Whole Leaf Tobacco

Latakia British Columbia style

chillardbee

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So, It not exactly the same as what you'd associate latakia that you know with but this would be the native taste for our area. Let me explian.

The Latakia that's produced in various regions of the world use the woods and herbs native to those regions for the smoking of the leaf. following that train of thought I'm doing the same thing as well using a mixture of various herbs and woods native to our area. Unfortunatly I'm using an air cured virginia variety rather than a sun cured oriental but I think it will still turn out ok.

So, I've been doing this. I've been smoking the leaf 1-4 times a week with apple wood, cherry wood, and alder wood, with a bit of dead dried herb stems from the herb garden like rosemary, mint, oregano, ect. So far I have probably 20-25 smoke sessions on it with each smoke session lasting the duration of the material thats being smoked, which is usually an hour and fourty five minutes. I usually start the sessions by mixing a few of the herbs in with the wood and and adde a quarter cup of water to bring the leaf into order before the smoking begins. I'm using my Big Cheif smoker for smoking in.

So far the leaf is half as dark as I would like it but I sampled a bit of it by blending a bit so it made up 5% of the blend. All I can say is that so far is that it adds a rich robust tasty smoky flavour to the blend and it's quite enjoyable. What I think I'll do differently the next time I do this is to use a sun cured oriental and I'll throw in more leaf (1lb) to make it worth while. This may not be latakia proper I'm making but it is fun experiementing with it.
 

deluxestogie

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After thinking about this for several years, I've come to realize that getting the dark black color of Latakia requires wood that produces soot--pitch black soot. So, I suspect that (as FmGrowit has often suggested) some soft, terpene-sapped wood, like pine, needs to be included in the mix. In my brain, it just never seemed like pine would provide the right taste, but I may try that as part of a wood blend for 2014.

I've used hickory, apple, maple and maple with bark, either alone or in combinations. The resins that are left coating the inside of my smoker can are a glossy brown. I need soot.

It may also be that the leaf needs to be processed at a much higher temperature than I've tried so far.

Bob
 

Nikfits

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After thinking about this for several years, I've come to realize that getting the dark black color of Latakia requires wood that produces soot--pitch black soot. So, I suspect that (as FmGrowit has often suggested) some soft, terpene-sapped wood, like pine, needs to be included in the mix. In my brain, it just never seemed like pine would provide the right taste, but I may try that as part of a wood blend for 2014.

I've used hickory, apple, maple and maple with bark, either alone or in combinations. The resins that are left coating the inside of my smoker can are a glossy brown. I need soot.

It may also be that the leaf needs to be processed at a much higher temperature than I've tried so far.

Bob
I don't know too much about this area yet. I've seen where people use Pecans for smoking meats. Has anyone ever tried this for fire curing tobacco? Not sure how dark it would go for the smoke. Just adding my thoughts.
 

chillardbee

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Thats a good point Bob. Although I'm not so sure on the soot part. Like the soot that comes off a flickering candel flame you would need an open flame to get the type of soot. That soot is also called lamp black and it is a product of incomplete cumbustion of hydrocarbons. It doesn'tt actually burn that well unless mixed with an oxidizer. I think what we are looking for is creosote which comes from a thick tar laden smoke. We do get it from the hard woods we've been using but I think that pine and particularly pine needles would give the thickest and richest in tar. Like when your having a fire and you through on those green pine branches and you get that thick yellow smoke. I think it's that type of smoke that'll darken the leaf and I think that pine, cedar, juniper, spruce, ect, would probably impart a rather pleasant flavour.

I've read many articles about latakia and all of them either vary or are different on how latakia came to be. One I heard and seems to make the most sense is this one-

The baccy growers in that region of the world, latakia being one of them, grew their baccy crops of sun cured oriental (turkish if you prefer) varieties. If they did not sell their crops right away, they would hang them in there sheds, probably on the same wire or string they were cured on. When the inclement winter weather came and rather than loosing their crop to mold, they would start slow fires in the sheds. wether they had wood stoves, a barrel, or just an open pit for their fires, their main concern was to prevent the baccy from getting too moist so as to prevent mold. You can imagine that if you only had the means of an open fire pit and feeding that fire with anything that was available and that if there was a particular year that was exceptionaly wet that the fires had to be started on a near daily basis that the leaf, after a couple of months, would start looking pretty black. It's also entirely possibly for back in that time and hardships that they might very well of used a cow chip or two, who knows. But the main thing is that out of this "necessity" came a style of tobacco thats been honed down to an art. The process of growing a fine turkish leaf in good soil; sun curing it in good conditions; the months that the baccy is exposed to fire smoke from what ever fuels are used (hardwoods, softwoods, woody herbs, ect) are what I believe makes latakia.

That being siad, I'm scratching my head on why my post was moved to the fire cured section when what I'm clearly talking about has absolutly nothing to do with fire curing. I don't usually make a fuss over this type of thing but I did mean to put it in the latakia section because thats what I was talking about. My leaf wasn't even fire cured, it was air cured. Could you move this thread back to latakia, please. thanks.
 

Markw

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That makes sense about the soot to make the a dark colour in the leaf, In Cyprus the use a local pine and Cyprus oak to smoke their tobacco.
 

Dean

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They may well have been burning all those discarded stems as well as a byproduct of the grow. They burn up pretty well once dried.
 

