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Old fashioned cold smokehouse

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by arkashby, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. arkashby

    arkashby Fire Starter

    My wife and I have been looking into non electric or gas options for food preservation. So I'm looking for plans to make a smokehouse without the use of a electric or gas burner. Can I get some ideas please?
  2. Old fashioned smokehouses here in Appalachia are usually just little log or sawn board shacks with a dirt floor. Usually a small camp fire is built right on the floor. The weather has to be cold though. A good upgrade is an external firepit, because it stays colder and doesn't choke you to death every time you tend the fire. You can buy hardwood shed siding from a sawmill, don't use pine and definitely not anything treated. Meat will soak up nasty pine flavor or chemicals. 4' x 4' by 6' high, plus a peaked roof, is plenty big for infrequent use and high enough to hang meat or racks from the rafters. Because the smoke preserves the wood, it will last practically forever.
  3. arkashby

    arkashby Fire Starter

    I was leaning toward the external fire box as this will be for cold smoke only. I was looking at oak or white cedar. I agree with the 4x4x6, big enough for a couple of hams.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  4. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How about a used, Holding Cabinet or Transport Cabinet?

    You may also find a used Proofing Cabinet for cheap

    Aluminum or Stainless Steel

    Set up for racks/shelving

    Easily moved around

    I've purchased them from $85 to $325, depending on if they were in working condition

  5. If you take a look at a real smokehouse on an old farm, it's surprising how little there is to them! They just have few nails for hanging and a good latch to keep the bears out. I don't have any experience with cedar, it doesn't grow here. Oak is hard to beat though.
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    A less expensive alternative to cedar would be fir. Even white pine wouldn't be bad. Keep the interior simple that way you can adjust to what you are smoking/curing or aging.
  7. I used a shed made of OSB for a while, and I think I could taste it in the ham. I don't know from personal experience that a pine smokehouse will flavor the meat but I've heard it a lot. I built my new smokehouse out of maple logs because I had a lot of them blown down by Sandy and I'm extremely cheap.
  8. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Hey all..........I have some kiln dried pine shelving I was going to use to build a smoke house similar to Cowgirls build. Does anyone see a problem with that wood?


  9. Folk wisdom is that it will flavor the meat (although it might taste like gin, not all bad). I would like to hear from someone who has actual experience with it.
  10. If you look on youtube under cold smoke house find a post by "atcnick". It has an awesome smoke house. I plan on building one like his only with some minor changes. He used oak board and baten with an outside fire box. I am going to build it from 26 inches deep (frost line) to about 24 inches above ground. That should allow me enough space to hot smoke in it. [​IMG]
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    His build is documented here too.

  12. arkashby

    arkashby Fire Starter

    I'd love to do that build but I'm renting and need something a little more mobile.
  13. IMHO, a cold smoker should be designed much the same as the old smoke chimneys of Europe - but on a smaller scale, of course - where the structure is relatively tall and narrow and the smoke continually passes over the food and exits so the smoke doesn't get hung-up inside the smoker and go stale.
    Smoke distribution is also more even.
    I wouldn't bother with an external firebox, the A-Maze-N tube smoke generators work well.
    You can get a lot of meat in a smokehouse that's 24" x 24" or 30" x 30" and 6.5 feet tall.

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  14. arkashby

    arkashby Fire Starter

    The Idea is to not be dependent on a smoke source that is gas or electric. I want rustic.
  15. Well, The A-Maze-N isn't exactly rustic, but it sure doesn't require gas or electric......simply light the pellets.
    My family used a firebox for generations and I did as well for many years, but I'll never go back to that....the A-Maze-N is MUCH more sensible and dependable.

  16. arkashby

    arkashby Fire Starter

    Sorry Martin, didn't realy look at the link before I spoke. I wonder if I can make pellets or use sawdust in the tube?
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013