Pioneers had to be resourceful when it came to preserving meat to ensure their survival during harsh winters and long periods of travel. One technique that they utilized was smoking hams and other large meat pieces inside a smokehouse. This process involved exposure to small flames that produced a lot of smoke, which helped cure the meat. Here are some additional details on how pioneers kept their meat from spoiling:
The smoking process usually began around November when the air temperature was cool enough to prevent the growth of bacteria.
The meat was hung in a smokehouse, a small structure that allowed for proper ventilation and smoke circulation.
Hickory, apple or other types of wood were burned in a firebox, and the smoke was directed into the smokehouse.
The meat was left to cure for several months in the smokehouse, with occasional checks to ensure that the meat was drying properly and that no mold or bacteria were growing.
Once the meat was properly cured, it could be stored for the duration of winter and for most of the summer, providing a source of protein and sustenance during lean times.
Overall, the smoking process was an effective way for pioneers to preserve meat and ensure their survival in harsh conditions. Today, smoking meat is still a popular method for achieving delicious and flavorful results, although modern techniques and technology have made the process less time-consuming and labor-intensive.