At N1, leading Cape Town meat wholesalers, we offer a wide variety of delicious cold meats - ranging from pastrami and Russians to Parma ham and German salami loaf. A firm favourite amongst many, cured and smoked meats have been around since the earliest time of man – one of the first recorded recipes for ‘salted pork’ comes from Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman and historian who lived around 200 BC. But the technique of curing and smoking meat predates even the Romans – its purpose, by necessity, was to preserve certain foods for longer periods of time that would otherwise go bad if not treated. Which would explain why salt was said to be more valuable than gold in early history.
In curing, cuts of meat are treated with a salt solution which inhibits the growth of microorganisms by reducing the amount of water present – concentrations of salt up to 20% are needed to kill most bacterial growth. In smoking, three forms of preservation are employed: the first is heat (time and temperature dependant) which kills bacteria; second, the smoke releases certain chemical compounds which have an antimicrobial effect; and third, because the outer surface of the meat dries out, again the reduced presence of water limits the growth of bacteria.
Caribbean natives were some of the earliest and better-known smokers and their meat-smoking setup was called ‘barbacoa’ which is where today’s word ‘barbecue’ comes from. If you’ve ever wondered about the etymological origin of the South African word ‘braai’, it’s said to have come from the Dutch word ‘braden’ which means to roast.
Halaal fish can also be cured and smoked - delicious smoked Salmon, considered a delicacy the world over, was a common dish in early Greek and Roman culture. And then there’s our very own smoked snoek of course - a more affordable alternative to the delicate ribbons of salmon or trout.
Today meat is cured and smoked for taste rather than convenience – think mouth-watering pastrami, a meat (usually beef) which is cured; partially dried and seasoned; and then smoked and steamed. Or delectable salami, a dry sausage which relies on the combination of lactic acid fermentation with curing salts to produce a delicacy of greater longevity, taste and colour. Also very popular is macon, Halaal certified meat similar to bacon, but prepared from mutton and beef - it is also cured by seeping in large quantities of salt or brine.
Whatever your cured and smoked meat needs might be, contact N1 today - we constantly strive to offer the best quality meat and frozen food products, and our core values of quality, service and delivery are at the heart of everything we do!