The Fundamentals of Smoking
This workshop takes the audience through the fundamentals of smoking meat. Butcher and charcuterie expert Jake Levin begins by giving a basic introduction that situates the process in its historical roots as a way of preserving meat. Emphasizing the humble nature of the work, Levin explores the idea that, with some basic equipment and knowledge, anyone can produce high-quality smoked meats at home. He shares a brief history of smoked foods throughout the world. Learn how smoking meat involves the interplay of three basic elements: the meat itself, the temperature, and the wood. In terms of the meat, Levin describes what cuts are best suited for smoking and why. He also talks about the importance of various kinds of salt, as well as sugars and other spices for flavoring (as well as helping with preservation). Find out about the differences between hot smoking and cold smoking. Discover some of the most common fuels or sources of smoke (such as oak and fruitwood), as well as some of the less familiar (such as hay, tea, and even dung). Levin introduces various smoking techniques, including smoking on a grill, pit roasting, stove-top smoking, barbecuing, and using a smokehouse. Next, he covers the basic tools and pieces of equipment needed to produce smoked meats at home, from the most rudimentary to the fairly involved and high end. Hear about some of the smokers you can buy and various kinds you can make in your own backyard (including grill pits, barrel smokers, offset smokers, and the design for Levin’s tri-purpose smokehouse).
Maryland, Saturday June 1st 3:30-4:30 p.m., Real Food Stage
Me and My Smoker
This workshop focuses on the smoker that butcher and charcuterie expert Jake Levin designed and built with his brother. He reveals why they made the design decisions they did, and how their project resulted in a working tri-purpose smoker. Levin’s first experiment with it was cold smoked lox, and that same winter they pit-roasted a whole pig for 60 guests using an ancient Mayan recipe. Levin now celebrates his birthday and his brothers’ by smoking anywhere from five to 20 ribs, a couple of pork shoulders, beans, and more. Follow his personal journey learning to smoke meat (and writing a book about the process) in this workshop that includes descriptions of various smoking techniques and styles of smokers.
Maryland, Sunday June 2nd 10:00-11:00 a.m., Real Food Stage