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Converting an old stone meat locker to a smokehouse

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Joined Dec 5, 2020
I have an old 7'x8' meat locker built as a cement box clad in field stone with a 6" flat concrete roof, and I'm converting it to a smokehouse. I'll be building a firebox about 6' away connected to the smokehouse with a 6" clay sewer pipe for cold smoking, and also a heat source will be added using an old wood stove for hot smoking (with the door face mounted facing out for wood loading). I wondered what I could use to line the old interior cement walls for food safety and heat retention?
 

mike243

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Welcome to the site, I would wash the inside really good then fire up stove and run the temp up for 3-4 hours and see what the smoke trail inside does, will moisture collect in certain spots need more exhaust pipe ect, Building racks and hanging hooks we needed at a lot of different levels, also make sure the floor can be washed out easily as it will turn rank quickly imo, If I had the $ I would buy a hot water pressure washer, they clean stuff perfectly, A pan could be used to collect grease from hitting the floor and would be my first defense to keep it clean. they host pictures here so its super easy to post, good luck on the build
 

pineywoods

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Sounds like a cool project take some pics for us if you get a chance would be interesting to see. Maybe you could use some concrete backer board on the walls
 

daveomak

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That concrete smoke house will be a cold sink.. condensing moisture from the fire and drip on anything you hang in it...
I had one... I had the fire inside the structure and preheated it for 12 hours before putting any meat in it....
They are a BIG PITA to use.....
 

dernektambura

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That concrete smoke house will be a cold sink.. condensing moisture from the fire and drip on anything you hang in it...
I had one... I had the fire inside the structure and preheated it for 12 hours before putting any meat in it....
They are a BIG PITA to use.....
You gotta love and respect every one of Dave answered help... strait down to the facts based on experience... 👍
 
2
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Joined Dec 5, 2020
That concrete smoke house will be a cold sink.. condensing moisture from the fire and drip on anything you hang in it...
I had one... I had the fire inside the structure and preheated it for 12 hours before putting any meat in it....
They are a BIG PITA to use.....
Dave - Understand about it being a PITA for sure - but we want an old-school experience where we spend the day messing with it (vs an automatic technology-controlled pellet smoker, etc.). We like the larger space as a bunch of us would dry cure our wild boar hams in advance and then have a smoking weekend. A couple questions for you:

- I'm assuming if we're cold smoking from a firebox that's 6' separated from the smokehouse the moisture issue goes away? I would install a battery operated fan to ensure circulation and there's a channel of natural spring water running through the meat locker we c auld uncover after smoking to let it hang.

- If we decided to add a heat source (like a wood stove) I'm guessing you're right that it would take a day to heat up which is OK . But do you have any ideas about how to void the moisture issue you raised ? Is that only likely to be a problem if there's an open fire in the smokehouse, or would that happen if even we used a wood stove to heat the building to 185-225?

My thought was we would heat the stone building however long it took, and then it would hold the heat for the 8 hour or so duration of the hot smoking process on the hams.
 

daveomak

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My smokehouse I built was 4 x 4 X 10' with a poured in place concrete roof... I used more wood getting it up to temperature than I used smoking meats for days....
Go for it.... Given more than a truck load of wood for preheating, it should work fine....
Wood in general for smoking has about 25% moisture... If you use 50#'s of wood to smoke with, That's about 1.5 gallons of water... You will also be condensing ambient air water, humidity, until the concrete is above ambient...
I'm sure you can calculate the thermal mass of concrete and the BTU's it will take to elevate the temperature to a given number, not taking into account the heat loss to the outside temperature...
You will also need to get the meat temperature above ambient or it will condense water on it also....
FWIW, I will NEVER smoke meat in a concrete structure again.... If I had a choice between concrete and cardboard, cardboard wins hands down..,.
 

dernektambura

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You could turn your concrete storage room in to "sala di cura" and cold smoke (up to 50F) all kind of meat... cheese... salami... prochiutto... lonzanos... cappacolas... costelanos... and after smoke done you can use it as a dedicated drying/curing/dehydrating chamber...
 

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