All photos by Meredith Bethune.

Early man probably just dangled meat over a fire to preserve it, but today smoking is needlessly complicated. The modern process is full of jargon and gear and often discourages some would-be meat-smokers from trying at all.

But there is another way. In fact, I’d recommend trying it with this bare-bones equipment before spending a fortune on a smoker. You won’t win any barbecue competitions with this beginners’ method, but it’s more than sufficient to produce delicious homemade bacon and charcuterie with locally raised meat.