Monday, January 22, 2007

Old Smokey

Seamus and I butchered a hog last weekend. It has been a few years since I butchered one on the farm. We used to do 2 or 3 here every year, but lately I have just sent the ones that we have eaten with all the others to the slaughterhouse we use for our customers' pigs. But we were out of pork, and Seamus, who lives pretty close to self sufficiency, was starting to get hungry.

We like to smoke the bacons, hams, and shoulders. After we got the pig all cut up we soaked those cuts in brine for a week. Unfortunately I neglected to write down how long we used to soak and smoke everything, so there is a little bit of guess work going on here. Since we aren't going for a full cure, which means the meat would keep outside of refrigeration, I have opted to err on the side of not long enough. This meat will go into the freezer when it is done. I plan to smoke for a week as well.

The smokehouse is nothing fancy. Kind of like an outhouse without a seat. There are a number of poles across the top of the house for hanging the meat from, and the fire is built right on the ground inside the smokehouse. We generally use cherry or apple wood to smoke with. The smokehouse needs to be cool for this type of application. We are not trying to cook the meat, although we have cooked chickens in there by building a hotter fire. I keep this fire smoldering along by using ashes to restrict the amount of air the fire gets, and by using damp wood. It hasn't gotten hot enough inside there to melt the snow on the roof yet.


Blogger jericho farmer said...

What a great sight - i can smell the smoke from Vermont!

We have an old milk house foundation of concrete that i have designs for turning into a smokehouse. It would similar to what you have.


1/23/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

Fascinating, Peter. Smoking is something I have not tried, yet, but is on my to-do list. Thank you for writing this up. Let us know how the meat comes out, details, etc. On the brining, I found that anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks was good. I like longer as I like the salt. Here's my write up about brining.

2/02/2007 06:01:00 PM  

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