Beware the Gray Zone

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Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

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Be warned, again, that a smoker designed for cold-smoking should not act as an oven and should not function in what I call the gray area. For cold-smoking, it’s best to keep the temperature below 100°F, and preferably at 80°F or less. At higher temperatures, salmonella and other bacteria can multiply rapidly until a temperature of about 140°F is reached. Thus cold-smoking should be accomplished at temperatures below 100°F and preferably at 80°F or lower. Hot-smoking should be accomplished at temperatures higher than 140°F. Avoid the gray area in between. Note also that cooking and smoking at 140°F may not be safe in all cases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now recommending that your thanksgiving turkey be cooked to an internal temperature of 180°F—a figure impossible to attain in a 140-degree smoker.