Charcuterie: Curing & Smoking

The French term charcutier means “one who prepares and sells port products” The art of the charcutier is called charcuterie. We use this term more generally to refer to the production sausages, pâtés, smoked ham, and cured and smoked products.

Curing and Smoking

Curing and smoking have important methods for preserving foods, especially protein foods, since prehistoric times. Before the days of modern preservation techniques such as canning, freezing, and refrigeration, curing and smoking, as well as drying, enabled people store food in times of abundance for use in times of scarcity. Today we use these techniques for their contribution to flavor perhaps even more than for their preservative qualities. We smoke foods because we like the taste, not because must in order to reserve them.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand how curing works to preserve foods so we can avoid spoilage and food-borne disease that can result from improper curing or improper handling of cured foods.