Smoking For Fun and Profit
Smoking is another one of those cooking techniques created of necessity - Food needed to be preserved in a variety of manners prior top the widespread availability of refrigeration.
Today smoking is not needed for preserving food the way it once was - Today we continue to smoke foods simply because we have come to enjoy the flavors, pure and simple.
Smoking was first "discovered" we can assume, by accident. Hanging food near the campfire to keep it away from roaming animals, people soon noticed the effects of the smoke. They took on new and exciting flavors.
By changing the choice of wood, adding flavor enhancers to the smoke, controlling the exposure time, adjusting the temperature and a host of other manipulations we can create a wide range of flavors and specialities.
What can be smoked? Assorted fish, hams and other pork products, beef, poultry, vegetables - What can't be smoked...
You do not need an expensive dedicated smoker (though they are nice to have). A smoker can be assembled from various pot, pans, woks, lids, bricks, racks, covers, etc. Let your imagination go free. All we're looking for is a chamber of sorts for the wood chips to smoulder and an enclosed space for the food to get exposed to the resulting smoke.
Adding flavor enhancers to the woods is a common technique. Types of thing to add: tea leaves, herb stems, grapevine clippings, fruit peels, corn husks, nut shells, dried mushrooms, etc.
Smoking is commonly separated into two main categories: Cold Smoke and Hot Smoke
As you may have guessed, the diffeerence is in temperature
Cold Smoking = below 100 degrees (F)
Hot Smoking = 165 to 185 degrees (F)
Cold smoking is used as a flavor enhancer or for things like cheeses, vegetables and fruits that do not require a large dose of smoke to be enticing.
Hot Smoking is a process that will add flavor and completely cook the item as well.
Smoke roasting is a technique, sometimes referred to as barbecuing; adds flavor and great texture. [Cooking low and slow]