A smokehouse is a small, enclosed building used to preserve and store meat. Commonly located near the main house’s kitchen, smokehouses are usually one story with a gabled roof, dirt floor, and no chimneys or windows.
fter butchering, meat was heavily salted to draw out moisture. The meat was then hung in the smokehouse, where a slow-burning wood or corncob fire would smolder for more than six weeks. Smoke would encase the meat in an airtight creosote coating, preserving it for years. Pork was a popular choice for preserving in this way. Before consumption, the creosote was cut off and the salt was boiled out of the meat. The use of smokehouses declined with advances in refrigeration and preservatives.
Sometimes a smokehouse is also called a meat house, with the building functioning more often as a storage locker than a smoking house. In Maryland, the phrase “meat house” is often preferred over smokehouse.
The Mt. Pleasant smokehouse features four arching holes in the cornice. Their true function is unknown, though some speculate the holes attracted nesting birds for egg collection, while others believe they provided ventilation. Today, the squirrels sure love running around in them.
BONUS: Find the privy
Head a few steps into the forest via the path between the smokehouse and hen house to locate the privy.
Indoor plumbing didn’t come until 1951; imagine how cold it was using the privy in the winter
Your next steps:
Continue along the gravel road and you will see the chicken coup on your right down some steps. You may also take a detour into the garden path alongside the farmhouse.