Posted 02-04-2003 at 10:15:03
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Do you intend to cold smoke or hot smoke? Most old fashioned county hams are cold smoked. ie the smoke house is filled with "cold" smoke. The smoke house rarely gets above 50 or 60 degrees. Cold smoked meats generally have to be cooked before eaten. "hot" smoked is where it is cooked at the same time as being smoked. Poultry is usually hot smoked.
When you check a smoked product at the store, say a ham, does it say fully cooked. if so it was probably hot smoked. Them old fashioned Virginia hams which are covered in those muslin bags are cold smoked. They often have mold on them as well.
For obvious reasons, cheese is "cold" smoked.
I heard of hams hanging for over a year up in the top of the smoke house. Smoked sausage can be cold or hot smoked. Hot smoked sausage has lost most of the fat out of it.
There are a few books out there which can explain the difference better than I. For long term storage, other than freezing, foods are usually cold smoked, which tends to dry them out more. My old smoke house, now falling down, had a firebox under the floor with a small hole foir hot smoking and was right next to the summer kitchen, which had a wood stove. The chimney could be directed through an underground vent about twelve feet long, to the bottom of the smoke house for cold smoking. Good luck.