You use it in small quantities to add flavour to dishes, rather than eat it on its own.
The meat used traditionally was either pork or beef; now, it might be turkey instead of either. The most common meat, though, is boneless pork butt.
To make it, all fat is trimmed off the meat, and the meat is cut into long strips. The meat is put in a pickling solution of salt, sugar and Prague Powder #1, and refrigerated for two days covered in the solution.
A seasoning mix is made. Spices in it will include cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, mustard, vinegar, jalapeno peppers, brown sugar, and Worcestershire Sauce, as well as garlic.
The pickling solution is rinsed off the meat. The meat is then rolled in the seasoning mix, and let sit covered in a refrigerator for a day or two.
Then it is smoked on a cool smoker (below 120 F / 49 C) for 5 to 7 hours.
Different brands may be smoked over different kinds of wood, such as hickory.
Consider it a raw product that needs further cooking.
To use it, you chop it up, and add it to a dish to cook with the dish.
Smoked ham or cottage ham with some cayenne pepper and paprika rubbed into it.
Store wrapped in fridge and use within 7 to 10 days, or freeze. Freezes well.