Smoked Meat from the Altai Republic

Back to the archive >

For a long time, the process of smoking has been one of the most established methods to conserve meat in the Altai Republic, which is autonomous from Russia and located in southern Siberia. In order to prepare smoked meat, the population uses a very simple method: small pieces of raw yak (Bos grunniens) or deer meat (Cervus Elaphus Sibiricus) seasoned with salt, sugar, pepper, and cloves, are hung up in a room specifically designated for smoking.The yak is native to the region and was traditionally raised in the southeast and central regions of the Altai Republic. The first traces of its breeding go back to the 2nd century B.C.E. Yaks spend all the year round on the pasture, even when the weather conditions are harsh. The yak’s body is covered by a thick fur, which helps the animal survive extreme temperatures. In the Altai Republic, between December and February, the temperature can drop to as low as minus 15-20 degrees Celsius (5 to minus 4 degrees Farenheit). In the summer, the yak moves up as high as 2000-3000 meters, where the animals gain weight and accumulate fat. The meat is of a strong red colour and rich in nutrients.The Altai deer are raised on maralnik, fenced pastures in the boreal forest (or taiga), where the animals are nourished on more than 300 species of plants and drink fresh spring water. Thanks to the favourable breeding conditions and their diet, the deer are very resistant to diseases. Their meat is tender, fine, and low in fat.The meat from both animals is processed in a structure designed and built to handle smoking. The smokehouse is a room in which a stove is lit with wood from cherry or apple trees, and a temperature between 40 and 60° Celsius is maintained. The process lasts from 6 to 24 hours. The smoked meat is traditionally consumed in the Altai Republic without being further cooked and so can easily be taken along when out hunting or on the pasture. Today, the production of smoked meat is limited, and it is estimated that the people of this region make less than one ton of smoked meat every year.

  • Hai imparato qualcosa di nuovo da questa pagina?
    Did you learn something new from this page?

  • YesNo
Back to the archive >



Altai republic

Other info


Cured meats and meat products