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For the first time in my life I tasted smoked beef. It tasted mostly like ash. It didn't have any raw taste but just wondering when meat is smoked, does it get cooked thoroughly?

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  1. If the smoked beef you tried tasted of ash then it was not done right.

  2. If done correctly and cooked to a safe internal temperature then, "YES" it is 100% cooked.

  3. You should note that it is the internal temperature and not just "smoking" that is the rule for "doneness". Smoking can occur at a lower temperature. Smoking can be used to "cure" or preserve beef, as @TFD & @Aaronut point out. These process yield a product that is 'ready to eat' so I would say it is "100% cooked".

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Many people don't like their smoked beef "cooked", and it is common in many parts of the world to cold smoke red meat and fish. The smoke chemicals are powerful preservatives, so it does not need to be cooked –  TFD Sep 7 '11 at 11:46
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Yes, @TFD is right - smoking is more like curing than cooking, which doesn't require heat. It can also mean different things in different places. –  Aaronut Sep 7 '11 at 12:53
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@Cos_Callis "cooked" usually refers to heat, especially the characteristic change in proteins. Cold smoking does not in anyway do this, it is purely a surface preservative, the food is still very raw, though somewhat dryer. It is not uncommon to cook cold smoked products before consumption if they have not been cured with salt etc. before smoking. e.g. traditional bacon –  TFD Sep 8 '11 at 12:31

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