Late 1800's Smoke House

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by old school, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. old school

    old school Fire Starter

    My Grandfather purchased the property in 1943.  My Father was raised there and never seen the smoke house in use but recalls sausage hanging in the "summer kitchen".  He bought the farm in the 60's and about 8 years ago I purchased it from him.   It always had this smoke house.  It still has a faint smoke smell in it [​IMG]     I would love to use it.  I smoke meats with wood in my little smoker but this is a whole different deal for me.  I was hoping that I could get some people that use these or have knowledge of using them could help me. 

    I read that some used to have the fire outside lower then the smokehouse and would "run" the smoke into the smoke house.  I see a small pipe in the morter ( see pic ) but not sure if thats why it's there.  Also I have a "sink hole" pretty close to the smokehouse.  I was always told it was a sistren, but could that be for an outside fire pit ?

    The hole in the roof is closed so I would have to open that back up and I want to tighten the fitting of the front door-

    Thoughts???








    Any idea's why they had a small pipe under the door sill in the mortar?   
     
  2. Hard to tell without seeing it all firsthand.

    The little pipe looks like a piece of junk pipe that was used a reinforcement.

    Some of the old big smokehouses like that they built a small fire right inside on the ground.


    ~Martin
     
  3. Very nice...and a little jealous. My grandfather used to have a wooden smokehouse as well. As a kid I would go in there just to take in the smell. If you want more information, you might try searching for Foxfire books. My dad had a set and I think I remember reading about smokehouses, how to butcher pigs and other great stuff...like moonshining [​IMG]

     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OS, morning.....  That is one beautiful building... I would do whatever needed to be done to keep it safe.....  Looks like some reinforcing needs to be done over the door.....  Is the wall cracked on both sides of the door ????   Dave
     
  5. My grandparents had a wood smoke house and I remember they used a burned out 55 gal drum for the fire/wood. 
     
  6. old school

    old school Fire Starter

    Above the door it's cracked up on both sides.  I'm filling that in with mortor this week.  I do already have plans for the door and jam.  The rest is soild - 
     
  7. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Beautiful, I hope you can renovate and make it happen to where you can use it!  That would be quite a place.  Good luck
     
  8. old school

    old school Fire Starter

     There was a hole in the top but when it was re roofed they just covered it up.  I can cut a hole in the roof and make it right to protect from water, but what size?  Do I need to have anything to control the amount of smoke that goes out?

    I did talk to one guy that used saw dust and put it all around the wall.  Started it from one end and let it smolder all the way around.
     
  9. tennsmoker

    tennsmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Old School,

    you are one lucky dude to have that old smokehouse, exectly what I am wanting!!  The pipe  probably could be reinforcement, my thoughts also, could have been a vent!! 

    A smokehouse that big must have had the smoke source from inside with a 4 to 6in outgoing vent on the roof.

    Most all smokehouses that big have the vent on top,

    Some info that might help you is a pamplet only 32 pages here's the link:

    also here's another link very expensive build but will give you another reference, http://justtwofarmkids.com/2010/01/16/building-a-smokehouse/

    Hope this helps,

    Al
     

  10.  
  11. Hey! These books were a collection of articles from Foxfire magazine, which is still published today in my county. I love attending the "Foxfire Living History Days" where the Foxfire museum and "town" (an authentic area with old buildings from the old days of the Appalachian) has volunteers dress in period-correct clothing and do everything from metal-working, tanning of animal hides, and rope making to how they washed their laundry...all for the educational benefit of visitors. I've been asked to preach in their chapel several times for this event (in an awesome 1800s wormy chestnut church/school building). Thanks for the memories.

    Sorry for getting the thread off-topic.
     
  12. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I also have the Foxfire collection- sure has been some good reads. I believe they were started as a school project, interviewing back woods folk.As far as the smokehouse, with some research and the help your getting here,perhaps there's also other folk around the area that might have similar builds that you can check out? What a cool item you have to get up and going again.
     
  13. I also have the Foxfire collection, and all the accompanying books too. Love it!


    ~Martin
     
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would agree that the smoke source was probably inside as well with a house that big..... but you could probably convert it to an exterior pit fairly easily IF you can bore a 4 to 6" hole near the bottom of one of the walls? Then set up a fire pit/box outside and pipe it through the hole - I would imagine 4" is the smallest pipe you could get away with and still get adequate smoke supply - or you could have a small blower or draw fan?
     
