How to Build an Old Fashioned Smokehouse

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Smokehouses used to be a fixture in many a country home or ranch, where fresh-caught fish, game or farm produce could be smoked for both preservation and taste. Nowadays small metal smokers are easy to find, and many come with barbecue sets, but if you want to get the traditional feel of a smokehouse, it's simple to make an old-fashioned one yourself.


Smoke your own produce in an old-fashioned smokehouse.

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Things You'll Need

  • 20-Lengths 6-Foot, 1-By-5 Tongue-And-Groove Pine

  • 2-Lengths 25-Inch, 1-By-4 Lumber

  • 1 3/4-Inch Nails

  • 2 Hinges

  • 1 Sheet Metal, 30-By-30 Inches

  • 8-Lengths 22-Inch, 1-By-1 Lumber

  • 4 Sheets Metal, 22-By-23 Inches

  • Utility Knife

  • Electric Fry Pan

  • Fragrant Wood Ships/Sawdust

  • 8-Lengths 22-Inch, 1-By-2 Lumber

  • 1/2-Inch Screws

  • Hammer

  • Drill

  • 2-Lengths 6-Foot, 1-By-2 Lumber

Step 1

Fit together five pieces of 1-by-5 inch tongue-and-groove boards that measure 6 feet long. Use a utility knife to cut the tongue off of the last board. Repeat three times, so that there are four panels, each 6 feet tall and 25 inches wide.

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Step 2

Place two 6-foot pieces of 1-by-2 inch lumber along a long side of two of the panels. These will be the sides of the smokehouse. Secure the 1-by-2 lumber to the sides with 1 3/4-inch nails hammered every 5 inches along the length.

Step 3

Place two pieces of 1-by-2 lumber measuring 22 inches on the edge of the short sides of the side panels and secure in place with nails. Repeat on one more panel (the smokehouse back) with the 22-inch pieces centered on the top and bottom edges, and on the last panel (the door) with the 22-inch pieces centered 5 inches below the top and bottom edge.


Step 4

Attach a 22-inch-long piece of 1-by-1 lumber 18 inches up from the bottom of both side panels for cleats, or shelf supports. Repeat every 14 inches up until there are four cleats on each of the side panels.

Step 5

Position the sides of the smokehouse upright: the 1-by-2 planks at the back and the cleats facing inward. Place the back panel over the back of the sides and secure with nails through the sides of the back into the 1-by-2 lumber planks on the back of the side panels.


Step 6

Slot two 25-inch pieces of 1-by-4 lumber at the top and bottom of the front of the side panels. Secure in place with nails through the sides into the ends of the 1-by-4 pieces.

Step 7

Attach two hinges 8 inches from the ends of the door using 1/2-inch screws and a drill. Place the door over the front of the side panels and attach the remaining portion of the hinges to one side.


Step 8

Drill three ventilation holes that are 2 inches wide through the side panels of the smokehouse; drill three holes at the top and three at the bottom--12 holes altogether.

Step 9

Place a piece of 30-by-30 inch sheet metal on top of the smokehouse and secure it to the walls with 1/2-inch screws. Place four sheets of 22-by-23 inch metal (shelves) on each shelf cleat.


Step 10

Place an electric fry pan in the bottom of the smokehouse and run the cord out of one of the ventilation holes. Place sawdust or fragrant wood chips in the fry pan and turn the power on to begin smoking.


A propane burner with an old fry pan on top can substitute for an electric fry pan.

If you want to go really old fashioned, slow-burning coals with an old skillet full of sawdust or wood chips can substitute for propane or electric heat sources. However, this will require a lot more tending.

If you want to hang fish in the smokehouse, attach screw hooks to the underside of the metal roof.


Place the smokehouse in a safe area, away from vegetation and preferably on a concrete or paved floor; a well-cleared earth floor is also acceptable.