8 types of smokehouses


Hot smoking at home is a fascinating and interesting process that allows you to get dishes of excellent quality and taste.

The point is to process products with hot smoke. Meat, lard, poultry, fish, seafood, cheese and vegetables are used for smoking.

How does it work

Smoking is carried out in a special device – a smokehouse. The principle of operation is identical for all types of smoking equipment – sawdust or hardwood chips are poured onto the bottom of the airtight container, products are placed above them on grates, hooks or skewers.

So that the fat and juices melted from the meat do not fall into the sawdust, and the smoke from their burnout is not absorbed into the future dish, a tray is installed under the meat. When heated on an open fire or electric heating elements, the sawdust smolders, and the smoke emitted by them impregnates the products, and the temperature of 90 ° C and above inside the smoking container speeds up cooking.

When hot smoked meat, fish or seafood are juicy and tender. This is achieved due to the cooking time – from 20 minutes to several hours, during which time moisture and fat do not have time to melt out of the meat until cooked.

Another advantage of this method of smoking is the availability and ease of cooking, you can smoke meat or fish in your garden, in the yard of a country house, on a fishing trip or even in an apartment. But in order for the result to meet expectations, it is important to choose the right equipment. This review presents the types of devices for domestic hot smoking.

Mini smokers


Popular and widespread. They are compact, light weight and easy to use. Another name for this species is “portable”. Mini-smokers are in demand by tourists, fishermen and hunters, they are used in summer cottages, private houses and city apartments.

The smokehouse is designed for constant heating, so the requirements for the quality of the material from which it is made are high. The material used for manufacturing is stainless steel with a thickness of 2 to 3 mm.

This choice is due to the fact that stainless steel, due to its resistance to corrosion and regular heating to high temperatures, is more durable than ferrous metals.

A stainless steel smokehouse will last an average of ten years, and a black metal smokehouse will last one to two years. The thickness of steel for its manufacture is not less than 2 mm, otherwise it will be subject to burnout and deformation. At the same time, a thickness of more than 3 mm is impractical – this will increase the cost and weight of a portable smokehouse, without improving its performance at all.

The design of the mini-smoker is universal – a sealed box, on the bottom of which chips or sawdust are poured; inside are installed: a tray for collecting fat melted from meat, but not preventing smoke from accessing products; above it, in one or two rows, on grills or skewers made of the same stainless steel, products for smoking.

The simplicity of the design makes it possible to make a mini-smoker at home. For this, a pot, bucket, brazier and the like are suitable.

The mini-smoker is heated on a fire, gas or electric stove. The temperature inside is 90°C and above. Therefore, cooking, depending on the type of meat, takes from 20 minutes to one hour. In fact, this is an oven, inside which the product is saturated with smoke, and cooking occurs due to heat treatment.

True, the shelf life of products prepared in this way is limited – in the field they are suitable for immediate consumption, and at home hot smoked meat is stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Electric mini-smokers, in appearance and size, resemble a microwave oven. They are designed to be smoked at home.

The advantage of this type of device is compactness and ease of operation.
The disadvantage is the small amount of food prepared in one load.

Smokehouses for an apartment


The simplicity of design and the dimensions of hot smoked smokehouses allow you to cook smoked meat or fish even in the kitchen of a city apartment. With their help, your favorite delicacy is prepared regardless of the season, the presence of a suburban area or the opportunity to go out into the countryside.

For a city dweller, this is the best option for preparing a meat or fish delicacy.

The principle of operation of the “apartment” device is similar to other types – the tightness of the smoking container, external heating – in this case, a gas or electric stove, the obligatory presence of a tray for collecting fat and juices from meat, grills or skewers inside to place products.

But in the design used in the smokehouse apartment, there are a number of mandatory features designed to eliminate inconvenience during work:

  • Smoke removal. So that the smoke during smoking does not get into the apartment and into the apartments of neighbors, it is diverted outside the premises – to the street. To do this, a fitting is provided in the lid, on which a rubber hose is put on, which is led out the window. With this design, excess smoke from the tank goes outside, and not into the apartment. The use of a hose to remove smoke to the street is mandatory, because if you use a household hood, then the smoke, getting into the ventilation, will pass through it to the neighbors’ apartments, which will cause them inconvenience.
  • water seal. Another feature of the design of equipment intended for use in an apartment. It is needed to prevent smoke from entering the smoking container into the room. The water seal is a trough between the lid and the wall of the smoking container filled with water. The water layer prevents smoke from penetrating between the lid and the wall.
  • sealed lid used in the design of apartment smokehouses. In it, the cover is “tightly” rubbed against the wall with the help of a gasket and screws. This eliminates the leakage of smoke between the lid and the wall and makes the presence of a water seal optional in the design. But even in such devices, there is necessarily a smoke outlet to the street.

