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The History of Smoked Meats

The History of Smoked Meats

We have been working hard behind-the-scenes on some new smoked products for you from our farm smokehouse. We will soon be releasing ready to eat chicken breasts, delicately smoked over beechwood chips for a complex and rich flavour, and then seasoned with a variety of different flavours such as craft ale, lemon pepper and Indian spices. 

Smoking meat and fish has never gone out of style because it adds such a great depth of flavour. But where did it all begin? 

Smoked meat can be traced back to the cavemen. It is believed that early cavemen would hang meat to dry in their homes and then accidentally discovered the smoke from a nearby fire would not only give the meat a different flavour, but also help to preserve it![1]

In Medieval Europe, meat was generally smoked for preservation. Many smallholdings had dedicated smoke houses where the meat was smoked and stored. The less affluent hung their meat high up on the edges or their hearth or fireplace at night. Ashes were placed over the embers to extinguish any flames which produced an ideal smoky environment to preserve their fish or game.[2]

Smoking meat is one of the oldest food preparation practices in history and has stood the test of time. Nowadays, people even have smokers in their homes to create that delicious smoky flavour anytime they want. 

Types of Smoking

There are three different types of smoking that offer various but all tasty results: 

Hot Smoking

Hot Smoking is characterised as anything between 52C and 80C and can only be achieved in a smoker. Using different types of wood in the smoker will also create different flavour profiles.[3]

Cold Smoking

Cold smoking is where it all began with the cavemen. It requires temperatures of 20-30C, which is a good temperature to add flavour but not dry out the meat. With cold smoking, the meat must be dried ahead of time so the extra moisture doesn’t create a ground for bacteria.[4]

Smoke Roasting

Smoke roasting is popular in North America, and is more widely known as ‘pit roasting’. It is the most versatile of all the methods and can include BBQing, pit roasting, pit baking or can even be achieved in your oven at home. The meat must be placed in cooking bags or brown paper bags so that it’s properly smoked.[5]

Aside from our new smoked chicken breasts, we also smoke duck breasts and salmon. Keep an eye on our website and newsletter for more details. 

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