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You and me both, I have been interested in smoking food for some while, in england I have a house that is 500 years old it has a ham hook in the inglenook and I am desperate to give it a go , I cannot find anyone who has any knowledge on it, as I use the fireplace it is quite important to know what you are doing.My O>H and I love smoked anything,I think thats why we love french food as so much of it is preserved.There is a cookery school near me that teaches you how to cook in a bread oven apparently they are quite popular in the U.K.I have a bread oven intacted in france and am desperate to give that ago.So lets hope we get someone who knows what they are doing,to advise us.I love smoked duck do you?
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If you have a hook high up inside your chimney/fireplace and you are burning wood only, you are 1/2 way there!

For ham : There must be a recipe on a websearch if not your friendly boucher/charcutier should be able to help you. The ham/hock will need to have been soaked in a brine of a kind. Salt+pepper+vinegar or lemon juice+spices or herbs+water for a week or so. Then take out of brine, wipe off excess moisture and put inside a clean cotton pillowcase, one that you will not want to see again or two cotton tea-towels sewn together on 3sides. Tie the pillowcase/teatowel arrangement very tight and make a loop from which you hang it onto the hook inside your fireplace. Fairly high that the flame of the fire don't lap at it. Leave there for no less than 3months with daily fires. Ideally you should do that at the beginning of autumn when you start your fires and your ham should be ready by the Xmas.

Any meat should work the same but the bigger the lump of meat hanging the longer it will take to smoke well.

Bread-oven : you need big bundles of very dry twigs (hazel, birch...) Place them inside the bread oven, light fire to them and close the door to the oven, let burn. That will heat up the bricks inside the oven. Meanwhile get your bread dough or whatever cake you want cooking ready. When all the twigs have gone to ashes, sweep the ash out to one side as quickly as you can or the oven will cool down.  Slide in your bread and close door firmly and 1/2 hour perhaps or when your nose detects nice hot bread aroma, take bread out. The loaf should be crisp, golden brown and when tapped underneath sound hollow. When all bread out is oven cooled down, sweep all the ash out thouroughly and spread onto your garden...

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  • 2 weeks later...
I dont know a lot about the subject but one thing i now for s ure is you can only use certain woods 2 of which are apple wood and oak , there is a lady down the road from me who smokes fish and game she has a web site i will look for it and post it on later
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www.tregidasmokehouse.co.uk

this is a web site for a small company down the road from me if you email them and explain what you want to do, they have always been very pleasant when im there asking questions, im sure they will give you an idea or 2

also i have seen web sites that have sold little portable smoking kits it was a swedish compamy i think?

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On woods - you can use any wood which is low-resin (so not pine!). Mostly oak, apple and beech, but also of course hickory, cherry, plum and maple. Corn cobs can also be used.

It might be easier to start with fish - a ham would have to stay a long time in the fireplace. A ham will also require curing, which is not an overnight process!

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