The wine barrel cold smoker pro­ject

SA Jagter Hunter - - NEWS - By LA­ER­TES ME­LI­DO­NIS

I­think we all know that smo­king, drying and cu­ring me­at o­ri­gi­na­ted as a me­ans of pre­ser­va­ti­on. Of cour­se the spin-off be­ne­fit is that the me­at nor­mal­ly a­cqui­res a de­li­ci­ous fla­vour from the salt and smo­ke in the pro­cess. To­day, with ref­ri­ge­ra­ti­on, can­ning, cu­ring and a­sep­tic pack­a­ging, the smo­king of me­at and fish is lar­ge­ly do­ne as a me­ans of ad­ding fla­vour and en­han­cing tex­tu­re. I ha­ve al­ways lo­ved the tas­te of pro­per­ly-cu­red and cold­s­mo­ked de­li­ca­cies. So, af­ter y­e­ars of dre­a­ming I fi­nal­ly got a­round to doing it my­self.

The­re are ma­ny dif­fe­rent met­hods of cu­ring and smo­king me­ats, but be­fo­re I tell you a­bout my smoker let’s start by un­der­stan­ding so­me of the most com­mon pro­ces­ses.

CU­RING

T­his is a way of pre­ser­ving me­ats by ex­po­sing them to salt, su­gar, herbs, spi­ces, ni­tra­tes and ni­tri­tes. The­se are either rub­bed on­to the me­at dry or ap­p­lied by im­mer­sing the me­at in (and so­meti­mes al­so in­jecting it with) a suit­a­ble bri­ne mix­tu­re. Ba­si­cal­ly the salt and su­gar draw moi­stu­re out of the me­at, the herbs and spi­ces add fla­vour and the ni­tra­tes and ni­tri­tes act as an­ti­bacte­ri­al a­gents, ef­fecti­ve­ly pre­ven­ting the gro­wth of clos­tri­di­um bo­tu­li­num and ot­her nas­ty bugs. T­hey al­so con­tri­bu­te to the ni­ce pink co­lour that cu­red me­at a­cqui­res. Ni­tra­tes and ni­tri­tes are re­la­ti­ves of good old salt­pe­t­re which is u­sed in gun­po­w­der! T­hey should on­ly be u­sed in the re­com­men­ded pro­por­ti­ons to me­at weig­ht or bri­ne vo­lu­me and with cau­ti­on be­cau­se t­hey are poi­so­nous if in­ge­sted in high do­ses.

COLD SMO­KING

Cold smo­king is a way of en­han­cing the fla­vour of cu­red foods wit­hout ac­tu­al­ly cook­ing them. Af­ter cu­ring, the me­at should be pro­per­ly dried to form a tacky s­kin which is cal­led a pel­li­cle. T­his al­lows the smo­ke to ad­he­re to the me­at

E­very in­ter­secti­on of iron hoop and plank needs to be scre­wed to­get­her to hold the barrel to­get­her.

Our smoker in acti­on next to the in our in­cre­a­singly clut­te­red braai cor­ner.

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