• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

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  • Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals

    Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »

Virtual Tour Curing Room

curing house

Curing house in proximity to the main house

The exact use of this limestone building is still under investigation. The hooks in the ceiling rafters suggest that it was used to cure salted hanging meat. A lack of smoke and soot residue in the ceiling suggests that it wasn't a smoke house. Salted meat was also placed in barrels of brine.

 
inside the curing house

View of the east wall, inside the limestone building. Note one of three round windows for ventilation. Inside on display are implements used in butchering; lard press, sausage stuffer, hog scrapers, knives, meat saw, hook, large iron kettle, and other tools.

 
doorway to curing house

Butchering usually took place in the fall. Hams and other meats were salted down, wrapped in cheesecloth, and hung on hooks in the ceiling of this building. The three port holes caused air to be drawn in from the outside, forcing the salt to move inward toward the meat's interior. This was a very common means of food preservation. Meat was also salted and placed in barrels filled with brine. Before the meat was consumed, it was parboiled to remove the salt.This structure was used as a curing house and beneath it is the spring room.

 
interior view of the curing house

Another interior view of the curing house showing portholes and meat hooks in the ceiling.

Did You Know?

Grazing cattle at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Cattle can gain up to 2 pounds per day grazing on the prairie grasses of the Flint Hills. The calcium found in the limestone erodes into the soil, making the prairie plants more nutritious for grazing animals. Cattle grazing is still the main agricultural use of the Flint Hills today.