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Publication #AS14

A One-Hog Smokehouse1

Fred Leak2

The smokehouse described here (Figure 1) is suitable for smoking small quantities of meat safely and economically.


  • Two 55-gallon steel drums free of oil, grease and dirt

  • Six joints of stove pipe and 1 elbow, 6 inch diameter; black iron or galvanized or

  • Six joints of clay tile, 6 inches, and 1 quarter bend joint (tile is preferred)

  • Two steel rods ½ inch by 3 feet

  • One piece of sheet metal or metal roofing approximately 3 feet by 3 feet, or use ends cut from steel drums

  • Six 1-inch by 6-inch boards 3 feet long for smokehouse cover (cypress preferred)

Directions for Making

Use an old metal drum or tub 14 to 16 inches high or cut a section from the drum to make a firebox. Set up the smokehouse as shown on the reverse side of this sheet and be sure that the tile or stove pipe smokestack is covered with at least two inches of dirt. The bottom of the smokehouse drum should be packed with dirt around the outside.

It is desirable to clean the smokehouse drum free of rust and paint it with an epoxy resin base paint which is resistant to acids, alkalies, fats, moisture and high temperatures. Drums properly painted with this type of paint will last longer, clean more easily and furnish cleaner smoked meat.

Directions for Smoking

Build a fire in the firebox with non-resinous dry wood. After the wood has burned down to red coals, put on a few pieces of green hardwood or hardwood sawdust. If green wood is not available, use semi-dry wood or hardwood sawdust.

Hang pieces of meat in the drum, 6 to 8 inches apart. Put cover on firebox and place wood cover on top of drum, weighting it down with a stone. Keep temperature in the drum below 140-150°F. If there is not enough draft, raise the firebox cover at the back. Smoke meat until it is a bright nut brown color. This may take several hours or most of the day, depending on the heat of the firebox and the outside temperature.

After this process, the product should be smoked, not cooked. The internal temperature of a smoked meat product is in the 140° range. Smoked products are not fully cooked and ready to eat. Remember:

  • Keep wood or sawdust smoldering instead of burning.

  • Use only non-resinous wood or sawdust.

  • Never smoke meat until after it has hung long enough to be dry on the outside. Wet meat does not smoke properly.

  • Never use kerosene, gasoline or oil to start a fire.

Figure 1. 

Smokehouses similar to this type have been recommended by the USDA.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]



This document is AS14, one of a series of the Animal Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1980. Revised and reviewed June 1997 and January 2008. Reviewed by Chad Carr, March 2011. Visit the EDIS website at


Dr. Fred Leak, Associate Professor, Extension Meat Specialist, Animal Sciences Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.