Smoked turkey, chicken and ham offer a rich flavor that cannot be replicated in the oven or on the grill.
The depth of this flavor is the result of leaving the meat to cook for hours in an enclosed smokehouse. Renowned barbecue restaurants smoke their meats, and this is the flavor many come to associate with down-home, amazing barbecue.
While you can still order up your favorite barbecue platters via delivery or take-out, homeowners don’t have to hit up their favorite restaurants to enjoy the smoky barbecue goodness at home.
Here’s how to build a smokehouse and smoke all your favorite cuts of meat to serve up at your next backyard barbecue.
The Anatomy of a Smokehouse
To build your smokehouse, you’ll need to create a foundation and an enclosed house. One of the easiest DIY smokehouse tutorials is from the site Eco Snippets and provides all the details on how to create your own cedar smokehouse.
The site notes that you need tools like a trowel, power drill, a level, a handsaw and an electric drill in addition to the following materials:
- 2 x 4 Cedar Wood
- Black Stove Pipe
- Stove Door
- Concrete Blocks
- Clay Bricks
- Fire Bricks
- Fire Clay Mortar
- Door Hinges
- Door Knob
- Bolt Lock
- 2-1/2 inch Deck Screws
- Wood Screws
- 3 pieces 16 Gauge Steel Plates
- Metal Mesh
Once you purchase all your materials, you’re ready to build. You can follow the site’s photo tutorial for guidance. You also can decide to make the house bigger or smaller than the one built in the tutorial.
Unlike grills that use energy sources like gas or electric, smokehouses are the ultimate choice for energy efficiency as they simply use wood!
When Photo Tutorials Don’t Cut It
Not everyone learns by visual cues. If you need full written instructions on how to build a smokehouse, the site Ask a Prepper has you covered!
The site even includes specific details on how deep to dig the pipe trench! Bricks and cement were used for the fire pit foundation. What wood should you use? Ask a Prepper recommends cherry, pear, apple or apricot.
Why the Wood Type Is Important for a Smokehouse
Multiple sites tell DIY homeowners interested in making their own smokehouse to avoid treated woods; the chemicals can contaminate the meat!
In addition, the wood you use to smoke the meats also is important. Choose wood that will create rich flavors. However, Smokehouse Products states that there are multiple types of wood to avoid, including evergreen woods (like pine), wood from pallets or scrap (they could contain chemicals), woods with fungus or any kind of growth, and elm, eucalyptus, sassafras, liquid amber and sycamore.
Can You Build a Budget-Friendly DIY Smokehouse?
For homeowners on a really tight budget, yes you can build a low-cost DIY smokehouse. In fact, Morning Chores provides instructions on how to build a smokehouse for less than $20! This low-budget option can be built in just 11 easy steps.
So how do you keep this project so low budget? According to the article, the low price was achieved by using items they already owned. Just be cautious, again, about the type of wood you choose. You may need to buy wood, which could bump up the cost.
Where to Build the Smokehouse
Once you’ve decided to build a smokehouse (and how to build it!), homeowners need to find an ideal space…preferably in the backyard. Since a smokehouse requires a pipe below, this isn’t something you can simply build onto a deck or porch.
There are safety measures homeowners should take when choosing a location for the smokehouse. Grandpappy.org states that the structure needs to be “…at least ten feet away from any other structure on your property. It should also be at least ten feet away from any trees or shrubs. Finally, the area around the outside of the smokehouse should be short grass, or dirt, or gravel, or stone.”
Other Options: Buy a Smoker!
Some homeowners just don’t feel comfortable embracing the DIY approach. However, you can still get that smoky rich barbecue in your backyard without building a smokehouse. Not excited to build something from scratch? Buy a smoker instead.
A smoker is a bit like a grill, but cooks the meat with smoke. Prices range from about $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on the model and its specifications. There are gas smokers, charcoal smokers, pellet smokers and electric smokers; Amazing Ribs notes that those with ambitions of taking on a barbecue contest need to cook with wood or charcoal (this could be some BBQ regulation, perhaps?).
Building a smokehouse isn’t the ideal project for every homeowner, but it could be a great way to spend a weekend for those who aren’t afraid to tackle home improvement endeavors.
For those who really want to smoke their own meat but don’t want to take on a big project, there are many smokers on the market at a variety of price points. Whether you build your own smokehouse or just buy a smoker, these barbecue must-haves can save you a lot of money on takeout and delivery when you’re craving ribs!