Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Looking for ways to smoke. I did it with my Uncle back in the '60s. Thanks for any advice. I have a old upright freezer and read about 2 ways to use this. Having a problem seeing how this would work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,684 Posts
cowgirlone said:
We smoke our own hams and bacon, also canadian bacon.
I've got a pig who we're going to try to slaughter ourselves, at the end of October...I'd love to know how you do it/recipes/etc if you are willing to share them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Wow, I just wrote a book and hit the wrong key and lost a page of what I was trying to post! A freind of mine got me into smoking meats three years ago and I have been addicted ever since. I have yet to try the Dry curing process (will attempt it this fall) but have done some good smoke cured bacon and hams. I highly recommend this book
"Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas, a must have in my opinion.

Basically I gutted an old fridge, removed compressor, shelves, etc. I installed two 1X1" side rails at the top to hold Dowel rods (meat hangers) across the width of the fridge (to hold the meat), I installed a control vent at the top, and a hole vent on the very bottom. In the bottom of fridge I placed a simple heat plate, I then added a thermostat to control the temp of the hot plate (so I do not have to open the door when cooking). Don't worry about plastic in the fridge as smoking temps should never exceed 170 degree's (plastic melts at a higher temp, 208 degree's I think?)
As an example for bacon;
I use two sides of bacon from a freshly slaughtered hog. I use a food tray (25 pound capacity or thereabouts), I use around five quarts of water, the proper amount of instacure #2 (Salt & nitrites), a cup of dextrose sugar (this helps the cure penetrate the meat), then I add brown sugar or honey (around a cup or so), sometimes a little liquid smoke. I put the bacon in the cure so that it is submurged (sometimes I weigh it down plates and a clean stone). Put it in the cooler for seven days, 24 hours before smoking I remove bacon from cure, spray off the meat briefly, then hang the bacon in the cooler until the next day (this helps dry the meat).
The next day I remove the bacon from the cooler and put it a room temp for about two hours (this is to bring the meat temp up to room temp and help dry the meat further) drying the meat is the first priority.
I preheat the cooker to 120 degree's and place the meat hanging from the dowels, I insert a cooking temperture probe so I can monitor the internal temp of the meat from the outside of the fridge. I fully open the vents the cooker so that I can continue to dry the bacon. I do this for about four hours, usually the internal temp of the bacon is around 85 to 90 degree's at this point, more importantly the bacon is very dry to the touch. If it is dry I go to the next phase.
I increase the cooker temp to 135 degrees, and put a pan of damp Cherry wood sawdust (my personal favorite over hickory) and smoke the bacon for about four hours, this usually requires two refill's of the sawdust pan. If you lucky the internal temp of the bacon is around 100 degrees or so at this point. Now the patience part comes in, continue to cook the bacon until it reaches a temp of 128 degree's. With the cooker temp at 135 degree's you can bet this takes a while, the whole process for me usually lasts 16 to 20 hours of cooking ( I should really call it drying!).
The bacon drys and darkens during the process, if darker bacon is desired just continue cooking until it is reached. The stuff is darn good!
When done I remove the bacon and hang it back in the cooler for another 24 hours before slicing. I slice it thick and in my opinion is better than any store bought bacon I've had. Also note the more sugar and honey used during curing can make the bacon burn easily, so a George Forman lean meat fat cooking machine does a darn good job cooking bacon as apposed to a frying pan.
Smoking hams is simular, but the process can last several days, the longest I worked on one was four days on a venison ham...The process only works with patience, never over cook or use to high temps (usually both happens when you try to rush the process).

Again, get the book "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas, great recipe's and it explains the entire process for all kind of sausages and smoked meats. I also get my ingredients from the www.sausagemaker.com , they have very good prices on ingredients for this, I buy it in bulk and save a bunch.

Again, I'm writing this off the top of my head, ensure you have a viable recipe when doing this. Hope this helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,381 Posts
VA, I remember your fridge smoker, bet it works like a charm. :)

I make my bacon about the same way as VA. Sometimes I use a dry cure, rub it in let it cure in an old fridge for 7 days per inch of slab.

