Building a Smokehouse

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When my husband, Kevin, told me he wanted to build a smokehouse, I was a bit apprehensive because I wasn’t sure I liked smoked meat enough to do large quantities for our family of two. Being a homesteader and a Googler, I looked up other things besides meat that we could smoke and found that the smoked flavor adds to almost any food.

So, we found (or more truthfully, stole) an instructional YouTube video that gave us the specifications for building it. The basic cedar house looked like an outhouse with a porch until we added the pizza oven to it. Neither of us had ever done masonry work before, but we designed a wooden igloo form and covered it in the fire brick, then added the exterior pavers, a door and chimney, and we were off to the races. It took longer than we anticipated due to rainy cold weather and our reluctance to make mistakes. Once we saw the finished project, we decided a pizza oven under the pergola was do-ble and soon we will attempt it.

The end result turned out quite nice, and our first attempt at smoking meat was a huge success. Since we raise chickens, we thought smoked poultry would be a good test, but we also added a corned beef brisket, some jalapeno peppers, and some sea salt to add to the first batch!

We brined one brisket for 16 days to make the corned beef prior to smoking it and just seasoned another brisket without brining. The chickens and turkeys were left whole with seasoned skins and smoked on a rack. I have to admit that my husband was a bit over zealous about this project since he started late in the evening, stayed up all night, and then removed the meat when it reached the correct cooking temperature as they were ready throughout the night. Although he rarely cooks these days, he did a fantastic job smoking the meats!

The key to not overcooking is maintaining a 200-degree temperature and lots of smoke over the meat until the exact cooking temperature is reached inside the different cuts of meat.