The problem of food safety did not arise today. Many centuries ago our ancestors encountered it. They tried various methods in an attempt to find the most efficient and simple way to store and store food. And one of the possible ways to solve this problem was smoking. But for its implementation, it is necessary to manufacture a special device. So in attempts to preserve the production or the grown crop, we sometimes have to consider various options for how to make a cold-smoked smokehouse with our own hands.
About smoking, its features and varieties
This technology is based on wood decay. Moreover, it should be considered not only as a way to ensure the possibility of creating stocks, but also as one of the options for their processing and preparation. During the smoking process, contact of the product with an open fire is excluded, the whole procedure is carried out due to the emitted smoke. Depending on its temperature, hot smoking and cold smoking are distinguished.
The latter occurs when the smoke temperature is 18-20 degrees, it takes several days in time, and at the same time it is necessary to control its mode. This processing method is best suited for fatty meat products and ensures their complete impregnation with smoke. It has the following effects on them:
- gives the surface a dark red hue and shine, improves taste;
- allows some acids (for example, phenolic) to penetrate deeply, which increases the bactericidal properties of the product and prevents decay, ensuring long-term storage;
- Strengthens the surface of the outer layer due to its shrinkage and tanning by phenols in the smoke.
On the smoking temperature
The process can occur, as already noted, at different temperatures. The higher it is, the faster the smoking. If, when processing a product with cold smoke, the procedure lasts several days, then with hot smoking, at a temperature of more than 35 degrees, it can take 12-48 hours. Its specific value is established empirically and depends on the design of the smokehouse and the final readiness of the product.
If after smoking it will be subjected to further heat treatment, then it is enough to use the smoke, the temperature of which is 40-60 degrees. In cases where smoking is carried out until fully cooked, the temperature can go up to 100 degrees. This will be hot smoking, which allows you to quickly get a finished product, but with a short shelf life. Its advantage will be excellent taste and delicate aroma.
In cold smoking, the required temperature is provided by a special design of the hearth, for example, as shown in the figure.
However, to obtain a quality product, it is not enough to know how to make a cold smoked smokehouse, you also need to use it correctly. The source of smoke is wood chips and sawdust, firewood should be no more than 20% of the setting in the hearth when it is cold and no more than 60% when it is hot. They are placed in the middle and then covered with sawdust. After the fire is ignited, they will smolder, not burning.
The temperature in the hearth should be 220-300 degrees, which is ensured by reducing the supply of air and preventing the appearance of open fire. A lower value will lead to the formation of a significant amount of soot and increased moisture content in the finished product, while higher values will cause accelerated oxidation and accumulation of carcinogens in the finished product.
Hardwoods such as ash, beech, alder, oak are used as a source of smoke. Its quality depends on the size of the shavings and sawdust. In the event that they are small, smoldering occurs slowly due to the lack of air inside their volume. If they are large, then the smoldering will be bad due to the looseness of the entire mass. Birch should not be used, it is too resinous and gives the product bitterness. A good practice is to combine dry wood chips and sawdust with raw wood.
For this purpose, you can wet some of the sawdust before placing it in the hearth if it is too dry. The taste of the final product can be improved by adding small amounts of cherry and juniper branches.
When smoking, open flames should be avoided; they contain less smoking substances and more carbon dioxide, which gives the food a burning smell and becomes less stable during storage.
Carrying out cold smoking at home
Getting a good result primarily depends on the smokehouse. Its specific implementation may be different, but the basic principle - the removal of the hearth and the source of smoke from the smoking chamber - must be maintained. Otherwise, the main requirement for cold smoking, regarding the temperature of the smoke, will be violated. To ensure it, the distance between the chamber with food and the hearth must be at least one meter.
In the manufacture of a smokehouse, different materials can be used; in field conditions, for example, it can be assembled from improvised means, but in order to obtain a quality product, it is better to have a solid structure.
The classic smokehouse design, developed over the centuries, is based on uneven terrain, although this is not necessary. An example of such a structure is shown in the photo.
In this case, a hearth is located at the lowest point, from which a trench 0.5 meters deep and at least 2 meters long is laid along the slope upward at an angle of up to 50 degrees, connecting the hearth and smoking chamber. The trench is closed with sheet materials and covered with earth. Inside, it can be lined with bricks, or a pipe is placed in it.
In the upper part there is a smoking chamber, which is a small barn. Thanks to the cracks in its walls, traction is formed and smoke comes out, coming here through the trench. How the construction of such a smokehouse is carried out can be found with the help of the video:
The dimensions of the chamber, hearth and channel are determined by the volume of a single bookmark and the frequency of use.
This construction is not the only one possible. There are many other options, in particular those associated with the use of iron barrels. In principle, the smokehouse can be placed entirely on the ground, without the need for trenching, but using ready-made pipes.
Taking into account the duration of cold smoking, it is useful to equip the chamber with the necessary measuring devices, in particular, a thermometer, which allows you to control the mode in it. It can be adjusted with a blower in the stove.
Smoking is one of the oldest methods discovered by mankind to create food reserves. For many centuries, this technology has been quite well developed and allows you to get tasty products, ensuring their safety for a long time. First of all, this applies to cold and to a lesser extent to hot smoking. For its implementation, it is necessary to build a special smokehouse, which is quite possible to do on your own..