Smokehouse Questions

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by mkriet, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    I've been smoking a couple years now and really enjoy it. I recently got a sausage stuffer, and my smoker doesn't have enough room to hang sausage. I'm thinking of building a smokehouse and have a few questions. 1. I've seen ppl say they are more for cold smoking. Can I still cook things like ribs, pork butts, and other things that cook at warmer temps? 2. What temps are considered cold smoking?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    What all you can cook in your smokehouse will be dtermined by the temps you can run.

    If you build a smokehouse that has the fire (smoke generation) a long way from the smoke chamber, and can only have a small fire (heat source), then you'll pretty much be cold smoking.

    If you have the fire (smoke generation) close to the smoke chamber, and the fire (heat source) can be made to produce a higher temperature, then yes, you can use it for hot smoking (200-275).

    This will also depend on what type of materials you use for the building of the smokehouse and what you use for heat.

    I have a smokehouse made from cedar wood, but lined with aluminum diamond plate, and I can cold smoke with an A-MAZE-N smoker and never get over 45 degrees inside (when it's below that temp outside).  I can also turn on the electric heating element and run temps at 300 degrees and still use the A-MAZE-N for smoke.

    Temps:  (My opinion and experience)

    Cold smoking - above freezing - 80 degrees 

    Warm smoking - 80+ - 150 degrees

    Hot smoking - 150+ - 275 degrees
  3. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    I appreciate the feedback. I would like to be as versatile as possible. I've been seeing a lot about the AMNS smoke generator. Does it put off much heat?

    What does the aluminum lining do for temp control?

    Also, do you have any recommendations on thermometers?
  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The A-MAZE-N trays and tubes will generate some heat, but not enough in most instances to be of concern.  The pellets are smoldering and not flaming up.  They work wonderfully for cold smoke applications, depending on what size smoke chamber you have.  My cedar one is 24"x24"x48" and with the A-MAZE-N tray in the bottom, I only get about a 10 degree temp rise.  In my large vertical smoker, which is also insulated and 6 feet tall, I barely get any temp rise.

    The aluminum lining on mine was installed for 2 reasons.  I needed something to put over the insulation I placed on the walls, and I had the aluminum handy at the time.  It holds a bit of the heat so when I open the door it doesn't take as long to recover, but it doesn't help a lot.  I insulated my smokehouse only because I wanted to, and I did it well after the thing had been used to cold and hot smoke.

    Thermometers are very important to your success.  Quality is the main thing you're after.  For cabinet therms, I recommend Tel-True, for remote type probes, Maverick is the way to go, for instant read handheld probe types, some will say Thermapen and others will have other ideas.  I personally use the Extech instant read and it works very well for me.
  5. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    This may sound like a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyways.  I live in Ohio, so we have cold winters, but still hot summers.  I'm assuming it's not possible to do cold smoke during the summer months.  Is that accurate?  Also, what are the main foods that are used in cold smoking?  Are certain foods not safe for being smoked this way?
  6. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cold smoking can be done in any exterior temperature, but you have to keep the temperature inside of the smoke chamber cold.  Some have done it with ice, and a few have done it with refrigeration.  Best thing to do is to plan to cold smoke in the fall/winter/early spring.  [​IMG]

    What can be cold smoked:

    Salt (most any temp)

    Butter (less than 45)

    Cheese(less than 72)

    Nuts(most any temp)

    Meats that have been cured (most start cold then ramp up) (meats need to stay at or below 40 degrees, or get above 140 degrees, internal, within 4 hours)

    Fish that has been prepped for cold smoking (salmon is a good example)

    Some alcohols favor a cold smoke (vodka and whiskey, temp below 75)
  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    To help Buzzard a bit.  Cold smoking in the summer months depends on the ambient temperature unless special equipment is used.  Think of cold smoking this way, "If it can be consumed, it can be smoked".  As for safety, treat your food as if you would treat it in a kitchen environment.

    The A-Maze-N products do not put out as much heat as some generators and are good for entry level and experienced smokers as well.  My AMNPS will raise the internal temperature of my 22 cf. beverage cooler cold smoker 30° no problem.

    If properly cured, meats like bacon can stay in the danger zone for a good period of time, the reason for curing.  If not , you wouldn't be able to smoke it for day's.

    As for smoking hot cooked foods, continue cooking them the way you have and use the cold smoker for cold smoking.

  8. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    If I'm building a smoker made of wood, do i need to worry about lining or insulating it so it doesn't catch fire? What I mean is if i plan on using it to hot smoke also. Im guessing if it is using an external fire box i should be safe, correct?
  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    If you want a dual purpose smoker.  Build a hot smoker and use it to cold smoke.  Don't build a cold smoker and use it to hot smoke.

  10. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    What do you mean by that? I don't have the tools or know how to make one of metal. That's why I thought a smokehouse would be doable. What makes it a hot smoker vs a cold smoker?
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    To put it simply.  From what you have planned, one will burn to the ground, the other won't. It is best to have two dedicated smokers and you can do this inexpensively without an abundance of tools. 

  12. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    So if I'm building a hot smoke house, do I need to line it with some kind of flame resistant material? You say one will burn to the ground. I don't envision building a for inside the smoke house, but rather in a fire box outside the smoke house. Would this give me the ability to hot smoke without it burning to the ground? And what Is your idea of inexpensive?
  13. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  14. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    There are so many variables here it's difficult to give you help without a set of plans describing what you want to do.  I was simply generalizing.   Pops smoker has a burner on the inside.  If I recall he added a MB mod later. What size are you planning on?  What is your plan for a fire box?  There are plenty of plans on the forum, maybe do some research.  Ideas for inexpensive, a UDS for a hot smoker and a cardboard box for a cold smoker.  ​


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