. For traditional smoking, you need a grill with a smoker (I have one) or a separate smoker. We can buy both without any problems. If you do not decide to buy it, there is also a homemade method. We need a saucepan or pan with a thick bottom and hard sawdust. Pour sawdust into this type of container, cover it with aluminum foil and pierce it. This is how a home “smoking device” is created, which is placed in gas with pre-soaked smoked product.
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Smoked products must be seasoned in time. When it comes to meat, I recommend the wet pickles. They include: water, bay leaf, coriander seeds, spices, garlic and, of course, salt. Proportion: per liter of water: a few bay leaves, allspice, a few cloves of garlic and about 80-100 grams of salt per liter. It is best to add salt last. A good way to check that the concentration of the solution is appropriate is the so-called “egg test”. After mixing and dissolving the salt, a raw egg in the shell should float to the surface. After about two weeks, the meat should float. They are removed from the marinade and dried, for example, with paper towels. You should tie the shoes ‘or put them in special smoking nets, which can be bought at butchers. Bacon does not require a net. Also remember the rings on which the meat should be hung in the home smoker.
Properly prepared meat is ready to smoke. Depending on the temperature of the smoker, the entire process can take anywhere from several hours to several days. You can smoke cold (16-22 ° C) and hot (22-40 ° C). There is also hot with a temperature of 40 to 90 degrees.
In fact, it takes patience considering the whole process. However, I can assure you that the end result rewards all the effort.
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Practically every fish, whether whole, divided into bells or fillets, is suitable for smoking. As in the case of meat, proper preparation for this process is also important here. The viscera, removal of scales, washing and drying are essential. There are two main methods of soaking: relatively simple and a little more complex. The first is dry salting. Rub the fish with salt (inside and outside) and add other seasonings, if desired. Prepared this way, it should be put in the refrigerator overnight – it should stay there for about 12 hours. The second method is to soak them in brine. Prepare the brine: about 50 grams of salt per liter of water (for oily fish, it should be about 80 grams). For this: bay leaf, allspice, dill and rosemary. Some people do not add seasoning because they feel it is unnecessary. Set aside in a cool place for a few hours. Immediately before smoking, you need to dry the fish.
I smoke it mostly at around 50°C. The process itself takes anywhere from one to three hours. How do I know my fish is ready? They have a golden brown color. The meat should be removed from the skin. It tastes best straight from the smoker, while still warm. Smoked art can also be reheated later. This meat is also suitable for making a salad or fish paste. You can find the second recipe below.
Peel the onion and mix with the peeled cucumber. Throw in smoked fish (remove skin and bones if you have a whole carcass), add mustard and mayonnaise. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped dill. mix up.
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The purpose of smoking cheese is not only to give it a specific taste and aroma, but also to protect it from spoilage. This process extends its shelf life and shelf life. As in the case of the above products, each cheese is suitable for smoking. White cheeses and soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, and yellow cheese work well. During smoking, the cheese begins to “sweat”, which means that fat begins to appear on its surface, and this, in addition to smoke, has a protective effect, and we cannot but mention the beautiful color that cheese acquires after smoking. Get a full range of colors, from honey to dark brown.
Fresh cottage cheese (similar to fish) should be placed in 8-10% brine before smoking. This step does not apply to mature cheese. After that, it is necessary to dry the cheese well, for example, with a paper towel. The surface must be completely dry. In addition, you can sprinkle it with your favorite herbs or spices, for example: dried wild garlic, basil or black cumin. It is necessary to put cheese in a smoking net (for example, ham), which you can buy or make yourself from gauze.
Cheeses prepared in this way are ready to be put in the smoker. It is up to us to decide whether to smoke it cold or warm. However, the smoking temperature should not exceed 50 ° C. The optimum degree is between 30 and 40 degrees. There are two schools, one ensuring that cheese should be smoked cold and the other that it should be smoked hot. In my opinion, it should be smoked with low heat and cold smoke. Cheese should not be heated too much as this will cause a lot of fat and water to be lost. The result is a dry, hard cheese that crumbles when sliced. Depending on taste preferences, the process should take from 3 to 5 hours. Smoked cheese can be eaten alone or accompany various dishes, most often salads.
Dear friends, if you have not tried it yet, I encourage you to start your “adventure” with smoking, the products subjected to this process have a special taste – especially if we do it ourselves.