This is an
from a great homesteading book on home butchering of every description.
It is called "The
Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing and Sausage Making" by
Philip Hasheider, published by Voyageur Press.
have a book
review of this book
, and it comes highly recommended for
those of you
homesteading and wanting information on home butchering
Below is an
excerpt from the book on smokehouses
building a homemade smoker
equipment you need for home smoking
A smokehouse is a simple
version of a heat processing unit used by today's meat industry. The
size may be vastly different, but the principles are the same: it is an
enclosed area where the temperature and smoke level may be controlled
with acceptable accuracy. If you decide to build a smokehouse, it does
not need to be an elaborate structure to do an effective job. However,
it must be adequately built and have the ability to be monitored so
that the meat is properly cooked to minimize health risks.
purpose of a smokehouse is to enclose heat and smoke, and reduce, but
not entirely eliminate, airflow. Depending on how much smoking you want
to accomplish, you may construct your own smokehouse or purchase a
commercial unit. Because smokehouses are generally located outdoors,
you should check if any local ordinances or fire codes apply before you
begin construction of any new structures.
Many types of
smokehouses can be used successfully to smoke meats, fowl and fish.
Smokehouses can include simple equipment as a charcoal grill for very
small amounts of meat, metal barrels, water and electric smokers, and
in more extensive units, those of frame or concrete construction.
more elaborate structures will cost more to build. By
understanding your end goals, you can make a reasonable assessment of
which type will work best for you. Depending on where you live, you may
be able to get your smoke done with a local meat shop that smokes its
products. The paragraphs below detail the different types of
smokehouses to consider.
of the least expensive methods to smoke small amounts of meats and
sausages is on your covered charcoal grill. This will require an oven
thermometer to monitor the temperature. You can fill the bottom of your
grill with briquettes and burn them until gray ash appears.
the coals onto two sides of the grill and place a pan of water between
them. Place the grate over the top and place your sausages above the
water. As the sausages heat and cook, the fat will drip into the heated
water and create steam that will help destroy harmful bacteria.
the vents open on the cover. For hot smoking, you will need to maintain
an air temperature between 225 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the
Water and Electrical Smokers:
vertical water smoker is built with a bottom fire pan that holds
charcoal briquettes and generally has two cooking racks near the top.
The water pan positioned above the coals supplies moisture and helps
regulate that internal temperature. An electrical smoker is similarly
constructed, except the smoke is controlled by pre-moistened wood chips
rather than charcoal. This will provide a more constant temperature and
may require less attention during smoking.
The sizes of electric
smokers vary with some accommodating up to 40 pounds of sausages at one
A clean, non-contaminated 50-gallon metal barrel, with both ends
removed, can be used as a smoker for small quantities of meat, fowl,
and fish. Set the open-ended barrel on the upper end of a
sloping, covered trench or 10-to12-foot stovepipe.
Dig a pit at the
lower end for the fire. Smoke rises naturally, so having the fire lower
than the barrel will aid its movement towards the meats. Mound the dirt
around the edges of the barrel and the fire pit to eliminate the leaks.
You can control the heat by covering it with a piece of sheet metal.
Use metal or wood tubes
racks from which to suspend
your sausages in
the barrel. At the beginning of the smoking, you want a rapid flow of
air past the meat to drive off excessive moisture.
Less rapid air
movement near the end of the smoking period prevents excessive
of meat. Use moist wood chips, sawdust, or charcoal for starting your
You want a lot of smoke but very little flame. Once your fire is
going, you can add green sawdust or green hardwood to cool the fire and
make more smoke. Never
use gasoline or other
accelerants to start your fire
. Besides their explosive
potential, which can cause serious injury, the fumes and residues will
contaminate your sausage.
Metal strips can be attached to the cover, to help hold it in place,
trapping the smoke near the meat. You can monitor the inside
temperature by suspending a thermometer from one of the metal racks.
or Concrete Smokehouse:
You can build a smokehouse out of
concrete blocks. While these are more elaborate structures, they will
accommodate larger quantities of meats at one time and will last for
They have the advantage of making temperature control
easier and reducing fire hazards.
Their tight construction and
well-fitted ventilators can control air flow past the meat. A
larger-size building will provide space for several tiers of racks.
This will let you adjust the hangers to the size of the pieces of meat
being smoked. Meats can be crowded into a smokehouse, but the only rule
is that no piece of meat be able to touch another or the wall.
Any building you construct should have four features: a source of
smoke, a place to hold the smoke, a method to hold the meat in the
smoke, and a draft regulator near the top of bottom.
A smokehouse is a
very slow oven in which the temperature does not exceed 200 degrees
Fahrenheit. Even though you will use and maintain low temperatures,
build your smoke house in a safe location from other buildings,
particularly your home and away from all combustible materials. Check
with local ordinances and fire codes, before you begin any
of your smokehouse can be calculated based on the amounts and
weights of meat used. These requirements vary with the weight of the
cuts. To estimate the capacity of your smokehouse, use an accepted
measure of 12 inches in width, front and back, and 2 feet in height for
each row. Construction plans for smokehouses are generally available
from university extension offices or commercial supply companies.
While smokehouses are excellent for processing meats, they do not make
a good storage area for smoke-finished meats. After your smoking
processing is complete, flies will eventually get in either on a piece
of meat or when the door is open. Smokehouses can be used for storage,
however, if each piece of meat is properly wrapped, bagged, and hung
separately, provided everything is fly and insect proof.
certain considerations. If you are smoking pork and want to eat it
without further cooking, you smoke it to an internal temperature of 137
degrees Fahrenheit to make sure that you kill any trichinae, which are
the cause of trichinosis. You can used a meat thermometer to check the
temperature. The meat in the smokehouse is approximately 10 to 15
degrees less than the smokehouse air temperature. Raise the smokehouse
temperature to 155 degrees, just to be safe.
A Dutch oven is a traditional piece of cooking equipment used outdoors.
It has a long history of use, and its easy application make it a
favorite of many outdoor hunters. One advantage is that it can deliver
a low, moist heat over long periods of time to allow the meat to mellow
and develop its own unique taste. Low heat and slow cooking tenderize
the meat because juices within the cell walls are slowly released
during the heating process. Fast cooking purges these juices too
A second advantage of using a Dutch oven is its versatility. Bread,
roasts, and stews call all be cooked in it, making it an excellent camp
utensil. Dutch ovens are easy to use and remove much of the uncertainty
of cooking small game. Cooking in them does not require you to pay as
close attention as in a regular home oven. Many models are available,
and you should investigate which one may best suit your purposes.
become enthused or enchanted by your smoking
ability and like
the flavors you create. However, do not replace your normal cooking
procedures and dietary needs with this practice. Eating too much smoked
meat can be a cause of some health concerns. The problems generally are
found in the smoke, which contains coal tars that are considered
carcinogenic. You may want to use your smoked meats as
special treats rather than for daily meals.
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