A: Curing is both a preservative and a flavoring. The main ingredient in curing is salt which also helps prevent bacteria from growing.
In addition to salt, cured meats also have sugar, spices like onion, garlic and pepper, some type of preservative and often a flavoring in addition to the spices. Often wine is used for flavoring cured meats.
The meat is put in this brine solution and the flavors are allowed to set in. Meats are cured in relatively low temperatures (about 35 degrees) again to discourage the growth of bacteria. This is basically all there is to curing.
The next step is smoking. You can smoke meat using any number of woods including hickory, oak, maple, cherry or mesquite.
A smoker machine is used to smoke the meat and add the flavor and smell of the wood that is used.
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