Smokehouses for use in a city apartment are factory-made and made at home. Factory made of stainless steel, medical or food grade, with a thickness of 2 to 3 mm. Their service life is 10-12 years. The most affordable equipment of conventional design with a water seal.

With a sealed lid – positioned for the preparation of gourmet dishes. You can independently make a smokehouse for an apartment from a suitable improvised material – buckets, pots, goose. In this case, the manufacture of a water seal is a complicated procedure, it is much easier to take care of the tightness of the cover using rubber gaskets and screws.

They are used in a city apartment and electric household smokehouses. Due to their popularity, separate sections of this article are devoted to these devices.

Electric smoker


The use of an electric smokehouse is a convenient and quick way to cook hot smoked dishes in a city apartment or in any other room.

To smoke meat or fish with it, there is no need to make a fire or kindle a barbecue – just pour sawdust, lay food, close the lid and plug the device into a socket.

The advantages of this type of hot smoking include:

  • Compact design. The household electric smoker is small in size and fits easily into a kitchen cabinet. Used in cafes and restaurants are also compact and do not take up much space;
  • Ease of use. To cook food in an electric smoker, no special skills or experience are required. It is enough to choose the required temperature regime according to the attached instructions;
  • Fast cooking. Products in such devices are cooked on average 30 minutes. This is ensured by tight rubbing of the lid to the walls of the container. This design ensures complete preservation of heat inside the smokehouse;
  • Full equipment by the manufacturer of the smokehouse with the necessary accompanying equipment, including smoke removal;
  • Providing a manufacturer’s warranty;
  • The preparation of the product is carried out without uncontrolled temperature fluctuations. If necessary, the temperature is adjusted manually or automatically;
  • The affordability of household options for electric smokehouses.

This makes this type of equipment optimal for use in cooking homemade hot smoked dishes in a city apartment.

Automatic smokers

Hot smoked automatic smokehouses are modern devices for smoking meat, fish, sausages, cheese, seafood and vegetables. The source of thermal energy for them is electricity.

They are used in food production and restaurant business. This is due to the fact that the effective mode of using such equipment is a one-time load of 40-200 kilograms of products, which is impractical in domestic conditions. But there are also household models of automatic smokehouses:

  • Only for cold smoking;
  • Universal smokehouses for cold and hot smoking;
  • Multicookers – smokehouses;
  • With an open electric heater. When using such household appliances, only small heating material is suitable – sawdust or wood chips;
  • With closed heater. They have a wide heating surface. These models are less demanding on the size and quality of the heating material.

Industrial automatic smokehouses include:

  • Multifunction devices. They smoke products in cold and hot ways and use them as ovens;
  • Smoking ovens. These devices can work continuously, performing several processes simultaneously.

Automatic household smokehouses are easy to use and do not require special skills from the smoker, as well as constant attention in the process of working like on an open fire.

All that is required to work with such equipment is to fill in sawdust or wood chips, install a tray to collect fat and moisture, and place food for cooking on grates or skewers. After that, select the desired program and turn on the smokehouse.

Depending on the selected mode, cooking will take a short time – from thirty minutes to one hour.

In terms of ease of use, automatic smokers are the best option for making smoked meats at home.
The disadvantage is the high cost of household models.

Smokehouses with a water seal


A household smokehouse with a water seal is designed for smoking products on an open fire. This is a universal smoking equipment – it is used outdoors, and a water seal makes it possible to use it in any room – even in a city apartment. The very same design of this type, with the exception of the water seal, is no different from the standard smoked smokehouse.

It consists:

  • Rectangular container made of stainless steel 2 mm thick;
  • A flat tray made of the same steel to collect dripping juices and fat from meat during cooking. The pallet is installed inside the container above the thermal material, sawdust or wood chips, in such a way as not to impede the access of smoke to the products;
  • Stainless steel grates or skewers inside the smoker above the tray. They have products for smoking;
  • Tightly fitting to the walls of the cover;
  • Fitting on the cover. It is designed to remove excess smoke. In indoor conditions, a rubber hose is put on the fitting and taken out into the street.

What is a water seal, and what is its purpose?

A hydraulic or water seal is a chute made of the same material as the smokehouse itself and located along the perimeter of the upper edge of the container.

When closing the smokehouse, the lid rests with the edges in this chute. Prior to heating, the gutter is filled with clean drinking water. The water does not reach the edge by two to three centimeters. When the smoking container is heated, the water boils and evaporates, so you need to control its level and add it to the gutter.