  15. Awesome Smokehouse, Old School.

    Some of all y'all may know better than me on this one but I do believe that this kind of smokehouse was used for preservative smoking, not for ribs or pulled pork or brisket that take a higher temp.

    I say this because my old Uncle Gard had one very much like it. He would take me inside the smokehouse just so we could talk. He would tell me about his life and smoke his pipe.

    Being able to sit inside the house for a few hours is what makes me think it would qualify as a cold smoker today.

    The fire was a simply a small pile of charcoal and shavings in an old pot in the back. Geese, turkeys, hams and sausage were hanging from poles running fore and aft. Also there were bags of innerds, I think. Goose liver maybe? Hog nuts? Buckeyes? Doe brains? Shrunken heads?

    The smokehouse was knocked down to build a highway in 1960. Guard died the next day at the age of 110 years. ( I was only 10.)

    That's quite a testimony to the preservational and curitive powers of a smokehouse.

    Thank you for bringing back some old sweet memories.
     
  16. Cool Story Tom.  Thanks for sharing it.
     
  17. backwoods bbq

    backwoods bbq Meat Mopper

    all i can say is WOW. You are one fortunate guy old school. Protect that thing with your life! Awesome smokehouse, insulate well, careful when drilling out the old vent hole, like someone said before those were the type you lit a small fire in the corner to generate heat and smoke if insulated well you would be surprised how small of a fire you would need especially at cold smoking or jerky making. Wow. That is badass! If you did modify it you could put maybe a temp guage on the door, racks across the top reaching wall to wall for hanging and possibly...(just an idea) an external firebox with pipe leading in at the bottom so you can control the fire from outside to save your lungs! keep posting pics that is a real gem!
     
  18. sstoney

    sstoney Newbie

    Originally Posted by Tom Walker  


    I say this because my old Uncle Gard had one very much like it. He would take me inside the smokehouse just so we could talk. He would tell me about his life and smoke his pipe.

    Being able to sit inside the house for a few hours is what makes me think it would qualify as a cold smoker today.

    The fire was a simply a small pile of charcoal and shavings in an old pot in the back. Geese, turkeys, hams and sausage were hanging from poles running fore and aft. Also there were bags of innerds, I think. Goose liver maybe? Hog nuts? Buckeyes? Doe brains? Shrunken heads?

    The smokehouse was knocked down to build a highway in 1960. Guard died the next day at the age of 110 years. ( I was only 10.)

    That's quite a testimony to the preservational and curitive powers of a smokehouse.

    Thank you for bringing back some old sweet memories.

    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    I concur with that.....cold smoking for cure...my Great gramps and gramps used theirs the same way. trench down the center for hickory. Fall would see all the neighbors come together for butchering the hogs for country hams and such. We still have the Scalding kettle in the family for scraping hair off. I can't figure out exactly what 'Cure' he used (1910till late 50's about), but part of the process after brining was cold smoke while wrapped in gunny sacks.(burlap). Then it was off to the oats grainery to do a dry and cure buried in the oats, Way cool barn/grainery , but I digress..Gramps told me the oats relative humidity and temp was the same as was need to cure and store the hams...Must have worked as Every year Thanksgiving and Christmas nobody ever died!( from the hams at least)

    Anyone know the details better on the old smokehouse Historys, I was to young to get that info, but man did those oldtimers shape my life in such a great way, I can piss pepople off with the best of them ; ) !!!

    Redeye Gravey !!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  19. I have to bump this thread....simply awesome.
    I want to build one in my yard, with the sunken fire box and the underground smoke channel. In fact I am going try and build one before winter.
    Now, where to find the best circa 1800's drawings...?
     
  20. old school

    old school Fire Starter


    Thanks Everyone!

    First time my Dad ever saw smoke coming out of the Ol Smoke House.  I took care of the cracking mortor, etc etc.  Still need to put on a different door and cut the whole in the top.

    I do know someone that uses a smokehouse like this.  He still uses saw dust, but I don't have access to that.  I don't want to buy a chipper ;(.  I might have to use an outside source but rather not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013

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