I like to use dry cure and brine for hams......Whole hams can weigh 18 to 25lbs, I like to cut mine into more manageable pieces, for me 3 to 5lb hams work great. The process is quicker too. I do large ones every once in awhile for special occasions, but my family is small and we can not go through a large ham very fast.

I also like to use morton products. Everything you need is included in their dry rub and brine mixture.
Make sure to chill your meat before starting, also cure your meat at a temperature of 36 to 40 degrees. I have outside fridges that I use for this.

When I'm doing a ham I like to brine the smaller ones, and combination cure the larger ones. (rub the outside with dry cure and pump brine into the middle of them) I leave them in the cure for 5 days per inch of meat.

After your ham has cured you need to let it sit for a few days to let the salt equalize...this usually takes around 5 to 14 days, depending on the size of the ham. This is especially important if you are planning on aging your ham, the salt content needs to penetrate the meat all the way to the bone to prevent spoilage.
Soak your meat in cool water for an hour to remove some of the saltiness on the outside, pat dry, place in covered container and put it in the fridge to equalize.


After you have cured, and equalized the salt content you have a choice of smoking or aging your ham. An aged ham is usually called a country ham, they are pretty strong tasting. You can age your ham anywhere from 6 months to 12 months. Ideal temperatures for aging are from 70 to 85 degrees. After you have aged your ham, then you have the option to smoke it.
Do not smoke the ham first if you are going to age it, the enzyme needed to age a ham is destroyed at temperatures above 95 degrees.

I do not like aged hams, so I skip that process and go straight to the smoking process after curing and letting the salt content equalize.

Make sure your meat is dry before smoking, wet meat will not let the smoke penetrate and there will be streaking.
Since bacon and ham cures contain nitrates, they can be cold smoked. You can also smoke them anywhere from hours to days.

You can make bacon and ham with brines that do not contain nitrates, but they can not be cold smoked, you need to use a hot smoke. I smoke my bacons and hams at around 95 degrees. (everyone has their preference)

You can cut off a piece of ham while smoking, fry it in a skillet to check for smoke content. Leave it in your smoker longer if needed. It's better to undersmoke your ham than have it too smoky to eat. :) (I like to do that with sausage too.)
I smoke my bacon slabs at least 4 hrs and my hams at least 8 hrs....longer for the large ones. I chill and slice the bacon, wrap and freeze. Also chill and wrap the ham and freeze.



Here is how I make canadian bacon............http://homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=160804&highlight=canadian+bacon



When I run out of home made bacon, I make more using pork roasts, I butterfly them to lay flat (1 1/2 inches thick).... brine or dry cure, smoke them, chill and slice.
You can give it a try on a pork roast for a practice run. :)

I know I probably left some things out. :eek:


I use an old home made smoker and have used the barrel method in the past.
I'm now working on a smokehouse.....it's 3/4's of the way finished. I'll let you know how it goes. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Cowgirlone,

The best Canadian bacon is your recipe, also I took that recipe and tailored it to the bacon recipe I use, adding liquid smoke, makes it really good. I eventually plan (this fall) to try to make that Old Fashion Country ham, Dry cured so that is can hang in a cool location without a fridge. Likely end up salty as can be, but worth the try! :)

You mention the enzymes needed to age the meat properly in a Dry cure you can't get the temp over 95 degree's. I've been reading about a low temp smoking method where temps never get above 90 degree's (guess you have just explained why!) I learn lots on this Homesteading site, usually every day! Smoking at that temp would require the smokehouse with enough area to smoke the room (the old folks use to use barrel drums burning/smoking wood) without raising the temps above 90, or using a modern age smoke injector in a fridge smoker at low temps... Very interesting stuff... I may try dry cured and then not like it! LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,381 Posts
Wow Thanks VA! :)
I use that brine recipe from the canadian bacon and leave out the tenderquick sometimes. It's good for turkeys, chickens, and even pork chops.
Your liquid smoke idea is great! Folks that do not have a way to smoke meat can add the flavor.
Good luck on your ham this fall. I know they can get salty, but if you soak it before cooking it should be great. Let us know how it turns out. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,381 Posts
You mention the enzymes needed to age the meat properly in a Dry cure you can't get the temp over 95 degree's
Dang, I typed out a reply and hit the wrong button. lol

