Home Exterior Garden

“Many people purchase a smokehouse, because it gives them a taste of what the generation of our grandfathers and grandmothers could eat,” an expert on fireplaces says. He is aware that majority of the population has never had the opportunity to taste the “real” sausage. It even happens that they refuse some classic products because their taste buds have become so distorted that they take the products from bought in the supermarket as the norm.

 

How Much Meat You Will Smoke In It

There are a lot of types of the smokehouses on the market: the lightweight portable ones, the smokehouses combined with a garden fireplace, the cask smokehouses or the electric smokehouses. The prevailing materials are brick, metal and wood.

The key factor in your decision should be a coherent idea of what and in what quantities you are going smoke in the smokehouse.

“Your decision should be based on the space available and you should choose the location for the smokehouse, so that it matched the complex and did restrict neither you, nor your neighbours,” he advises. Thus the smokehouse, in addition to the function, also becomes an appropriate element of the exterior.

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How Does The Smokehouse Work

Every smokehouse is unique, which depends on the ideas of the person who built it, as well as on the space available. However, in their principle, they work in a similar way.

The scheme of a home smokehouse can be divided into four parts: it consists of a fireplace, a flue, a smoke box and a chimney. For the proper function of the smokehouse, it is essential to observe the following rules, which must be taken into account when you consider the location of the smokehouse.

Fireplace must be placed lower than the smoke box and must be smaller than box. Inside, there is a grate with an ash pan underneath it, from which the collected ash must be removed.

Flue: its inclination is given by the height difference between the fireplace and the smoke box as it interconnects these two parts; it is usually 2-4 m long.

The Smoke Box: its size should correspond to the intended amounts of the sausages or meat; the smokehouse is a very complex device and can be enhanced with many tricks; it can be built as a part of the kitchen garden, too.

 

How To Use The Smokehouse

Smoking With The Cold Smoke: it is performed on the dry sausages and salamis; you put them in the smokehouse heated to 40 ° C, until they get dry and then reduce the temperature to 20 ° C. They should be exposed to the smoke for a day minimally, for 2-3 days better yet.

Smoking With The Warm Smoke: it is the most common in our homes: the raw meat is heated in warm water of about 60 ° C and then hung in the smokehouse, which has been preheated to the same temperature; the meat remains in the smoke for about 6 hours. These products are not as durable as the ones smoked with the cold smoke, they are however suitable for the direct consumption and the smoking time itself is quite short.

Smoking With The Hot Smoke: it is not suitable for the sausages, as their casing would crack. Let the meat get soused for 3 hours minimally and get it drained. Then put it into the smokehouse preheated to about 60 ° C and increase the temperature gradually up to 90-100 ° C. The overall smoking time is 1 – 1.5 hours. While smoking the meat, it is necessary to add wet sawdust to the fire, as the wood itself does not produce enough smoke.

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The Cost

The small portable smokehouses are the cheapest. The more expensive are the middle class portable smokehouses, which can hold up to 12 kg of meat, and are intended for all kinds of smoking. The smokehouses with the insulation, which are designed to operate all year round, are the most expensive ones.

The smokehouse can become a part of a garden kitchen and can be a supplement to the most used grill. In this case, it is recommended to get an architect who is experienced in planning the garden fireplaces and garden kitchens. And if you are interested in building it yourself, there is a specialized technical literature available for you.

An outdoor kitchen has several advantages: it embellishes your garden in an original way, it makes your barbecues and later cleanings easier and it provide you with a cosy space for the evenings. You can do your office work there so that it is more pleasant.

Many people enjoy spending the evenings doing a barbecue in the hot season. They usually use grills of various designs and a wide range of prices. However, you can also build a stylish outdoor kitchen in your garden.

“The number of orders to the garden kitchens is growing. The people want to be different from their neighbours and want to remodel their gardens in a tasteful way,” a fireplace specialist says.

It is natural, that the life of the family moves to the outdoor kitchens over the summer. And it is not only a romantic matter, as most of us are too busy for it. It is nice to open your laptop there and do your work in the open air.

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  1. Orient The Layout According To The Sun

The outdoor kitchen is mostly made up by a fixed fireplace and a worktop. It can be adjacent to the house or it can be free-standing under a pergola.

“When designing the outdoor kitchen, it is good to know the route of the sun during the day. The kitchen should be positioned in a way so that it did not disturb the neighbours or the kids sleeping inside the house, and it should also provide shade during the hot summer days. You need to consider your needs and imagine the future usage. It is always good to hear more opinions which help you reach the correct layout of the garden kitchen,” the expert adds.