Markw

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Yes it all adds up, they might have used the dry stems as well. But to get the dark colour I am thinking as they cooked over their fires they would cook their food or boil water or simmer food over the fire.This generates steam, just like you need it to make Cavendish get a nice deep dark colour. then add your local herbs and spices to you cooking, either over the meat or in your stews. It is like being given a cake and being asked how it was cooked and what was in it. I think the steam generated from the cooking helps get the dark colour.
 

BigBonner

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What about adding syrup ( sorghum ) to the tops of the logs to make the black sweet soot ?
 

istanbulin

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After thinking about this for several years, I've come to realize that getting the dark black color of Latakia requires wood that produces soot--pitch black soot. So, I suspect that (as FmGrowit has often suggested) some soft, terpene-sapped wood, like pine, needs to be included in the mix. In my brain, it just never seemed like pine would provide the right taste, but I may try that as part of a wood blend for 2014. ...
Cedar wood is used in Latakia production and it produces good amount of soot as other resinous woods. I guess there's cedar in the US (South ?).
 

deluxestogie

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Will, "smoking" tobacco leaf is fire-curing, by definition. Fire-curing is a method of curing over heat, in which the gases of combustion (e.g. the smoke) is exposed to the leaf. By distinction, flue-curing simply separates the leaf from the gases of combustion by means of a flue pipe. What you are doing is fire-curing.

Bob
 

Markw

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Will, "smoking" tobacco leaf is fire-curing, by definition. Fire-curing is a method of curing over heat, in which the gases of combustion (e.g. the smoke) is exposed to the leaf. By distinction, flue-curing simply separates the leaf from the gases of combustion by means of a flue pipe. What you are doing is fire-curing.

Bob
I totally agree with that Bob. So are we correct to say that Latakia is fire cured, rather than smoked, or would it be a bit of both.
 

DGBAMA

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but is it still "fire curing" even though Will started with already dry/cured leaf? Or is making Latakia a processing method, like making Perique?
 

Knucklehead

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I think Latakia is fire cured. The mystery seems to be which variety and which combustible materials are used to give it it's unique flavor. All fire cured is smoked due to the nature of fire. It's been pretty much proven that an Oriental variety is used, but exactly which one still seems to be open to debate.
 
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Knucklehead

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What about adding syrup ( sorghum ) to the tops of the logs to make the black sweet soot ?
I've read where Latakia was produced by accident, from leaf hanging in the rafters of someone's house. The cooking fires supposedly created the first Latakia. If this is the case, there is not only wood and herb smoke involved, but possibly animal fat, syrups, and other food stuff that fell into the fire over the winter.

DGBAMA smoked some Silver River in his smoker at the same time he was cooking meat. It had a very wonderful, unique flavor, unlike any fire cured I had ever smoked. At first I attributed this to the variety, but it could very well have been the meat and fat that imparted the flavor.
 
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chillardbee

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What we have here...Is a failure...to communicate. I Think there are differences in opinion on what considered 'curing'. From everything I've read, the process of curing or 'color curing' is the taking of fresh ripe/mature leaf and allowing it to change color at a controled rate. Of the methods for curing, I think we all here are familiar with the 4 main types which are air cured, sun cured, fire cured, and fluecured. That process, depending on the method and climate , can take as little as a week to as much as 5-6 weeks.

So this is where it's now getting confusing, Because if the leaf has been cured by any of the methods above, How the leaf is treated afterward should describe the 'process' of leaf treatment and not for curing, which has already been done. What I'm saying here is that If my smoking treatments are still considered a 'curing' then act of aging, fermenting, cavendish, perique, can all be considered curing too.

Unless...Unless we are refering to curing with smoke as in the same way smoke preserves meat but I don't think we could or should refer to it as that becuase, unlike meat, the leaf won't decay or go bad wether it was smoked or not. you could also call it a casing... If casing is adding something to produce a different flavour but in this case the casing is added in gas form rather than liquid.

Anyway, It's hard to keep things in context when term are used loosely. Maybe I am just as simple redneck bumpkin and a stubborn block headed german but I like my T's dotted and my i's crossed :D ... or was that the other way around....
 

Knucklehead

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What we have here...Is a failure...to communicate.
I love the "Cool Hand Luke" reference. Great movie.

I agree with you about the "curing" confusion. A lot of tobacco terminology is confusing to me. Virginia vs Flue Cure varieties always confuse me, because I've air cured and sun cured several of the "flue cure" varieties. The Turkish vs Oriental from another thread is another example. "Dark Air Cured" has nothing to do with the curing method, and everything to do with the variety. "Dark Air Cured" varieties are air cured. If these ambiguities are ever to be cleared up, perhaps this forum is the place to start doing it.
 

deluxestogie

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"smoking" tobacco leaf is fire-curing, by definition.
If you attempt to apply logic to normative values (fire-cured is what it's called in the industry), you may end up with a terminology that makes more sense, while adding confusion.

Of the 3+ months that Latakia is fire-cured, only the first few days of that colors the leaf.

You can certainly call it whatever you like.

Bob
 

chillardbee

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I surely am learning a lot more about Latakia. The possibilities of the different flavours you can get are vertualy limitless. I've been digging around the net and found this jewel of a site-

http://www.leffingwell.com/download/latakia2013.pdf

EDITED:

I do stand corrected that latakia is a fire curing of the leaf and indeed it is but I think the difference with American firecured and latakia are the fuels and the duration of exposure to the smoke. In some of the old books they talk about firecuring taking a short time, maybe not quite like fluecuring time but simular where as the latakia is exposed to the smoke much longer.
 
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