Smoking (cooking)

Meat hanging inside a smokehouse in Switzerland
A Montreal smoked meat sandwich, a well-known Canadian dish

Hot-smoked chum salmon

Smoking is the process of flavoring, browning, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material, most often wood. Meat, fish, and lapsang souchong tea are often smoked.

In Europe, alder is the traditional smoking wood, but oak is more often used now, and beech to a lesser extent. In North America, hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, maple, and fruit-tree woods, such as apple, cherry, and plum, are commonly used for smoking. Other biomass besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavoring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea, heated at the base of a wok.

Some North American ham and bacon makers smoke their products over burning corncobs. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make whisky and some beers. In New Zealand, sawdust from the native manuka (tea tree) is commonly used for hot smoking fish. In Iceland, dried sheep dung is used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton and whale.

Historically, farms in the Western world included a small building termed the "smokehouse," where meats could be smoked and stored. This was generally well-separated from other buildings both because of the fire danger and because of the smoke emanations; the smoking of food could possibly introduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which may lead to an increased risk of some types of cancer; however, this association is still being debated. [1][2][3][4][5][disputed ]

Smoking can be done in four ways: cold smoking, warm smoking, hot smoking, and through the employment of "liquid smoke."[6] However, these methods of imparting smoke only affect the food surface, and are unable to preserve food, thus, smoking is paired with other microbial hurdles, such as chilling and packaging, to extend food shelf-life.[6]


The smoking of food likely dates back to the paleolithic era.[7][8] As caves or simple huts lacked chimneys, these dwellings would probably have become very smoky. It is supposed that early men would hang meat up to dry and out of the way of pests, thus accidentally becoming aware that meat that was stored in smoky areas acquired a different flavor, and was better preserved than meat that simply dried out. This process was later combined with pre-curing the food in salt or salty brine, resulting in a remarkably effective preservation process that was adapted and developed by numerous cultures around the world.[9] Until the modern era, smoking was of a more "heavy duty" nature as the main goal was to preserve the food. Large quantities of salt were used in the curing process and smoking times were quite long, sometimes involving days of exposure.[7]

The advent of modern transportation made it easier to transport food products over long distances and the need for the time and material intensive heavy salting and smoking declined. Smoking became more of a way to flavor than to preserve food. In 1939 a device called the Torry Kiln was invented at the Torry Research Station in Scotland. The kiln allowed for uniform mass-smoking and is considered the prototype for all modern large-scale commercial smokers. Although refinements in technique and advancements in technology have made smoking much easier, the basic steps involved remain essentially the same today as they were hundreds if not thousands of years ago.[7]

Other Languages
العربية: تدخين (طبخ)
беларуская: Вэнджанне
Bikol Central: Tinapa
български: Опушване
Boarisch: Selchn
català: Fumatge
čeština: Uzení
davvisámegiella: Suovasteapmi
Deutsch: Räuchern
español: Ahumado
Esperanto: Fumaĵado
euskara: Ketze
فارسی: دودی کردن
français: Fumage
Gaeilge: Deatú bianna
galego: Afumadura
한국어: 훈제
հայերեն: Ապխտում
Bahasa Indonesia: Pengasapan
íslenska: Reyking
italiano: Affumicatura
kaszëbsczi: Wãdzenié
қазақша: Ыстау
Lëtzebuergesch: Reez
lietuvių: Maisto rūkymas
Limburgs: Ruike
Bahasa Melayu: Pengasapan
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကျပ်တင်ခြင်း
Nederlands: Roken (voedsel)
日本語: 燻製
norsk nynorsk: Røyking av mat
polski: Wędzenie
português: Defumação
русский: Копчение
Simple English: Smoking (cooking)
suomi: Savustus
Tagalog: Tinapa
Türkçe: Tütsüleme
українська: Копчення
Tiếng Việt: Xông khói
粵語: 煙燻