Project - Meat Processing Room
One of the great projects we tackled this summer was building out a meat processing room. Having a dedicated space to cool, cure, hang, and process the beef, pork and chicken that we raised and butchered on the farm grew from "great idea" to almost a necessity.
We had a space in the back corner of the shop that the prior owners, we think, had a laundry facility of some kind. There was a lot of stored motor oil, paint, and much more back there too. When we first moved in it had a foul smell from what looked like a combination of a water leak in the walls and rodent problems over time. We hired a contractor to professionally gut it and clean it up. It worked and we initially used it as storage.
After the wife was tired of me making a mess in the home kitchen, we figured this spot could work. We also drew inspiration from our primary butcher and a few folks he introduced to us. One neighbor had a bonus kitchen/processing room as well as a dedicated curing room that held several pork legs (future prosciutto) as well as cheese. Another neighbor had a "walk in" smoker that he used often to smoke large quantities of meat. We decided to see if we could recreate both!
Since the space was there and a perfect size, we needed to insulate, and then put up sheetrock and FRP (the waterproof wall covering that you see in a lot of commercial bathrooms and of course butcher shops). We used some barn wood (shiplap to you HGTV nuts) for some aesthetic and we even cut out a space for a small window and repurposed an old door so we could get outside.
We also found a big beautiful beam that we installed along the ceiling, added cast iron brackets to hold "S" hooks for various meat portions that need to fully cure (like guanciale, bacon, pancetta, etc.).
We found a fridge off of Craig, as well as a stainless table and some friends of ours gave us a small commercial sink. We added an AC unit to keep the temp automatic as well.
The project took a little longer than I thought and of course was over budget but it looks and works great! We can now cut up large (ish) cuts of meat, cure, dry, hang, and soon smoke (in larger quantities than my Traeger)!