Newb Question about curing

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Original poster
May 19, 2007
Hello All,

I am new to this forum and new to smoking. I just bought a Masterbuilt electric smoker and I can't wait to use it.

So my question. Do all meats have to be cured before smoking?

I ran across this article which says they must. But I see a lot of discussions and recipes where curing is not mentioned.


However, you do need to cure that new MES unit, first thing is to clean all the parts. Then open the damper all the way and let the unit heat for the first time to about 100 deg, no wood.......let it run about 30 minutes, this will burn off all the residual manufacturing oils mostly still on the heat will stink awful btw...... after that is done then load the chip tray up with a few chips of wood.......let it smoke with damper set about 3/4 closed for 4-5 hours.......this will cure the smoker and it will be ready for that first smoke.

as to meats, typically cured meats will be like jerky or sausage.....or pastrami if your like me.......that's another story...... many of the meats you do will be brined (most poultry) or dry rubbed.....don't confuse this with "curing".......

btw, I think that link you provided is talking about cold smoking.....which yes you would have to have cured meat....but that is because it's done with less then 100 deg and you must be wary of boutulism...... most meats you will smoke "hot" will be done around 225 deg.........

Thank you very much for the detailed info. If you follow the link on that page for curing, it will take you here. They classify brining as curing in a water solution. That is probably why I was confused.

So, with your answer in mind and from what I've read, unless I am cold smoking there should be no need to take additional preservative steps. Right?

For flavor and moisture retention I can brine as necessary. Right?

Also, thanks for the tips on the MES. I have turned it on to burn off the newness, but I haven't smoked it in yet.

Thanks again!
yes to question one, unless you are making sausage......that is another story...but you can ask me, deejaydebi, salmonclubber etc..... on that....

yes on question two also, but usually only needed on poultry to be me once you get the fever you will figure this out.....also I should highly suggest jeff's ecourse on this site that is's fantastic!!!

good for you on burning it in at the last thing you want is that stank manufacturing oil smoke in your food!!!!!!

ENJOY the MES, it's a great unit, I love mine and there are several others here who own them.....heck I'm thinking of getting a second one as is!!!!!
Just something to keep in mind it is the temperature range of 40-140F that you need to be careful of. If meat sits in that range too long that is what you need to watch out for.

Most of the smoking we are doing here although considered by some to be low is not cold smoking which is done at a much lower temperature. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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