Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Shortly after we had moved into our house, Elmer and I were sitting down for dinner.  John had been working real hard helping other Amish that had moved into our area move into their houses and had come home, had a quick sandwich and had gone to bed for a nap.  I was to put a plate of dinner in the oven for him when he awoke.  Elmer and I had just finished grace and just started eating when our neighbor came to our house informing us our house was on fire and he had called the fire department.  Elmer and I ran outside.  Then Elmer remembered that John was inside and ran in to get him out.  John is hard to wake up, but somehow Elmer had done it and John came out of the building.  When I asked him where his father was, John told me he was inside trying to find the fire.  Finally Elmer came out and said he couldn't find any fire.  Finally the fire department arrived, went in the house and they couldn't find a fire either.  When the neighbor came back over, he showed us where he saw the fire.  What it was was the smoke from the smokehouse.  When he looked out his window, it looked like smoke on our house and he thought it was on fire.  He was so sorry, but at least we got to meet our neighbor and later to know them well.  Also Elmer talked with the Fire Chief and later joined the fire department so the fire run to our house wasn't a complete loss.

The picture above shows a smokehouse very similar to what Elmer built for me in our backyard.  Most meats must have been curing before it can be smoked.  There are two kinds of meat smoking: cold smoking and hot smoking.  I am going to tell about cold smoking as that is the one I and most people use.

As I said, Elmer built our smokehouse, but I understand that you can buy them already made in stores or mail-order outlet or even on the computer.  Your smokehouse should have a fire pit, smoke chamber and a smoke tunnel.  A fire pit is in the ground and lined with rocks.  The smoke chamber is the area in which the meat is smoked.  It must be large enough to hold the meat being processed.  The smoke tunnel connects the smoke pit and smoke chamber so the smoke surrounds the meat in the smoke chamber before the smoke goes out through the outlet in the top.  When you complete the smokehouse, you must make sure you have protected it so animals can not get in.

There are different kinds of material that can be used for fuel depending on your smokehouse or what you want to use.  We use wood in our smokehouse - hardwood like maple, birch, hickory, chestnut or ash.  Do not use softwood such as pine, spruce, hemlock, balsam, cedar and others as they give the meat a bad taste.

The smokehouse should be about 90 degrees at all times.  Also you must make sure that the meat is set in the chamber so that it is entirely exposed to the smoke to make sure the meat is preserved. No pieces of meat should touch other pieces of meat. Sometimes the degrees you are suppose to use may vary in the recipe you are using.  But I keep ours at 90 degrees.

The time to smoke the meats is different in many meats.  A recipe will tell you how long for what meats.  Over the years, I have gotten it memorized, but still it depends on the amount of meat and size, so I have to be careful,

This is just a little information on smoking meat so that you will know how the process goes.  If someone has a questions, please feel free to ask.

Marilyn said that someone asked about sausage, but she couldn't remember what it was and can't find it.  So if someone has a question, please ask and maybe I can do another post on that.  Yes, we do smoke some of our sausages.

Hope I didn't confuse you.

Trust God's Wisdom,
Anna (Elmer's wife)


Countryside Reflections said...

How interesting. I'm fascinated by all the ways food can be preserved, and I truly enjoy reading about how it's done. I'll probably never have a smoke house but I'm curious about how long you have to smoke the meat. Is it hours, days? As Anna said, it varies according to the recipe and the meat, but just an approximate amount of time.


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Doreen,

Smoking meats is interesting. I will ask Anna and let you know what she says about time.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Doreen,

I didn't think I would be able to get Anna so fast, but I did. She said that, depending on the size of the meats, it usually takes days. Like a large ham should be smoked for 10 days.


Melissa Mobley said...

Very interesting, Anna. Thanks for your post!