Smoking meat and fish is a time honoured method of flavouring. If a large quantity of meat must be flavoured, a smokehouse is usually built. You can build one out of common materials, which are obtained at most building supply stores. Since all the materials are recyclable, you may even find used materials at a reasonable cost. Because fire is involved, its best to use only non-flammable materials. While some smokehouses are made of wood, fire and wood do not mix -- or rather, they mix too well. Non-flammable materials are safer.
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Steel sheeting is an excellent material to make a smokehouse. The house can be completely built out of steel siding, along with the roof. Steel studs support the structure. A steel shed builder can assist you with the design and construction. Associate Professor Fred Leak of the University of Florida recommends using a 55-gallon steel drum to make a small smoker, and freely distributes his design (see Resources). Professor Leak cautions that smoked meats are flavoured, but not cooked. Do not presume full cooking when smoking.
Brick is another useful material to make a smokehouse. Since brick retains heat, the interior will evenly distribute the heat. Laying brick is a labour-intensive process, so you must be physically fit to do hard labour. A variety of designs exist (see Resources). An experienced bricklayer or builder can assist you with the final building. The roof and door of most brick smokehouses are usually made out of steel sheeting.
Breeze block is very similar to brick, and the walls are built in a similar manner. Breeze block comes in a variety of sizes. Like brick, laying block is a very labour-intensive process. If you are not physically fit, contract a crew to lay the walls for you. Like most brick smokehouses, the roof and door is usually made out of steel.
The floor of a permanent smokehouse is usually a poured concrete slab. Poured concrete can be used to make the walls, too. Forms are made with a gap, usually out of exterior-grade plywood. Concrete is poured inside the gap. When the concrete hardens, the forms are removed, leaving a wall. Concrete walls are more expensive to build than those using other building materials, since the time, materials and labour factors are greater. Corner bracing, or corner internal rebar, assures the walls will not topple. Since pouring concrete has to be done quickly, an experienced crew is usually required.
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