How long will smoked meat last
Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs by Karen SolomonCreative recipes and expert how-to instructions for salt-curing, smoking, pickling, oil-curing, and dehydrating will help you make protein-rich foods last longer and taste even more delicious. From beef jerky, bacon, and pastrami to duck breast prosciutto, salt-cured egg yolks, pickled beans, and brined tofu, you’ll find everything you need to confidently preserve your favorite proteins.
Smoking Meat Week: Smoking 101
How long do you guys store smoked meats in the fridge?
Smoking meat imparts flavor unattainable via other cooking techniques and does aid in meat preservation. Meat that is solely smoked still requires refrigeration, or it will spoil. Smoked meat that is cured, like ham, or dried, like jerky, may not require refrigeration. Smoking aids in preserving meat in three ways. During the actual smoking process, the smoke kills any existing bacteria.
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Until the coming of refrigeration, smoking meat was a major food preservation method. After meat was smoked, it was kept in smokehouses set in cooler locations around homes and farms. Today smoking meat has become a method of food preparation rather than preservation, but the erroneous idea that smoked meat can last beyond safe periods in refrigeration lingers. The reality is that smoked meat has a storage life much the same as meat prepared any other way. Smoked meat can be kept three to four days in a refrigerator after being cooked. Properly wrapped, smoked meat will last two to three months in a freezer. In neither case should smoked meat be kept or used beyond these recommended times because of the likelihood that the meat will be unsafe for humans or pets to eat.
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It seems odd that something as intangible as the smoke from a fire could help foods last longer, but the effect has been known and used for longer than history records. Very thin pieces of fish or meat, smoked and dried over a low fire, remained edible for weeks or even months. Larger pieces required salt or long drying periods, but smoke added pleasant flavors and helped prevent surface spoilage. Modern smoked meats are more likely to be made with refrigeration in mind, so their storage life varies sharply. The least complicated form of smoked meat is cooked over gentle heat in a smoke-filled chamber, whether a backyard charcoal barbecue or a compact electric smoker. Southern pulled pork and Texas-style brisket are classic examples of this type of smoked meat. In this case, the smoke adds flavor but does nothing to actually preserve the meat or extend its storage life.