Many years ago nearly every homestead had a smokehouse. Smoking meat, poultry and fish were quite a common occurrence before refrigerators and freezers, and it was a delicious way to preserve food.
Fortunately this old tradition is coming back and more people are interested to build their own smokehouses. The great advantage of smoking your own food is that you can determine the flavor through changes in the smoking method, cold or hot smoking.
Cold smoking is when only the smoke is used without any heat at a temperature of below 68F which ensures the food does not begin to cook.
This method can take up to several days to cure the food. The wood smoke penetrates the meat (food) to kill off any bacteria and pests.
Hot smoking is when food is cooked and flavored by heat and smoke and the temperatures for hot smoking can range between 302F to 392F.
Some smokehouses use a water pan to create a buffer between the heat source and the food. This has a twofold effect:
1) of reducing cooking temperatures and
2) generating steam to keep the food tender and moist.
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