"The Recipe for smoked Beef is the same as for Hams, except, that in place of 2 lb sugar, take 2 qrts. of Molasses. The Beef must be put in bags also."
Eleanor Park Custis Lewis, 1832
This structure was a workplace for enslaved people engaged in the preparation and storage of pork and beef. While slaves were responsible for slaughtering and butchering in the fall, they were charged with providing enough meat for the gentry family year-round. Smaller portions were allotted for domestic servants and those living in the quarters.
After curing, the meat was hung and smoked for several days to impart flavor and repel insects. Slaves watched constantly to ensure that the fire did not go out or burn too high. Meat was stored here throughout the year, with the door locked to prevent theft.
As the photograph illustrates, meat from the plantation would have been placed on racks and hung from rafters. Inside the Meat House, look for the remaining hooks. The smell of smoked meat would have been very prevalent at Woodlawn.