Logs and Limbs

Appears in

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

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

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

  • About
If you have a large walk-in smokehouse with a dirt floor, and have a talent for maintaining a fire, you can use green logs for both the smoke and the heat. This is the old-timey way. It’s hard to get green logs just right, but once hot, they will smolder for a long time without making a blaze. A preliminary fire is built in a trench with dry wood and kindling, and sometimes helped along with charcoal. Then the green logs are placed on either side of the trench. As the logs burn, they can be inched closer and closer together. Also, if the trench is properly sloped, the logs will tend to settle down automatically as they burn. With luck, two new logs can be put down and consumed without having to build another fire. Thus, four green logs properly arranged will smolder for days, producing lots of smoke and not too much heat. Almost always, a green, freshly cut log will not burn as hot as a dry log; part of the reason is that the heat is used up in vaporizing the moisture in the wood. Technically, this is called the latent heat of vaporization and explains why boiling water at sea level doesn’t get hotter than 212°F.