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My wooden smokehouse - Maine

ColtWKnight

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Hello all,
I am relatively new to this forum, but just a quick intro. My name is Colt, and I am the state livestock specialist for the University of Maine. I teach, work with farmers, and conduct applied livestock research. Part of my educational outreach is trying to connect livestock producers with their local consumers by educating them on new and exciting ways to prepare their products. I have hosted workshops all over the state teaching folks how to smoke pasture raised chickens, properly preparing lamb( one of favorites is smoked leg of lamb), meat cutting schools and I have even started offering BBQ 101 classes to introduce the Yankees up here to southern style BBQ.

We have a tremendous amount of homesteaders and DIY type farmers here in Maine, and so I wanted to start sharing information on food preservation. To do so, I built a smoke house to start hosting educational seminars and producing some literature to hand out.

I grew up in West Virginia, and spent a lot of time in Kentucky when I was working on my undergraduate degree. When I was kid, every farm still had remnants of smoke houses and hog sheds, but most folks had gone away from the old ways. However, I always wanted my own, so here I am now, building one scaled down for my needs. Deep in the heart of Appalachia, smoke houses served as both root cellars, curing house, and smokers. I wish I had the skills to build a big sand stone block smoke house into the side of mountain like back home, so I am settling for a small wooden one instead.

Step one - select a good place out of the wind and water to pour a nice concrete pad.
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Step two was to build the foundation and firebox. The blocks are filled with sandy gravel.

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I am no stone mason, but I was happy with the results

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The masonry took forever to dry in the cold damp Maine climate, but the wood frame came along quickly.

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The University of Maine Forestry Dept. donated the lumber (white pine) for the sheathing and batoning. My buddy said the back looks like a sad cartoon character of a chinese guy.

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Braz

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That is a fine looking smokehouse.
 

HalfSmoked

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Welcome to the forum lot of great guys and gals on here with tons of info.
Nice work on the smoke house saving the old ways is great so many things are now a lost.

Warren
 

creek bottom

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That's awesome! I've been wanting to build one of these for a while. Yours looks exactly like what I've been envisioning... Thanks for sharing and welcome to the sight. BTW, my son's name is Colt. Not real common...
 

Mastercaster

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That’s going to be sweet. Can’t wait to see the fruits of your labor.
 

ColtWKnight

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Thanks everyone.

The forum crashed earlier, so I am going to try to upload from my phone.

I added a double wall using pine 15/32 pine ply on the inside, and lined the whole house with aluminum flashing.

Grant is a senior in our Animal and Vet Science program. He chose me as his senior project advisor for a value added meat project, so he helped construct the smoke house. He will also be learning to make bacon and sausage. His pre vet buddies are going to do a fun project where they are going to taste test the home smokehouse bacon and our commercial smoker bacon.
 

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ColtWKnight

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Once the lining was complete. I got the roof, baton strips, and door hardware all in place. I added to temp gauges to satisfy my curiosity while doing long smokes. I know they aren't accurate like my digital ones. But they work great once calibrated.

The exhaust vent is a cast iron floor register. I did not want to install a chimney/flue because the high winds around here. This keeps the smoker really sealed up in adverse weather.

I added 4 rows of racks, and used rebar for hanging rails. The rebar can also support mesh racks, but air prefer to hang whenever possible. Makes loading and unloading much easier.

Then, we had to run some test bacon through.
 

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ColtWKnight

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Joined Oct 14, 2019
I use the firebox for cold smoking. I throw in a few chimneys of lump charcoal, and toss on some wood for flavor and smoke. 1 chimney will smoke about 2 hours if you need real low smoke. It stays 100 or less if you pile up charcoal and wood.

I made the center block base that size so a turkey fryer will sit at the base to utilize the smoke house as a bbq smoker. I set a lodge cast iron skillet on the burner, and add chunks of wood. Right now, I'm running the house through the fire box, but I plan to drill a hole amount a pipe through the blocks. That way it can stay in place.

One cool thing is that the smoke coats the rebar, and prevents it's from rusting, almost like seasoning cast iron.
 

texomakid

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Very nice smokehouse Colt. I worked in a mom & pop meat packing plant part time back in the early 80's and they had a smoke room that was built very similar to your concept. We could roll 3 racks into it and could smoke as many as 50 or more hams at one time. They smoked Turkeys & bacon as well. I so want to build a small smoke shack similar to yours some day - maybe when I retire in a few years. There are several folks here with a lot of experience in this. So I'm watching and learning.
Welcome to the forum.
 

smokerjim

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looks nice, and welcome to smf as you are probably finding out a lot of great people here
 

dernektambura

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Sir, my hat of to ya.... you should get a lot more "likes" than you did.... cuz your work is state of the art...!
 

HalfSmoked

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ColtWKnight I have a question for you in the heavy Maine snows will this thing flip over or have you away to counterbalance it? Looks one sided heavy with the over hang.

Warren
 

ColtWKnight

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ColtWKnight I have a question for you in the heavy Maine snows will this thing flip over or have you away to counterbalance it? Looks one sided heavy with the over hang.

Warren
I doubt itll blow over. It's been through 1 noreaster with 60+ mph winds and didnt move. Plus it's got 8 1/2" concrete bolts holding it to the foundation.
 

HalfSmoked

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Glad to hear your construction tactics are top notch. Would hate to see you lose that great work of art. We get them dang nor easterners too.

Warren
 

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