Hot smoking at home is one of the ways of preserving food, as well as preparing appetizers for the table. On the smokehouse you can make meat, fish, cheeses, fruits or vegetables. How to properly smoke products with your own hands.
What is hot smoking?
The method of hot smoking involves heat treatment of products with smoke heated to a certain temperature. You can smoke both raw products and pre-cooked semi-finished products. This process does not take much time. The output is meat, fish, vegetables of golden shades with juicy flesh and a subtle flavor of smoke. The process of hot smoking includes two stages: preliminary drying of products and smoking itself.
Hot smoking is a heat treatment with smoke from 40 ° C and above, a simple and affordable method of cooking meat chicken, turkey, lamb or fish. The main thing to take into account small tricks, for example, sufficient salting. The norm of salt per 1 kg of meat or fish is 2.3%. It is necessary to choose the right wood chips – without tar. The process is not complicated, just a little attention is enough.
Products for smoking
Smoking is subjected to meat, poultry, fish, sausages, cheeses. As well as fruits, vegetables and nuts, mushrooms. If several products are smoked at once, they are usually cooked separately. However, if the smokehouse is large, many fans of “meat with smoke” use different tiers of the device to arrange the ingredients. This contributes to the fastest cooking and helps to achieve an appetizing smell, for example, when smoked fruit impregnates the flavor of the meat.
Preparation for smoking meat, fish, poultry and lard is necessary because this method of cooking sometimes involves exposure to temperatures insufficient to kill microbes in the meat or fish. For this purpose, salting of products is provided. In addition, quality preparation for smoking provides a longer shelf life and creates a rich palette of flavors.
Salting and pickling
Before smoking, the food is washed, cut into portions and salted. The amount of spices should not exceed 1.8-2.0% of the finished product. For hot smoking, products can be salted for two to three hours, after which they are placed in the smokehouse.
There are two variants of salting – dry and wet. In dry salting rub salt on washed products from outside and inside, then put them in layers in a metal dish. Each layer is also sprinkled with spices. In wet salting, the prepared products are placed in a salt solution (10 or 15 percent).
Spices and spices
Universal seasonings for hot smoking – all existing varieties of pepper (black, red, white, pink). Standard set – salt, pepper, garlic. You can also add pre-chopped dill. The use of certain seasonings depends on the tastes of each person. But spices for smoking meat or vegetables should not interrupt the natural flavor of products.
In the process of smoking lard, you can do with only salt. Spicy flavor will give garlic, fresh and dry, black pepper, bay leaf. Such spices for smoking lard are universal, from them it is recommended to prepare a marinade. To garlic, you can add a little mustard. Sometimes sugar is added to taste.
For smoking chicken and meat use celery, marjoram, turmeric, basil, saffron, molasses, thyme. For fish – celery (suitable for pikeperch and pike), garlic shoots in fresh and dried form, green onions, dill (suitable for all varieties of fish), parsley (combined with red fish).
Choice of chips
To give the future dish a special flavor, you can finely chop branches of fruit trees, vines and add juniper berries, herbs. Wood chips are the best material for smoking. But coniferous wood is not suitable because of the large amount of resin, it is better to give preference to fruit and hardwoods.
You can add a couple of handfuls of wood shavings (chips or sawdust), depending on the volume of the smokehouse. The wood chips are lit either by lighting a fire under the smoke chamber or by means of a stand placed on top of the smoldering wood.
The flame during smoking should not be strong. It is important to keep the temperature at the same level. It is recommended to first build a fire in the brazier and only then put the smoker on it. If the fat gets on the wood chips, the effect of “meat with smoke” is formed – the smoke gives the products a bitter and pleasant flavor.
Special grids are installed in the upper part of the smoke box. On them products are laid out so that they do not touch each other. Between them there should be a distance of a few centimeters. Only in this case, the smoke evenly envelops the pieces from all sides. If you adhere to this technology, fish will be ready in 30 minutes, poultry – in an hour, meat – in an hour and a half.
A smokehouse is a metal box closed with a lid. Sometimes it is equipped with a hydraulic plug, which prevents smoke from entering through the slots under the lid, as well as a special nozzle through which gases can escape at high pressure. The device of the smokehouse also includes a tray for collecting melted fat and hangers for future smoked meats.
