Smokehouses are the large-scale version of the portable smokers used to process meat by smoking. Smoking has been used to add flavour and preserve meat for centuries. The process is simple---smoke from select woods is allowed to circulate around the meat, adding flavour while keeping the meat moist. Portable smokers work well on small quantities of meat, but a smokehouse allows the smoking of large quantities of meat at one time. Do-it-yourselfers with moderate tools and skills can build their own smokehouse.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- 2-inch by 4-inch lumber
- Wood-burning stove
- 16d nails
Pour a concrete floor for the smokehouse. Include anchor bolts around the perimeter of the slab to fasten the smokehouse walls to the slab. Optionally include a small slab in front of the planned door of the smokehouse to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the smokehouse.
Build wall frameworks out of 2-inch by 4-inch lumber, placed so the centre of each board is located 16 inches from the centre of the adjacent board. Use 2-inch by 4-inch lumber at the floor and top of the wall. Frame an opening for the door. Fasten the studwork frames to the floor with the anchor bolts and nail the corners together with 16d common nails.
Place 2-inch by 4-inch rafters over the top of the walls and nail them to the 2-inch by 4-inch top pieces of the walls.
Nail plywood sheathing to the inside of the stud framework. This provides smooth surfaces on the interior for easier cleaning.
Paint the interior and exterior of the smokehouse with washable enamel paint.
Add a fire box to the exterior of the smokehouse. Any form of enclosed wood-burning stove can be used, including one built from a small metal barrel modified with a wood-burning stove kit.
Extend the stovepipe from the stove to the wall of the smokehouse. Cut a hole in the wall to accommodate the stovepipe and fasten the pipe in place with a stovepipe wall fitting.
Drill two vent holes (usually 2 inches in diameter) near the top of each wall.
Tips and warnings
- Optionally, line the smokehouse with fiberboard. This material is a fibreglass-covered plywood. Mount it with the glass side toward the interior for easier cleaning. Covering the floor and walls during use also eases cleaning.
- The smoking process requires some heat to slowly cook the meat as it is exposed to smoke. Insulate the smokehouse or add extra heat sources to increase the temperature in the smokehouse.
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