This whole farm thing, along with getting a little older probably, has made me want to start doing things more traditionally and for myself. Buying a Virginia ham, some smoked trout or some smoke duck is great, and they probably do it better than I do, but the idea of taking a raw piece of pork (I know from where it came), a fish I caught or a wood duck a friend shot and turning it into a value-added finished product myself is intriguing. Not to mention smoked trout is $28/lb and I think I can save a few bucks and enjoy doing it.
To this end, over Christmas I built a smokehouse. Its a cold smoke design I’d seen in some homesteading and meat preservation books and is a pretty old design. Basically its a fire pit with an 8 foot trench containing a pipe that pops up into a 4’x4′ outhouse-looking little building. It may not be built quite the way the pioneers did it, but I was starting with a fair amount of scrap wood so I started the way I started. Its double walled and has a slightly sloped, shingled roof. Insides corners are “sealed” with that aluminum foil tape. The trench flue is connected to the pit with a dryer exhaust kit which is pretty handy. It could probably draw a little better but as you can see plenty of smoke still gets to the house. The pit is pretty well insulated so the fire burns a good long time.
The point of a smokehouse like this is preservation and flavor not, necessarily, cooking meats. During the cold months you preserve and then smoke a portion of your meats to make it through the Summer and warmer months without, or with substandard, refrigeration. We’ll see how it goes. I also figure I can do some hot smoking by putting a small fire pit inside the house.