At the bottom of the box, sawdust or wood chips are poured. They begin to smolder under the influence of high temperature when the box is installed over the fire.
The process of cooking smoked dishes includes several stages:
- purchase of raw products or semi-finished products;
- pre-salting – dry or wet;
- preparation of wood chips, sawdust, wood chips, spices, herbs – for flavor;
- placement of products inside the smokehouse and the beginning of smoking;
- maintaining temperature and humidity in the smoke chamber;
- drying of the finished smoked product.
How to smoke meat?
A simple method of smoking meat is to abundantly coat the product in salt before cooking. Spices can be added to it, as well as vinegar. Dry salting is used for both hot and cold smoking, but before hot the product is soaked for a few hours and then dried, and for cold smoking it is enough to remove the salt with a paper towel.
The main “meat” spices are peppers – white, black, chilli, oregano. You can also add bay leaf, coriander, cloves, dried onions and garlic, nutmeg and cardamom. For the preparation of sausages should be used exclusively fresh meat products, this affects the shelf life of the finished product. In addition to the standard types of meat (beef, pork, veal) for sausage, horse meat, mutton, venison, poultry, game are also taken. It is best that it was the meat of an adult animal, as young meat is oversaturated with moisture.
How to smoke poultry?
Chicken, duck or other poultry for smoking should be taken fresh or chilled. If the carcass is large, you can cut it along the spine into two halves. The skin is not removed from the chicken. If there is a lot of fat, you should make a cut – but when smoking, the fat will flow out, so you will have to wash the smokehouse. The prepared marinade should be cooled to room temperature. But some people prefer to dip the chicken in a still hot solution that has just been taken off the stove. The smoking time should be about an hour.
Smoking fish is one of the most difficult and requires consistent steps:
1. Fresh fish weighing 300-500 g do not gut, abundantly salted with coarse salt and kept for three to four hours.
2. Then the fish is well washed and dried in a draught until the moisture is completely removed.
3. If the fish is large, it should be gutted, remove the gills, rinse, rub salt on the outside and inside, kept for 10-12 hours. To prevent it from falling apart during smoking, it is recommended to tie it with twine.
4. After salting, the fish should be hung for an hour so that the brine is absorbed. It can also be placed in plastic bags and hidden in the refrigerator. Residual salt from the carcasses should be thoroughly washed off. You can also rinse the fish in cold water and then wipe it.
If the fish is very fatty, then after smoking it should be wrapped in parchment paper so that it does not lose its flavor.
For smoking, you should choose frozen seafood: it can be shrimp, octopus, mussels. You should defrost them, mix them with spices and leave them to marinate for an hour. At the bottom of the smoker should be put two handfuls of fruit shavings and place there a tray designed to drain fat and liquid. If shrimp are cooked, then for convenience you can put them in rows on the bars, and then place them on the grate. Then it is necessary to put the smokehouse on a built-up fire, close the lid. Spices such as paprika, garlic and onion powder, oregano are used.
How to smoke vegetables?
Of vegetables, sweet peppers, eggplants, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, corn are most often smoked. They can be used as a side dish to the main course or as an appetizer. After smoked vegetables can be finely chopped, turned into pate. Sometimes they are frozen for storage. Smoked vegetables keep for a long time, more than a few months.
There are individual time and temperature restrictions for each type of product. Hot cooking time depends on the volume and weight of the food, its type and the size of the smokehouse. On average, whole chicken is cooked in one hour, medium-sized fish up to 40 minutes, brisket and lard – from one and a half to three hours.
Hot smoking is carried out within a well-defined temperature range of 80 to 120°C. It is important to maintain the temperature at all times. This heat treatment takes from 40 minutes to two to three hours.
If the smoking chamber is high enough, the temperature inside will fluctuate – from the maximum at the bottom to the minimum under the lid. In such a case, the products should be distributed so that some of them are smoked more intensively and others less intensely. For example, meat is often placed on the bottom and garnishes such as nuts or vegetables on the top. It is important not to lower the smoking temperature below 80° C, otherwise there will be an abundant release of juice and fat, and the smoke inside will continue to accumulate, the food will smell too strong.