I should have mentioned this in my first post :eek: .........you can smoke properly cured hams while aging, as long as the smoke temperature doesn't go over the 95 degrees. Any hotter and the enzymes needed for the aging process are destroyed. If you age meat over the winter, you need to keep it in a place that it will not freeze too.

When using the barrel method, my fire box is at least 10 feet away from the barrel to give the smoke a chance to cool down before entering the barrel.

I'm in the middle of building a larger smoker/house. It should be about 6ft tall x 4 ft wide. Not large, but big enough for me. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
VApigLover said:
. I've been reading about a low temp smoking method where temps never get above 90 degree's (guess you have just explained why!)
Cowgirlone, Did not mean to sound like I was questioning you on this, it was more like a light went off in my head by what you said. I've been studying this low smoke temp deal for Dry curing, not once did I read why the temps can't go above 95 degree's, today I now know why! I guess the way I said it came off wrong, should have been a compliment if I had said it right, but this darn dyslexic brain I have has issue's!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,381 Posts
No VA, I didn't take it that way at all. :)
I should have mentioned in my first post that it's OK to smoke the cured hams as long as the temp doesn't go over the 95 degree mark. I probably left out a lot more in my first post. lol
I started to post last night, but knew I'd forget something....I was 1/2 asleep! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Thanks for some good information here. I need to get more information on changing the fridge to a smoker. I have seem some data on using a hot plate and one on using a fire pit piping in the smoke. Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
I would like to see some pics of the smoke house. I really would like to build one of these. Also like the smoked deer ham I will have to try that
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
This is my recipe for Venison hind quarter ham, it can take a while to make, but the end product sliced thin on a good plate with crackers and spiced mustard at Christmas is SWEET!

Some may disagree on the Nitrites used, but I am sure this can change. This recipe does twentyfive pounds of meat and is intended as a cured cooked smoke method (not dry) or cool. I also recommend deboning the meat, but not nesessary. I use a ten gallon crock but any food grade container that holds the cure over the meat will work

25 pounds fresh pork ham or Venison ham
5 Quarts Ice Water
2/3 cups Instacure #1
1 Cup White Pepper
1 pound Brown Sugar
2 Cups Black Molassis
1 cup salt (canning or Kosher)
optional two tablespoons Juniper Berries (whole)

Mix all of this together in Ice water
Cool brine to 40 degrees, inject hams to weight plus 10% of original weight with a meat injector (like a Turky injector). Place meat in crock with a weight to fully submurge the meat, maintain 38-40 degrees for seven days (at least that is how long I did) or longer (one day for each pound of meat). I shortened it up to seven days by performing two more injections of cure with brining needle.

Remove meat and place in tight stocking (especially the boneless), place in smoke house pre heated to 120 degrees, vents fully open for 12 hours. Raise temp to 140, half vents, smoke with Hickory (cherry was good too) or your favorite wood, smoke for eight hours or internal temp reaches 120 degrees. Raise temperature to 165/170 degrees and cook intil internal temp reaches 145 degrees for pre-cooked (may want to check that) or 160 degrees for fully cooked (or desired doneness, different meats vary so check). I placed a large pan of water and steamed the meat (especially the venison) until it finished. The whole cooking process took me about 36 hours, so take an afternoon off Friday to get it done over the weekend. I've done the suger cures and Honey cure packages, but this blew it away. The venison was totally amazing, you've got to try it at least once, you won't be sorry you did!
I edited the amount of water!
VaPiglover
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top