Smoke House (Pre-Civil War Structure)

 

Before refrigeration, meat was preserved by salting or smoking - the process of hanging meat above a low, smoky fire. The fire cooked the meat while the smoke added flavor and helped dry the meat, keeping it from spoiling.  Almost all the parts of hogs and chickens were used as a food source during the colonial and antebellum time periods.  Hogs were slaughtered in late fall, helping to minimize the spoiling of the meat. 

During the turbulent years of the Civil War, salt was scarce but valuable as a seasoning and preservative.  Southern families often dug up smokehouse floors and boiled the dirt to extract the precious salt.  An old family recipe can be seen inside the building.