New smokehouse need help

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Original poster
Nov 13, 2021
I built a smokehouse last year. Spruce tongue and grove outside 2x2 frame 1 1/2” insulation and spruce plywood on the inside. I welded a firebox and lined it with fire bricks and have a three foot pipe going to the bottom of the smokehouse to hot smoke. I have done quite a bit of smoking in it and always get an off taste in the meat. Kind of like feeezer burn taste. I thought it may be because I was using charcoal chunks for heat and a bit of wood chunks for smoke so I went to using strictly hardwood for heat and smoke. Not sure where I am going wrong but it’s driving me nuts. Any help would be appreciated DBC39690-DAE0-4118-918A-7A56B75E6E9D.jpeg
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Reactions: JLeonard
Umm.. you're not going to like the answer but spruce is NOT meant for smoking foods/meats.

A Google search will confirm my statement.
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Reactions: mike243
The wood lining is not the problem. Mine is built from plywood made from dougfir. Trust me, the wood as spruce isn’t the problem.

What temperature are you running and from what wood source in the fire box?
I am usually smoking from 150 to 180 and use cherry apple maple or hickory
Just looking at that one picture, it looks like the smoke is real heavy. Not sure how seasoned your firewood is or how you manage fire but I think we can make some improvements there. Can you post a picture of the exhaust vent(s) in the smokehouse?
I have a 6” vent and keep it wide open. For the fire I get a good bed of coals and add a couple of pieces here and there to keep the heat up. There is no billowing clouds of smoke. It’s a light smoke and wood is well seasoned. I started out using charcoal and adding a couple chunks of wood for smoke but didn’t let the charcoal get a good burn going before adding the meat so it got soot on it I ended up having to throw some meat out after being in the freezer for a few months because the off flavour got stronger the longer it sat. That’s what got me thinking the charcoal was the problem


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you say your vent pipe runs to the bottom of the smoker? Wouldn't that hold too much smoke so that it would have to build up (or down) to be able to exit the pipe?
There isn’t much that will mask freezer burn taste. It’s best to trim all of it off before cooking or grinding it. Nothing ruins sausage like freezer burned meat.
As to the fire, what you are doing sounds right. You should try to keep a clean burning fire at all times. When you add splits or chunks to the coals, leave the door open until they catch and start burning then close it up and make sure the fire stays lit and burning clean. Fire size is key to smoker temp. Better to have a smaller hotter fire than a bigger cooler fire to maintain temps. I thought about building a firebox for mine when I first built it, but I opted for a propane burner with a CI pan on top as a heat defuser and is also where I place wood chunks to make smoke. This lets me control the smoke level and duration. I’ve never had any bad smoke taste from this set up. Your setup is more like an offset smoker, where fire management is absolutely key to the taste of final product.
The pipe off the firebox enters the smokehouse on the bottom. The vent pipe is just through the top
I didn’t read your message. Just looked at the pictures. That’s stuff looks amazing. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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