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Cold Smoking / Smokehouse - Temps?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am planning to build my smokehouse in the backyard this weekend finally. Once I get that project completed, I have some questions as to when it's safe to begin smoking...

I live in the Houston, TX area. Temps here are 75F at night, and 100F+ during the day right now.

I grind/stuff all my links with a cure included. Before, I've been doing my smokes only during the "winter" season around here in my father-in-law's smokehouse when outside temps are in the 40s-50s.

According to him, you can't smoke when the weather is like it is now. He may be correct, but I think surely the smoke houses that sell commercial are operating year round, and their building inside temps can't be much lower than our night time temps...

He said the highest he's ever read on the temp indicator in his smokehouse is 88F during a smoke.

We basically cold smoke for flavor, then vacuum seal and freeze. Links are later cooked to temp on a grill or in a smoker while the ribs or briskets are cooking. Or even in a pan on the stove... So links will be fully cooked later.

My questions is basically, can I smoke at night when outside temps are in the 70s?

post #2 of 9
Kron, it can be done.
If you are planning on cold smoking (under 74 degrees F) you might be able to place ice inside of your smokehouse to bring the temperature down where you need it.
If you are warm smoking ... 74 to 104 degrees, you will have no problem at all.
Same with hot smoking... 104 degrees on up....

I smoked some things not long ago when the outside air temperature was 108 degrees. My smokehouse only rose to 110...which worked out fine for what I was smoking.

Here is a good link for cold, warm and hot smoking.....


I'd love to see your smokehouse when you get it finished.

edited to add.... I usually cold smoke from 65 to 75 degrees.
post #3 of 9
I would like to see the build too. Good luck with the project!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies and the link. After reading more on the various smoking methods, what we have really been doing is more of a warm smoking technique at sometimes lower temps.

We have been doing a steady, medium smoke for 4-6 hours, and then letting it tail off for a few more hours. Average has been 8-12 hour smokes for 25-50# batches of link sausage.

So now I feel very confident that I can safely smoke with a cured product with no worries. Will still likely do the batches at night on weekends, but will see how it goes.

Will try to get pics posted once I'm done. This one won't be anything fancy. Just ripping some salvaged 2x12s down to 2x4 size for framing, and then using some salvaged plywood from crates I scavenged at the office. All in all, the only things I will have to pay for are the screws and the hinges. Oh and the rods for hanging the meat...

So likely won't be pretty, just aiming for highly functional. :)

post #5 of 9
If you are going to build a new smokehouse why not think outside the box and build it so you can install a cheap 110 air conditioner to keep the inside temps down when cold smoking...

This way you should be able to reduce the temp inside the smokehouse greatly, considering a normal room size unit should cool at least a 12x12 room into the 60s with no problems...
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sounds like an excellent idea. I can pick up a small 5000btu unit for around $90 here. Or just borrow one of the two my father in law keeps on hand for our camping trips. Nothing like having a tent kept in the 60s when it's 90-100 outside :)

Due to current space limitations, and preferred location, I am thinking about a small smokehouse around 3'x3'x6'H.

Where would you guys think a small AC would mount best on something like that? Not sure if lower by the fire would be good for more air flow over the wood, or higher to flow on the meat, or in the middle?

I have an area in the back yard picked out for a second smokehouse if I decide I want something slightly larger, or with more improvements/options on the next go round... So the AC would benefit that one too.


post #7 of 9
I thought since you were wanting to keep the heat down that your fire box would be separate from your smokehouse and the smoke would be brought in via a vent hose/duct. Is that not how you're going to do it?
post #8 of 9
Remember, Heat rises and cold falls, I would mount it high to take advantage of that... PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hadn't planned on making a separate fire box. May need to, not sure.

Was mainly asking initially if the outdoor ambient and internal house temps were even an issue. Looks like they aren't much of an issue since I have the cure in the grind.

Not necessarily looking to do a "cold smoke" like described in the link someone posted previously. Just want to safely get a nice solid smoke on my links, while not making anyone (including me) sick. :)

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