Two days and one hundred pages later, the adventure continues. After being inspired to find “pink salt” by a friend about two weeks ago, I am now researching the reading about how to cure and smoke meats. What I have learned in the last two days is nothing short of amazing, disgusting, awesome, and a pain in the butt.
For instance, I am slowly starting to understand the protein composition of animal muscle and other assorted tissues. Did you know pink salt is that color so you don’t accidentally poison yourself, or that nitrites are three times more deadly than nitrates? Or that curing with nitrate requires the meat to be nice and warm and covered in bacteria? Don’t ever use nitrates in bacon, only nitrites. The nitrates (if super heated) will cause cancer, but only in bacon. Or something like that. The best was reading about natural casings… All of the natural casings… You may want to think twice about that braunsweiger.
Anyway, it is still a pretty slick process, and sort form of Meat Alchemy – who wouldn’t want to try something that sounds that cool?
I am still waiting to see how actually cure and smoke meat, which will probably be a bit of a shock – what I thought was “smoking” at 200 F is completely misguided. I barbecue like a mofo. Smoking, it turns out, can happen at a wide range of temperatures, such as Cold Smoking at 70 F, Warm Smoking at 104 F, and Hot Smoking at 140 F+. Oh, I forgot about Wet Smoking.
On the bright side, one get build a “sweet” smokehouse out of two cardboard boxes.