Smoked Meat in Smokehouse, Best Natural Flavor of Romanian Countryside Cuisine
Romanian country people of the good old-fashioned type pride themselves on their skill in preparing delicious traditional pork dishes, such as smoked meat, sausages, as well as liverwurst and other Romanian traditional recipes with pork organs. In winter season, when pork meat is to be had in abundance, large quantities of smoked meat and sausages are prepared to be stored up for using through the year.
The following recipes have been given to us by notable farmers, who have used them year after year in manufacturing these well known Romanian dishes.
It was early in the morning when we arrived at the beautiful farm from the hillside village of Iaslovăț, 30 minutes away from Suceava, in the historical region of Bucovina. The butcher had scarcely said good-day to us, before he got down to his charges. He was setting things up for cooking smoked meat and caltaboș, a traditional pork organ stuffed intestines, similar to the German liverwurst.
Prior to refrigerators, we had been using smoke as a natural meat preservative. With all the modern methods of conservation, smoked meat is still preferred for it’s taste and is a traditional dish that Romanians associate with the Christmas holiday. Meat smoking skills take time to master and our butcher had plenty of it. He dragged a container full of pork cuts in front of the smokehouse.
There were pork loins, bones, shoulder, ribs, lard, kaizer, previously left to marinate in a secret mixture of spices and herbs for three days.
Separately, he prepared another secret mixture of herbs and spices, among which we could identify the pepper, salt and paprika. He added water to it and dipped each piece individually before he hung it in the smokehouse.
He added water to it and dipped each piece individually before he hung it in the smokehouse.
He lighted a fire and left the meat to be smoked and cooked at a temperature between 52 to 80 °C (126 to 176 °F) for the next four hours with closed doors.
Then the meat is cooked over the hot coals with doors open, to prevent it from taking too much smoke.
The result is a fully cooked, moist and flavorful meat that we enjoyed eating so much. The natural taste of smoke wasn’t intense and the meat was tender and tasty.
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