demanded by the trade and place in cure only sufficient cuts to meet the demand.
When the market cannot absorb the entire product, it may be backpacked; the meat is
removed from the original curing agent 5 to 10 days before the cured age, repacked in
tierces of 25 pickle and placed in low temperature cellars at 0F to 15F. The cure is
not completely arrested, but is retarded by the low temperature and the weak pickle.
The low temperature also decreases bacterial activity. Box-cured meats are moved to
freezers and frozen without being removed from the boxes.
Section II. SMOKING MEAT
6-12. THE SMOKING PROCESS
In commercial packing house operations, only cured meats are usually smoked.
The temperature attained in commercial smoke-houses is favorable to the propagation
of spoilage bacteria; therefore, uncured meats may not remain sweet during smoking.
Sweet-pickle-cured meats and dry-cured meats are smoked before they are sold. Dry-
salt meats are rarely smoked. Meats are smoked to extract moisture from the surface
of the meat and/or to reduce the moisture throughout the meat. Smoking reduces the
number of surface bacteria 4 to 10 fold. As smoking is continued, heat accompanying
the smoke extracts water added during the curing process. This tends to bring the total
moisture of the meat back to its original content. Smoking can be continued to further
dry the product and in this way extend the shelf life. Smoke deposited on the surface of
the meat contains substances which have a retarding effect on the growth of bacteria
during storage and produces a resistance to rancidity in the fat caused by oxidation.
Many people have developed a taste preference for the flavor of smoked meats.
Therefore, some products are smoked for the flavor alone, added stability of the product
is not a prime objective.
a. Stationary or Tower-Type Smokehouse. The stationary or tower-type
smokehouse is probably the oldest type of smokehouse still in use today. It is
constructed of brick and usually is the same height as the building or plant. The fire pit
is on the first floor and is equipped with gas jets. The flames from the gas jets are
smothered with hardwood sawdust to produce smoke. Turning up the gas or using less
sawdust controls the heat. To produce more smoke, the gas is turned down and more
sawdust is used. The product must be loaded into the smokehouse from each floor
level. Each floor of the smokehouse is equipped with an iron grating to allow circulation
of heat and smoke from bottom to top. Circulation of the heat and smoke is controlled
by a ventilator in the top of the smokehouse that is opened or closed as needed. The
outside atmosphere affects the efficiency of the house. During damp, still weather,
there is little draft and the product may be smudged rather than smoked. High winds
may increase the draft and heat, causing the product to sear or scorch.