The purpose of the water seal is to seal odors, fumes and smoke inside the smoking container. The water keeps them out. Blocking smoke leakage allows the meat to be smoked better and become more aromatic and tasty.

And if smoking is done indoors, then the ingress of smoke and odors from the smoking container into it is highly undesirable. For this reason, a water seal is a prerequisite for the operation of smokehouses of a similar design in city apartments.

The water seal prevents the penetration of oxygen into the smokehouse during its operation, preventing the ignition of sawdust heated to a high temperature.
The water seal acts as a stiffening rib on the smoking container. It strengthens the structure, preventing deformation when heated.

Stainless steel smokers


The material from which the smokehouse is made must meet the requirements of operation – the need for repeated heating to high temperatures, immunity to moisture, ease of cleaning from combustion products, and compliance with food safety standards.

Of the materials for these conditions, stainless steel is suitable. Its brand must fully comply with food safety standards. From this point of view, stainless steel used in the food or medical industry is suitable for the manufacture of any type of smokehouse (as an option, brand 12X18H10T; GOST 5632-72). The advantages of stainless steel products include:

  • Corrosion resistance. This quality of stainless steel is valuable when used outdoors. Ferrous metals that are susceptible to moisture are subject to corrosion, “cutting through” the walls of the product through and through. And with frequent heating, rust accelerates the burning of the walls;
  • Immunity to the formation of soot. Unlike ferrous metal products, carbon deposits are not formed on stainless steel products, which does not create difficulties when removing combustion products;
  • Food grade stainless steel does not emit substances harmful to human health when heated;
  • Over time, a smokehouse made of stainless steel does not lose its external aesthetic properties.

The optimal thickness of the steel sheet from which smoking equipment is made is 2 or 3 millimeters.

A smoking container with a wall of less than 2 mm is subject to deformation with frequent and strong heating and, as a result, rapid wear. The thickness of the steel over 3 mm does not in any way improve the functional properties of the smokehouse, but it does increase its weight and cost.

The internal structures, the flat tray and the grids on which the products are laid out are also made of stainless steel.

The designs of stainless steel smokehouses are varied. Popular is a rectangular smokehouse with a water seal. It is easy to use, compact, suitable for use on a hike, fishing, in the country and in the apartment. Homemade smokehouses with a tightly ground lid without a water seal are also made of stainless steel; they have a cylindrical shape.

Stainless steel is used in the manufacture of automatic and electric smokehouses.

smoke generator


A smoke generator is a device designed to continuously supply smoke to a smoking chamber. It is advisable to use a smoke generator in the process of cold smoking, due to the length of the cooking time, sometimes stretching for several days. But even with hot smoking, the use of this device is useful.

Benefits of using a smoke generator:

  • Uniform and uninterrupted supply of smoke to the smoking chamber;
  • Saving fuel material to generate enough smoke;
  • Constant smoke temperature;
  • Automatic mode of operation of the smoke generator, which does not require constant human intervention.

The device of the smoke generator is quite simple.

It is a structure that connects a chamber in which smoke is generated by heating sawdust with a smoking chamber.

This connection takes place using pipes or flexible hoses, and the smoke is forced into the chamber using a household compressor. The constant smoldering of sawdust in the combustion chamber and an uninterrupted supply of electricity are all that is needed for the operation of the smoke generator. This is the basis for the work of factory-made and handicraft smoke generators.

The simplicity of the design makes it possible to manufacture such a device at home, thereby saving money on purchasing a factory model. And the effect of its use will exceed all expectations.

Smokers with thermometer


A special thermometer is an essential attribute of a home smokehouse. Without it, it is difficult to control the temperature of the meat in the smoking chamber, and the quality of the final product depends on it. The thermometer is designed not only to measure the temperature inside the smoking chamber, but also to measure the temperature inside the product – beef, pork or chicken.

The design of the thermometer is a probe inside a heat-resistant tube, 15 cm long, which is stuck into the cooked meat or lowered into the smoking container. At the other end of this probe is attached an electronic display or indicator. The temperature measurement range of this thermometer is up to 400°C.

The probe is passed inside the smoking container through a hole in the lid, and the display remains outside, insulated from the hot surface with heat-insulating material.

Each type of meat has its own degree of temperature readiness:

  • The beef is ready at an internal meat temperature of 75°C;
  • Pork and lamb – 85 degrees Celsius;
  • 90°C is sufficient for poultry to be ready.

It is advisable to have two thermometers in your arsenal – one for stationary fixing on the lid, the second – for manually measuring the internal temperature of meat.

In the process of smoking, each smoker develops his own secrets for preparing signature dishes. And in this process, the thermometer will be an indispensable assistant, allowing you to select and control the optimal temperature regime, both in the smoking chamber itself and inside the product being prepared.

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