 

  1. Pay Attention To The Equipment

You can have both a fireplace and a smokehouse in your garden kitchen. Many customers are interested in connecting the fireplace with the classic kitchen cabinets, which create a spacious surface. The grilling “connoisseurs” can have two furnaces built: the classic one for the solid fuels and the secondary gas one with lava stones used to prepare fish.

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  1. The Kitchen Appliances

The outdoor fireplace´s furnace is typically at the height of a kitchen worktop. The fireplace is equipped with an adjustable, removable grate or with a grill insert.

It can also be equipped with an integrated or inserted motor used for grilling of a piglet, a whole ham and other delicacies. A garden kitchen can serve in the same way as an indoor one. You can use a blender, an electric kettle and other handy appliances there.

 

  1. Keep The Networks In Mind

When planning your garden kitchen, it is necessary to realize, that it will require a foundation for the built parts as well as the electricity and water connections.

The materials used for the building are not deciding essentially, but you have to consider the weather conditions when doing the design. That is why it is advisable to consult a specialist, or at least someone who already has some experiences with building of an outdoor kitchen, maybe your neighbour.

 

Although is it is often called a vacuum, in fact its work consists mainly of blowing. You use the machine to blow the fallen leaves into a pile before reversing its course and letting it to vacuum the pile into the attached bag.

You can find electric models as well as gas models in a wide range of prices on the market. Although the gas ones are heavier (over 4 kg/8 pounds) and more expensive, you are not limited with an electric cable when using them; it is a considerable advantage if you have a large garden.

 

  1. The Performance

The performance of a blower is typically described by the air velocity. The basic models have around 200 km/hour (less power is useless), while the top machines show up to 380 km/h.

 

  1. Two Systems

Most of the cheap blowers have a bicameral nozzle. The bigger nozzle is designed for vacuuming and the smaller one for blowing. You can switch between them easily from your position of the operator.

It is an advantage if the tube can be attached to wheels, which maintain the suction tube at a constant distance from the ground when vacuuming so ensuring a consistent performance.

The large machines usually have a different system. The fan is the centre and you can (according to the function) attach the wide tube on the suction opening or the close one on the exhaust opening.

The system of switching on the petrol machines (in the “hobby” category, which applies to most brands) is a little bit more complicated. However according to internet forums, most users are willing to tolerate the little disadvantage in comparison with the ability to work on large areas without an electric cable. In addition to it, the blower mode is used most of the time while the vacuum mode is used only in the end to pick up the leaves.

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  1. The Structure

When choosing the machine, be careful about the details, such as the quality of the plastics and the perfect alignment of the parts. They are marks of a quality machine.

It is worth to “touch” the machine before buying it and avoid shopping only by the images in a catalogue. It is the only way to know, if the machine balanced well and comfortable to work with.

When shopping, ask about the material of the fan. The fan blades of the higher class machines are made of metal. Because both the leaves and small stones get through the fan blades into the bag while vacuuming, the blades are less likely to get damaged.

In most cases, the blades are shaped so that they can grind the leaves which are passing through them. This function reduces the mass of the material up to a tenth of the original amount and you do not need to empty the bag so frequently.

 

  1. The Power Control

If you have a petrol machine, you can adjust the blowing intensity by increasing the throttle. However, the engine speed of electric machines is constant. Therefore, it is ideal if the machine is equipped with the power control. It is useful e.g. when you blow a small pile close to a big pile of leaves. It is advisable to reduce the power a bit, so that you do not blow the accumulated leaves over your garden again. There are also situations when you need a finer work, e.g. when you are disposing the leaves from your rock garden and you do not want to damage the plants there.

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  1. Useful In Winter Too

In winter, the blower is also useful for quick cleaning of terraces and walkways around the house from a minor snowfall. The light snow can be blown away much faster than by sweeping with a broom or by shovelling.

The machine is also helpful for maintenance of the walkways during a long continuous snowfall. The snow removal is ultimately easier than if you waited until 30 cm of snow accumulate, and only then starting to remove it.

A large garden means joy as well as worries. That is why people buy modern machinery which makes their garden work easier, and enables them e.g. to make compost out of the plant waste; it is later used in the garden.

The old branches, the crop residues after the harvest of vegetables or other plants, the branches after the winter cut in an orchard or a vineyard, all these bring a huge pile of material every year. The chipper will help you to process all the material to be used e.g. in compost or mulch. However, you can use the wood chips for heating, too.

