Smoke House

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skyhightree1
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Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Tue May 31, 2016 1:32 pm

I have been looking at different smoke house plans all week and still have no idea which to build. Does anyone have any pics of working smoke houses you are someone you know is currently using today? I want a smoke house with a bench to salt hams and bacon down and a place to hang and smoke hams and bacon all year round. I plan on making it out of wood but just don't know of the design yet. I will probably build something like a 4x4x8 I don't need anything huge.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Tue May 31, 2016 2:16 pm

My smokehouse is just a house, vented at the top and insulated extremely well. Since its flat here I raised it off the ground and channel smoke into the house through the floor. The smoke channel is buried so when the smoke reaches the house it is cold smoke. Some people choose to build them on the ground and just build a small fire in the floor but I think piping the smoke in gives you more control. Don't overthink it.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Tue May 31, 2016 2:40 pm

Thanks joe I was wondering the same thing since its so flat here and I plan on the fire box being a metal barrel. I was going to build it like I build my blinds but like on 3 foot legs and bolted to a platform. I planed on using floor grates in the top as a way to control the smoke whether leave half closed or wide open. I don't want to overthink it but figure maybe 8 feet of pipe would be enough to make the smoke cold and if I wanted to hot smoke take a section loose.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Tue May 31, 2016 3:45 pm

Eight foot of metal pipe should be plenty since the metal will be a heat sink. What I did was build a firebox out of some scrap plate then piped the smoke down from the box then up through the floor. The key is establishing your draft. I wouldn't try and use the fire box to heat the smoker too. Controlling the temp is too critical for that. Much simpler to just put a gas burner in the house and if its insulated well it will give both efficiency and convenience.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Rafter S » Tue May 31, 2016 3:47 pm

When I was a boy we had one that was probably about 4' or 5' wide x 10' long. Everything was hung on wood rods. Even hams and bacon. Dad would cut the hams into smaller portions, and quarter the bacon slabs, then poke a hole through them near one corner and put a piece of hay string through the hole to make a loop.

He'd build a fire in a metal 5-gallon bucket. Then he had a metal lid off of a small barrel that he'd lay on top after he had the fire going. It had a few holes to allow the smoke out, but having the lid on would restrict the oxygen enough to keep it from blazing up.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Tue May 31, 2016 4:21 pm

Jogeephus wrote:Eight foot of metal pipe should be plenty since the metal will be a heat sink. What I did was build a firebox out of some scrap plate then piped the smoke down from the box then up through the floor. The key is establishing your draft. I wouldn't try and use the fire box to heat the smoker too. Controlling the temp is too critical for that. Much simpler to just put a gas burner in the house and if its insulated well it will give both efficiency and convenience.


Makes sense I may get some logs milled and do rough sawn like a board and batten sides that should insulate it well I thought about plywood but not sure since its glued together if it hold plus rain and outside moisture issue.

Rafter S wrote:When I was a boy we had one that was probably about 4' or 5' wide x 10' long. Everything was hung on wood rods. Even hams and bacon. Dad would cut the hams into smaller portions, and quarter the bacon slabs, then poke a hole through them near one corner and put a piece of hay string through the hole to make a loop.

He'd build a fire in a metal 5-gallon bucket. Then he had a metal lid off of a small barrel that he'd lay on top after he had the fire going. It had a few holes to allow the smoke out, but having the lid on would restrict the oxygen enough to keep it from blazing up.


That's a smart way to do it.

My neighbor had a cinderblock building and his meat would sweat in the summer cause it was sealed so tight. I figure with wood it wouldn't do that.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Tue May 31, 2016 4:24 pm

Yeah, a smoldering fire is all you need because you are just after the smoke. My box will smolder for 26 hours but years ago they would just light the fire in the mornings and go about their business and start another fire then next day.

Here is a picture of one of my smokers. The firebox is the brown box on the right. The smoke travels through a log truck bolster under the ground then it comes up in the floor of the smokehouse. No problem using plywood because you will never get it hot enough for any damages and they no longer use the formaldehyde based glue. I used the stuff with the aluminum foil covering thinking it would help with the heat. I have two layers of wood on the outside and one on the inside stuffed with lots of insulation. It will hold the temp and keep it steady.

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To steady the heat in the house I poured concrete in the floor and from this picture you can see the smoke hole. The tube in the back is a propane burner I built out of some scrap. Its vented to the outside because when the smokehouse is going there is not enough oxygen in the house to carry a flame.

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Here is what it looks like when its up and going. Though not a large smokehouse I've never filled it to capacity and I've had a few hundred pounds of meat hanging a few times.

But Sky, what you really need is this one. It no sold at $75,000 at an auction. I wasn't prepared to go that high. I had a letter of credit for 50 but never even raised my hand. I think I'll stick with what I got for a while.

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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Tue May 31, 2016 11:08 pm

Very nice Jo.. I will build mine and see how it goes. You are very talented. Do you have any country hams you keep in there all year? I would definitely would not be interested in a 75000 smoker lol
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:04 pm

They wouldn't sell it for that anyway. I think they were wanting 100 or so. Company that manufactured it bought it back. It was nice though and would do everything but slice the meat for you.

I have a few hams hanging around across the country. One is down the road in a barn. Its been there since 2010 and folks still whittle pieces off it why drinking whisky. Furthest west is in Colorado. Don't know its fate though but its a youngster. Only 3-4 years old.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:42 pm

I love old country hams the smell and flavor you get when ones hunt in a barn or smoke house for years. I like that when you cut them they are just as red and nice as ever.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:29 pm

The problem I have with the six year old ham is you just about need a chainsaw to cut into it. That's why people only whittle at it.

To me, this is a pretty sight. I get my pigs for free now because I have a similar arrangement as you do only I don't supply the feed but do the processing on halves and the grower helps with the slaughter.

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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 3:14 pm

Jo that is more than a pretty sight ... That's an awesome sight. Jo I also appreciate you for the knowledge of how to break down a pig its easy once you do a few. Now do you salt cure your bacon outside salted down or put in a fridge ?
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:01 pm

skyhightree1 wrote:Now do you salt cure your bacon outside salted down or put in a fridge ?


It can be done outside or inside but whatever you have to have cool conditions during the initial curing phase which is why your grandparents always did it in the fall or winter months. For a ham or bacon, the first few weeks or days in the case of bacon its critical that you have low temps but once the meat cures and enough water is removed then the temperature isn't really important. The thing you need be mindful of in the beginning is Staph aureus because its very resistant to a lot of things and can grow really fast in temps over 60F so you need to get your stuff cured and sufficiently dried before the warm temps come. Then it doesn't matter that much because the meat will essentially be microbially sterile. In fact, many people will hang their cured hams in attics to age and they view a hot summer as a good thing as it will bring out a unique nuttiness to the ham. But there are all sorts of ways to do it. Main thing is to knock all the bad bugs out first then you got it licked. It all just takes time, planning and patience.
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Re: Smoke House

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:08 pm

Here is an old ham which turned out really good. I think this one was 3 years old when I cut into it.

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I hung this one in my attic for two years. This one was extremely nutty tasting.

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Re: Smoke House

Postby skyhightree1 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:00 am

Jogeephus wrote:Here is an old ham which turned out really good. I think this one was 3 years old when I cut into it.

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I hung this one in my attic for two years. This one was extremely nutty tasting.

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Very nice now Jo all that I have read and seen they never cured the hams with the trotters and hocks is there a reason you cured that one with those on it ? I am not questioning how you do things in a negative way im trying to learn and have the best practices.
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