How Does Smoke Preserve Meat?

smoking meats

Smoking meat is a popular cooking method that has been around for centuries. While it is commonly believed that smoking meat helps to preserve it, this is not entirely accurate.

There are two smoking methods: hot smoking and cold smoking.

Hot smoking is primarily used for cooking meat and adding a smoked flavor to the end product, while cold smoking is often combined with other preservation methods such as fermentation, curing, or salting.

While smoking can help to kill microbes and dry out food, it is not a reliable method for food preservation. In fact, it is recommended to only keep beef, poultry, etc. cooked in this way for a short time before consuming, refrigerating, or disposing of.

Cold smoking adds minimal benefits to the shelf life of these items, and it is important to bring the food up to an internal temperature above the danger zone of 160 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

smoked meat sandwich

For traditional smoking, the final product should see smoking times of at least 24 hours over smoke in a temperature range of 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit. A longer period of low smokehouse temperatures will dry out the meat and help prevent the return of bacteria for a long period.

Liquid smoke can also help to increase flavor, particularly on items like smoked fish.

Smoked meat is often criticized for containing chemicals known as amines, which are “known carcinogens.” However, there is no evidence to support this claim. The WHO has classified products as carcinogens without explaining how much you would need to consume to get cancer. As such, it is safe to eat smoked meat in moderation.

Smoking meat is a great way to add flavor to your food, but it is not a reliable method for food preservation. When smoking meat, it is important to follow the recommended smoking times and temperatures to ensure the best results.