Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 23, 2012

Lanier couple makes smokehouse memories a reality

LANIER COUNTY — Even with the first meats smoked, picked up and eaten as entrees in Thanksgiving dinners, the savory sweet smells of hams linger inside the Harrells’ smokehouse.

Leon and Annette Harrell’s first series of meats has proven their recently constructed smokehouse a success.

Completed several months ago, the Harrells’ smokehouse sat unused in the back yard of their property located on the swatch of Lanier County that juts between Lowndes and Berrien counties on Highway 125. Though he experimented with firing the pit in the hot months of summer and early fall, Leon Harrell waited until the recent spate of lower temperatures to fire the pit with meats hanging from the ceiling hooks and racks.

As many long-time South Georgians can recall, the Harrells remember an era when smokehouses were a regular part of the regional landscape.

Leon Harrell could recall childhood days, coming home, slipping into the smokehouse, and creating an after-school snack by using his Barlow knife to slice off a piece of ham for his biscuit. Annette Harrell can remember times when her mother would walk out to their family smokehouse, cutting off a few slabs of ham, then bringing them back into the house to fry in a skillet.

Leon Harrell’s father would fire up the smokehouse when it came time to butcher hogs.

“Every year, in the winter time, Daddy would pick the coldest day to kill hogs. The smokehouse was built out of boards and it had a dirt floor,” Leon Harrell said in a past interview. “There was a shallow hole in the floor to burn wood to smoke the meat. He would gather oak logs about two-feet long and burn them until he got a good smoke.”

From the woods, Harrell’s father found palmetto fans. He peeled away the outer skin from the stems and used these to hang the hams and shoulders. His father used tobacco sticks for sausages. The meat smoked for three to four days.

While many older residents can recall similar memories from their youths, the Harrells could no longer abide letting the experience, the smells and the tastes of the smokehouse remain only a part of their pasts.

Leon Harrell acted on his desire to bring back those days by building a smokehouse. He found the right type of wood in Berrien County and was able to acquire the materials. He prepared the wood and created an enclosed smokehouse.

Though ready since this past spring, he waited to smoke because the summer months’ heat can spoil meats. In smoking their first meats, the Harrells learned the smokehouse maintains a 200 to 225 degree cooking temperature, meaning, he says, that they can smoke meats throughout the year.

For the recent hams, Harrell smoked the meats for 29 hours, taking them out of the smokehouse with an inner temperature of 150 degrees to the bone. During the smoking session, Leon Harrell traveled from his home to the backyard smokehouse at least every three and a half hours, through day and night, to stoke the pit.

Harrell says he loved every minute of it and looks forward to smoking more meats.

“Annette says I’m like a kid with a new toy,” Leon Harrell says. Judging from the twinkle in his eye, she may be right.

 Anyone interested in having meats smoked may call the Harrells at (229) 455-4777.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results