b. Rotary Smokehouse. The rotary smokehouse is a single compartment,
usually the same height as the plant with a continuous link chain on cogwheels, which
moves parallel bars from front to rear and top to bottom. The meat may be loaded or
unloaded from any floor but must be handled piece by piece. The smoke is generated
by burning hardwood sawdust in a stoker-fed firebox located adjacent to the bottom
level of the smokehouse. The sawdust is fed to the firebox by a mechanically operated
auger. The amount of heat and smoke is controlled by the speed of the auger. The
circulation of heat and smoke is controlled by fans, through ducts into the smokehouse.
c. Pressurized or Air-Conditioned Smokehouse. This type is made of
stainless steel, has automatic smoke generators, and is thermostatically controlled. The
air in the smokehouse has a positive pressure and is unaffected by outside
temperatures or humidity.
d. Electrostatic Smokehouse. This type of house is made in three sections.
In the first section, the product is heated to 115 to 125F, internal temperature. In the
second section, the product is subjected to a dense smoke. The smoke is produced
outside the smokehouse and is drawn inside through ducts that direct the smoke
between two ionizers (one an anode and one a cathode) where it picks up an electrical
charge. The smoke is deposited on the product by electrostatic action. In the third
section, the product is subjected to heat to stabilize the smoke particles on the surface
of the meat. A normal-size bacon belly can be given a smoked appearance and taste in
approximately 22 minutes. This method is acceptable for smoking products for military
use even though this procedure does not produce the keeping qualities that regular
6-14. SMOKEHOUSE OPERATIONS
Meat is hung in the smokehouse so that pieces do not touch. If allowed to touch
during smoking, the contact areas will not dry or take on a smoked color. They will
remain soft, moist, and pale. These pieces are called touchers.
a. Hanging Meat. Hams for smoking are hung by twine strung through the
shank, by a stockinet, or by the shank itself. Stockinets protect hams against dripping
and give them a smoother smoked appearance. It prevents the carbon and tar-like
substances in the smoke from being deposited on the meat and the ham does not take
on a dark smoked color. It also helps shape the ham during the smoking process.
Stainless steel wire comb hangers equipped with prongs are used to hang light bellies.
The prongs are inserted in the flank end of the belly. Briskets and bacon squares are
smoked on wire screens placed on the tree arms. All meat drips when first hung in a
warm smokehouse, caused by the retained moisture from the soaking vats or the
condensation of moisture on the surface of the cold meats. This dripping may stain the
meat. The smokehouse doors usually are left open until all dripping has subsided.