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The Chippers And The Shredders

There are the machines that can process a diverse material to a desired size, depending on the further use. Would you like to grind twigs after the winter cut of fruit trees? If you have access to the sufficient quantities of the material, you can use the result chips to heat a house. However, you can also process leaves, grass, vegetable residues and residues from the flower beds. All these materials get processed to a fine homogenized mixture, which serves well and quickly in your compost.

 

What Should The Chipper Be Capable Of Doing?

A newly purchased chipper must be able to handle dry residues as well as damp materials, and it should not get clogged frequently. Any foreign objects, such as stones or wires, should not damage the machine in any way. However, they are not suitable for the machine and you should pay attention so that they do not get inside.

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The Advantages Of The Starting Material

The crushed material has a much smaller volume and a finer structure, so it saves the space in the compost and it faster becomes a subject of microbial degradation. It is ideal for use in the composters. The next advantage is the fact that you can mix materials in the optimal ratio for your compost.

 

The Division Of The Machines

As to the ways in which the chippers and shredders work, they can be divided in two groups: the slow-speed and the high-speed ones. The first type is very quiet and some of the crushers can pull the branches in automatically. The high-speed shredders have the speed set according to their performance from 2700 RPM up (while the slow-speed ones have 40 RPM). The differences are also in their shredding mechanisms which are related to the speed of grinding.

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How To Choose On The Market

There are many brands on the market, which offers these machines. You certainly would not buy a professional wood chipper for a small garden; it is suitable in large orchards, vineyards and in forestry. The small crushers fit in small gardens, the cheapest ones can handle the branches up to 4 cm in diameter.

 

The Final Advice

You should think twice before buying any garden machinery: how often and what are you going to process? It is certainly better to pay more to get a more powerful machine made of quality materials, which will not get stuck on every large, hard or crooked branch. It is not a machine for one season of course, and the investment should return in the form of well-cut material, a cleaner garden and a better quality of compost, which is always useful.

Have you decided to get a garden fireplace? When choosing the type (or the contractor) of a garden fireplace, a significant factor is its size.

For such a decision, it is necessary to make sure, how much space you have defined for the fireplace, how many people you would like to invite to your barbecues and ultimately, how much are you willing to invest in your fireplace. Consideration must also be taken for the overall complexity and the style of your garden or your patio.

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Garden Fireplaces Can Be Divided Into Several Categories According To Their Sizes

You can get a really small and inexpensive prefabricated fireplace with the furnace width from about 35 cm, which is lightweight and has economical dimensions. This fireplace will certainly be appreciated by those who need to install a grilling fireplace quickly without spending too much and who will do the grilling only with their family and/or a few friends. You can expect neither a superior durability, nor an aesthetic appeal from such a product, as the practicality prevails to the effect. The practicality means, in this case, the effectiveness at basic grilling on the grate without the possibility of using further accessories.

The next category is the modular garden fireplaces, from medium to larger sized, with the furnace width of approx. 50 cm and the overall dimensions you have to take account of in your garden. The breadth of these fireplaces starts at about 1 m and together with additional tables, or in the case of corner sets, it easily occupies the space 2 m wide (2×2 at the corner). With such a fireplace, it is possible, while maintaining a reasonable price, to host a larger group of people without worrying about the lack of space on the grill grate.

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These garden fireplaces will definitely not be a disgrace in your garden, on the contrary, they often become an impressive supplement or even a dominant of the garden seating. Even with all this functions, the outdoor fireplaces are usually dismantable, so they can be dismantled relatively easily, when the conditions change, and you can reassemble them elsewhere. The individual parts can be carried by two people, so you do not need any special equipment, even though the total weight of the assembled fireplace often exceeds 500 kg.

The concrete, modular and the medium sized fireplaces can be recommended to the widest group of users and each of them can find his or her preferred combination. The garden fireplaces of this category usually have a wide range of accessories, a variety of surfaces and types of the roofs, from concrete to steel ones (which are used for the final fine smoking of food).

The last size category of the garden fireplaces can be called the outdoor fireplaces built according to individual projects. This kind of a fireplace is an appropriate solution in the case of a large restricted area and sufficient financial resources, when providing services to a large group of people and when  the standards of comfort are high. This fireplace is often an integrated part of the whole garden kitchen with a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a sink and other necessary amenities. These garden sets and fireplaces are built on a solid foundation and they require an expert design and implementation. The consequent change of dispositions is problematic, if not impossible. The price of these garden fireplaces/outdoor kitchens “made to measure” is the highest.

To sum up, a reasonable choice of a garden fireplace needs to be a subject (among other aspects, e.g. the use value, the price, the aesthetic balance, the ease of getting spare parts or the range of the accessories) to the comparison of the spatial intensity mentioned above.

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