Smoking and Curing

In the simplest of terms curing and smoking is preserving and flavouring. However, it encompasses craft, tradition, science, and sorcery. Anyone and everyone can and should be producing simple cured products as a matter of course because they offer so much value to the keen amateur cook. It will expand your knowledge of food and increase your repertoire of dishes as well as taking you on a journey of discovery touching on almost every corner of the Globe. It enables you to take good ingredients and turn them in to elevated versions of themselves applying minimum intervention.

Dry curing, brining, hot and cold smoking

These techniques are empowering and take you one delicious step beyond your average recipe. They represent a deeper level of engagement with food than baking a cake or simmering a stew – perhaps because they require the deployment of often ancient artisan skills. These skills need not be daunting, but they do set you off on a new learning curve.

Bringing home the bacon

The cook who makes their own bacon enters a different arena from the one who roasts their own pork. And, correspondingly, he or she reaches a new level of gratification – often by no means instant, but always lasting. But the rewards for your dedication, for any extra outlay or time, are immense. Curing meat or smoking fish doesn’t only result in a delicious product; the gift is much greater than that. These are processes that unlock the secrets of some of our best-loved, most useful ingredients. They give you the keys to the citadel of smoky, salty-sweet-savoury moreishness: the hallowed place where bacon, air-dried ham, smoked salmon, and kippers dwell.

Worth waiting for

Time plays an important part and anyone who embarks on this age-old process fuelled by salt and smoke, will understand how deeply connected the methods are to food history and the earliest fundamental cooking techniques. It is the antithesis of fast food and can be traced from the discovery of fire through to the ancient civilisations and right up to the present day.

It is impossible to know for sure how it came about but the significance is clear and has derived from circumstances that are as real as evolution and survival. It has been honed through times of economic necessity to creatively manage food preservation and storage and considered a craft, which represents the beginning of cooking and maintains a key part of any kitchen whether it is domestic or commercial to this day. Curing and smoking are layers of love applied to something that you already hold a deep affection for and is the crucial ingredient of salt that really fuels the affair.

Steven Lamb, August 2022

About Steven

Steven Lamb is a presenter, curing & smoking guru, culinary consultant and award-winning author. His extensive food knowledge and natural talent for presenting has put him at the centre of many of the best live and virtual food shows and festivals. He is an internationally  renowned expert, regularly teaching at the top leading cookery schools including River Cottage.

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All Rights Reserved. Website By MiHi