using smoke to preserve meat, fish or fowl

Vicki Can’t Cook

But, She Sure Can, Can!

“Special Thanks to Cajun Clark for his generosity in sharing this canning information.”

Man, more likely woman, has been saving or at the least attempting to store food since the first brontosaurus wandered too close to the hunter’s spear.

They used smoke, salt and sun; the latest technology then available. However, as you know, from your reading, except for Da Ol’ Mon Caj who acts like he was there, success was limited.

Smoking Processing Originated When

Smoke processing originated when the first-fire was built in the cave dwelling at the beginning of human civilization. Humans, especially in tropical developing countries, use this process today to preserve meat.

As anyone who has used a smoker knows, smoke—whether it be hickory, pecan, mesquite, oak, beech, alder or maple. It gives attractive and appealing sensory properties to meats, including color and flavor.

At the same time, when using smoke to preserve food, there are certain risks involved, and drawbacks inherent in the process. For example, many a smoke house had caught fire and burned down, and sometimes surrounding structures went with it.

Smoke works only if there is low heat, copious quantities of smoke and the meat/fish/fowl are left in this environment for a rather lengthy period of time. Finally, because of these factors, dehydrators are commonly used to accomplish this goal, and liquid smoke is used as a marinade in order to obtain similar taste results.

Salting Came After Smoking

Salting, which came after smoking, as a means of preserving foods is thought to have begun prior to written history. Salt was used as early as 3000 BC by the Mesopotamian to preserve meat and fish.

Methods of salting were generally used:

  1. cover the food with copious quantities of salt; or else
  2. immerse or cover the food to be preserved with saturated salt brine.

Whichever method is used, the time must be sufficient for the salt to infuse into the tissue while dehydrating the product.

Advent of Refrigeration

The Advent of mechanical refrigeration in the 20th century drastically changed the methods used to preserve food.

Salt-cured and pickled foods evolved into forms that are salted to a lesser degree and depend on modern refrigeration and packaging practices for preservation. However, exposure of foods to smoke, which began as a customary method of preservation, continues to be used now mainly because of taste.

Nevertheless, today, for the most part, smoke flavorings are now being used in place of accustomed preserving methods in most of the processed meat commodities provided in the United States.

What’s that Vicki?
You want to know what?

You’re upset because your most favorite way for preserving food has been left out and should have been before refrigeration?

Yes, Vicki, Da Ol’ Mon Caj knows that as far as you’re concerned the most important method of food preservation has been left out.


Well…Okay…but only if you put the top of that pressure cooker down. Thank you.

What Vicki’s referring to, as you’ve already guessed, is Canning.

Yep, that’s it: CANNING!


Capt’n Salsa’s note:

Let’s follow along with Caj and Vicki as..

Vicki Tells All

“I remember my mom saying one fall that she wished she had a hundred dollars to spend at the grocery store to get enough things to last through the winter.

Canning Methods:

We have a LOT to be thankful for in the invention of the pressure canner. The water bath method is very simple, simple enough even for you Caj.

Canning Jars:

The old fashioned way is to wash the jars, then boil them to be sure they are sterile, and then use them while they are as hot as possible.


Water Bath…Pressure Canner

This is absoulutely necessary in order to keep the jars off the bottom, in direct contact with the heat source.

Some of Vicki’s Recipes

We ate really good, too! We did eat some strange things though; like possum, raccoon, …things that most of the time didn’t come out of a can, but you get the general idea.

What Can’t You Can?

Uh-oh, I nearly went and did it big time.  I get so excited about canning I forget about the other methods of preserving food: dehydrating and freezing.

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