A method of cooking by which food (usually meat) is exposed for an extended period of time to smoke.

There are basically two types of smoking: cold smoking, and hot smoking. Cold smoking is using low temperature over a very long time (days). Moisture is removed from the food, and thus the food is preserved. However, it is not truly cooked. Bacon is typically cold smoked--you still have to throw it in that cast iron skillet to make it suitable to go along side eggs.

Hot smoking, on the other hand, goes significantly faster(hours), and involves a higher temperature. The food is cooked, though it is not necessarily preserved (make sure you have your refrigerator ready). Salmon is usually hot smoked.

In both cases, a cure is applied to the meat. It is put in a chamber where it is exposed to the smoke. In the case of hot smoking, the smoke source is basically in the same chamber as the food being smoked. Cold smoking, on the other hand, has one chamber for smoke, some ducts to allow the smoke to cool, and another chamber for the food (connected by the duct).

In either case, hard wood is allowed to smolder, producing the smoke. Though the type of wood can introduce flavor, it typically takes six hours for such difference to be realized in the food.

When it comes to cooking, my mom and Alton Brown really taught me everything I know. This writeup is all Alton.